Ways for Learning Students' Names Quickly

Students in a classroom.
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Learning your students' names is essential if you want to create a good rapport and establish a comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. Teachers who learn students' names quickly, help reduce feelings of anxiety and nervousness that most students experience during the first few weeks back to school.

Here are a variety of tips and tricks to help you remember names and ease those first-week jitters.

Seating Chart

Use a seating chart for the first few weeks of school until you can put names and faces together.

Greet Students by Name

Every day, greet your students by name. When they enter the classroom make sure to use their name in a short comment.

Pair Students in Groups

Create a quick questionnaire about what the likes and dislikes of your students are. Then group them together according to their choices. The point of this activity is to help you remember students by associating them with their preferences.

Wear Name Tags

For the first week or so have students wear name tags. For the younger children, place the name tag on their back so they won't feel the urge to rip it off.

Name Cards

Place a name card at each students' desk. This is not only a great way for you to remember their names, but it will help the classmates remember as well.

Memorize by Number

Beginning the first day of school, strive to memorize a set number of students each day. You can memorize by number, color, name, etc.

Use a Mnemonic Device

Associate each student with something physical. Relate the students' names, such as George, with the Gorge. (Quinn with a pin)

Associate Related Names

A great memory trick is to associate a name with a person you know that has the same name. For example, if you have a student named Jimmy who has short brown hair, then imagine your brother Jimmy's long hair on little Jimmy's head. This visual link will help you remember little Jimmy's name in no time.

Create a Rhyme

Create a silly rhyme to help you remember students' names. Jim is slim, Kim likes to swim, Jake likes snakes, Jill can juggle, etc. Rhymes are a fun way to help you learn and remember quickly.

Use Photographs

Have students bring in a photo of themselves on the first day, or take a picture of each student yourself. Place their photo next to their name on your attendance or seating chart. This will help you correlate and remember names with faces.

Create Photo Flashcards

To help you remember students' names quickly, take photos of each child and create photo flashcards.

Photo Memory Game

Take photos of each student and then create a photo memory game with them. This is a great activity for the students to learn their classmates' faces, as well as give you a chance to learn them too!

Play "I'm Going on a Trip" Game

Have students sit in a circle on the carpet and play the "I'm going on a trip" game. The game begins like this, "My name is Janelle, and I am taking sunglasses with me." The next student says, "Her name is Janelle, and she is taking sunglasses with her and my name is Brady and I am taking a toothbrush with me." Go around the circle until all students have gone and you are the last to go. With you being the last person to recite all the students' names, you will be surprised how many you remember.

Being able to identify a student by name makes a take a few weeks but with these tips and tricks, you will learn them in no time. Just like all the other back to school procedures and routines, it takes time and patience, but it will come.

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Cox, Janelle. "Ways for Learning Students' Names Quickly." ThoughtCo, Oct. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/ways-for-learning-students-names-quickly-2081489. Cox, Janelle. (2020, October 29). Ways for Learning Students' Names Quickly. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-for-learning-students-names-quickly-2081489 Cox, Janelle. "Ways for Learning Students' Names Quickly." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-for-learning-students-names-quickly-2081489 (accessed March 31, 2023).