Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learning with Names!

We have been having a great time learning math and literacy skills using our names. There are lots of great books you can read when learning with names. Here are a few of my favorites:

Chrysanthemum, by: Kevin Henkes

I've always read Chrysanthemum each year to my class and then we have usually graphed how many letters are in our names after reading it. Then this year I found another wonderful activity to go along with this book. Teaching Heart has a template you can download and type your students' names into and then print out so that students can practice building each others' names with letter tiles.

I always have a Names Station as one of my literacy stations so this was a perfect activity for me to put at that station this week. I also let kids practice writing each others' names on a magna doodle, build them with magnetic letters, and even sort the names (by number of letters, by number of syllables, by boys/girls, by first letter, etc.).

 There are also lots of cute poems you can put in pocket charts and kids can insert classmates names into the poems to read. For example, my kids are currently using "Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?" in a pocket chart to have some fun with names.I think I'm going to change it soon to "Who picked the apples from the apple tree?" for fall!
A My Name Is Alice, by: Jane Bayer

I highly recommend Deanna Jump's Literacy and Math Fun With Names Unit. It has some fabulous activities- including a very cute self-portrait craft that goes with this book. My students also loved making their name mosaics! It was nice to get some fresh ideas from this unit this year!

A My Name Is..., by: Alice Lyne

This book is very similar to A My Name is Alice and the kids enjoyed noticing how it goes in alphabetical order. I encourage them to raise their hand when we get to the page that has the letter their name starts with. Another fun activity to go along with this book is to sort names by if they have a particular letter or not (for example names that have the letter A and names that don't have the letter A).

Mary Wore Her Red Dress, by: Merle Peek

One of the activities I like to do each year is make a class big book. I take a photo of each child and glue it on to a big piece of contruction paper (staple the pages together and you instantly have a big book!). Then during interactive writing time we write a sentence on each page that follows the pattern in the book Mary Wore Her Red Dress (for example, if I take a picture of Jack, we might look at what he is wearing in his photo and write "Jack wore his green shirt"). The kids adore a book that's all about them-and it quickly becomes a favorite read at the Big Book Station in our classroom (I definitely recommend laminating it or they will destroy it they read it so much!). You could also do this in the form of a predictable chart or on sentence strips in a pocket chart.

If you'd like to have your own Names Station-here are some icons/signs that go along with the Debbie Diller pocket chart (the awesome Mrs. Wills was kind enough to give me the template so I could make my Names Station signs).

If you are looking for more ideas to go along with learning about names, I recommend Debbie Diller's book: Beyond the Names Chart. I bought an older edition of this book years ago (before I had become a Debbie Diller fanatic-lol!) and it has some great ideas in it.

Let me know if you have any other fun ideas for learning with names!


  1. I have wanted to have a names center for a few years now, but you just gave me the motivation! :) Thanks for sharing!!
    P.S. I'm your newest follower!!! Love your blog.

    Kindergarten Katy

  2. Hi! Great post!!

    I passed the Versatile Blogger Award your way :-)
    Come grab the button!

  3. Just ended my first week teaching Kindergarten and reading your blog was a great boost! Thank you! :)