Denise and I made laminated name cards with photos for each of our classes. This is a new thing for us this year, and it was a bit time-consuming. However, this simple tool has been a game-changer for us! The cards have been great learning names and making more intentional connections with each student, and they have also been wonderful for classroom management. We wanted to share a list of ideas of how to use these:
- Seating students randomly
Last year was our first year with node chairs. They have been really awesome, but one challenge is not being able to have a seating chart. Now, before the kids come in, I put a card on each desk and they know where to go. This has been great for classroom management, and the students get to work with a variety of classmates.
- Calling on people randomly
As we teach, we hold the stack of cards, and we can making sure that everyone is participating. When it’s clear that everyone should be prepared to answer a question, we simply pick a card from our pile. I will make sure I go through the whole pile at times to ensure that everyone gets a chance to talk.
- Assigning partners/groups
Assigning random partners or groups has never been easier. Just pick a couple of cards and pair the students up. I find this so much less stressful than trying to assign random groups off the top of my head—and I find the students accept it more easily because it is truly random.
- Mixer for “je m’appelle”
In first grade and kindergarten, I passed out the cards randomly and had them do a mixer and pretend to be the person on the card, asking each other’s names in French. Each time they had an interaction, they switched cards with their partners, and they pretended to be someone else in the next exchange. They thought it was pretty funny!
Let us know if you have any more ideas about how to use name cards—we are just discovering this useful tool! Feel free to comment below!