Name Cards As Inexpensive Teaching Tools!
I loved name cards when I taught Y5’s. They were perfect for a variety of things.
I laminated them so that they lasted longer, and because they were double, I had extra sets because I didn't stand them up as a tent card.
Being able to recognize their name was a report card standard and surprisingly many little ones came to me not knowing how to identify their name.
Besides placing them on the tables in the morning, so students knew where they sat for that day, and scattering them on the floor so they could “find themselves” as a fun identification game, I also rubber banded a set and put them in my library book crate.
When students brought their book back, they looked for their name card and stuck it in their book.
My 4-year-olds, often forgot which book they brought back by the time the end of the week rolled around and it was our turn to go to the library.
The long cards would stick out, so I simply flipped the book open to see who I needed to hand it to.
It was also another chance for them to reinforce identifying their name.
Because notebooks are offered as loss leaders in most major Office Supply Stores during the summer, I can pick up a “writing notebook” for my students to practice writing their name in for as little as 10 cents! I also tucked a name card in this notebook as well.
When The Dollar Store started carrying name cards, you can imagine my joy! I kept a pack by my rocking chair and used them as flashcards.
I'd flash a name for only a few seconds. If it was your name on the card you had so many seconds to raise your hand and claim it. I also used that pack as a fair way to choose students as my reading helpers. I'd fan them out face down and have students select cards and read who would get to do whatever.
I’ve seen the “informational” name cards that I revamped in the photo above, produced by a variety of companies, and thought I’d whip up my own version.
I made two lines so you can write your students’ names, but I also included another line, so you can use the cards for name writing practice.
That way, the cards will make a quick & easy way for you to whole-group assess writing standards (How students hold a writing utensil, if they make their letters top down, if students are right-handed etc.) without using paper. Simply have students use a dry erase marker, which my kiddo’s LOVED using!
I’ve also printed the cards, so that you can make copies, so you can fold them and use them as a tent with names on both sides, or with skip counting and 3-D shape information on the other side.
If you’re like me, and lay the cards flat, I’ve made an extra double-page set of the skip counting card, so you can use that as a practice tool if you want too.
You can also have students play “I Spy” the shape, letter or number and have students point to the various thing that you want to practice, as a quick and easy game or fill in, when you have a few minutes of time to kill.
I've also printed the vowels in green, so students can easily differentiate them from the consonants, for another teachable moment.
Click on the link to view/download Informational Name Cards
I hope you and yours, enjoy these as they brighten your day!
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“Success is the sum of small efforts-repeated day in and day out.” –Robert Collier
A popular saying with students is, “That rocks.” Not sure where it came from, but if you tell a child that they rock, it will definitely build their self-esteem, and letting them know that the new grade that they are now entering rocks too, will hopefully get them excited to be there.
I went a bit slap happy downloading a bunch of fonts one day, thinking of all the “way cool” things I could do with them. “JF Rock” was one of them I just “had to have!”
I designed a “rockin’’” trace and write alphabet as well as a counting numbers 0-10 booklet, with praise certificates, to reward your students with.
As a fun back to school treat, run off the “You Rock” bookmarks, include your students’ name at the end and lay them atop a package of Pop Rocks.
They sell them 3 packs for a buck at The Dollar Store, in 3 yummy flavors. You could also dump them in a basket and offer students a choice, as an incentive when they complete their first day of morning activities.
I’ve also made _________________ grade rocks, bookmarks as well. These can be colored with neon markers or crayons, for a quick and quiet activity, while you’re involved with whatever, on that busy first day.
Make these a bit more special and wrap them around a pencil with a fat eraser. All of the Office Supply Stores offer a kajillion super deals on packages of pencils and erasers in August.
Anyway….I hope your new bunch of kids really rocks your world, in a positive way, and that this is your best year yet!
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Click on the link to view/download the School Rocks Packet
"Education sows not seeds in you, but makes your seeds grow!"- Kahlil Gibran
A Is For Acorns and Apples!
A fun way to have your students work on upper and lowercase letters is to make mini ABC booklets.
I designed these with some free fonts that I found on the Internet.
I liked ABC booklets that had a simple sentence to go along with the letter, so that I could start my students along the paths of reading.
The words is and for are part of the Dolch word list, so via repetition, students will soon easily recognize them.
The picture clue will help children figure out the last word, so their self esteem will skyrocket when they can take a completed booklet home to share with their family.
Students trace and write the upper and lowercase letters. I printed 4-pages on one page, to save on paper and to make just-my-size mini booklets for students to cut apart and sequence.
This will make a nice number sequencing skill for them. I’ve also included a cover and a complete upper and lowercase alphabet set of letters, that they trace for the last page.
Students who complete their booklets early, can go back and color their favorite pages.
When everyone is done, read the booklet as a whole group, to reinforce concepts of print. This way, students will enjoy sharing their ABC easy reader, with their family, reinforcing lessons learned at school.
Click on the link to view/download A is for Acorn Alphabet Easy Reader.
Click on this link to view/download A is for Apple Alphabet Easy Reader.
Watch for more Alphabet Easy Readers in the future too!
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“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” -Unknown
Timing How Fast A Student Can Write The Letters Of The Alphabet! Is That Important?
I recently stumbled across an interesting article that I think you might enjoy as well.
A research study from the University of Washington found that children who could recall and print letters of the alphabet (upper and lowercase-two separate tests) at 40 letters per minute, were all very successful with 1st grade reading and writing tasks. "...In fact, there were virtually no reading failures among such children."
I’m all for looking into something that will help students become better readers and writers. If challenging students to “Beat the clock!” and simply taking 60 seconds out of the day will encourage that, well I think it would be worth giving it a try.
It certainly has worked with math when we did “Mad-Minute Math” My students LOVED those timed tests no matter what grade I taught.
I think having fun timed activities prepares students for later timed tests and relieves anxiety in upper elementary grades, because they were introduced to these types of things early on, in a relaxed, game-like fashion.
The article states that students do enjoy these timed activities and specifically states not to give them to students who are not proficient, so as not to frustrate strugglers.
I designed an ABC Fluency packet that includes:
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"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." -Alfred, Lord Tennyson