Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First Week of School Activity: The Importance of Names

One of my least favorite parts of each new school year is learning how to pronounce my new kids names.

In case you don't believe in my absolute abhorrence, here is a excerpt from my journal from my first year of teaching in August 2005:

I was just looking over some of my kids names on my roll sheets for tomorrow.... how am I going to call the roll if I can't pronounce their names?!!?
for example:

What is even worse is that our first literature selection is all about how a name is part of our identity and that mispronouncing someone's name is like denying that person's identity.

Oh Crap…

I have come up with a way to combat this over the years, however.

Here it is.....

I don't call roll verbally.

The first few weeks I have the students sign in with their first and last names on a sheet of paper and use that to take attendance. I spend those first few weeks listening to how the students pronounce each other's names. Once I learn how to correctly pronounce their names I start using them in everyday conversation.

Another thing that I do is refer to my students by their last names with a Ms. or Mr. in front. The kids get a kick out of this!

This has saved me so much headache once I started doing it. The first few years I verbally called roll and ALWAYS mispronounced names and gravely offended students.

One way to speed up to process is to do a name activity.

During the first week of school I like to have my kids read "Names/Nombres"-By Julia Alvarez

Comprehension Questions

After holding a class discussion about names I give each student a copy of their name to color using this web site: Color your name page link

I also create a word search of all my students names per period as an early finisher activity.

Be sure to circulate the room a LOT as you do this and you will hear lots of conversations about names and lots of tips on pronunciation.


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