The beginning of the school year is always filled with lots of excitement around meeting new friends and exploring a new classroom. While each classroom is a little different, one thing always remains the same: children’s names can be seen all over the room. Our friends in SK 107 have been very busy discovering all the places in the classroom where they can find their own names and have started to recognize each other’s names as well. Name recognition is a very important skill for kindergarteners that builds concepts of print and begins the process of site reading. Name activities also have many cognitive benefits which include the ideals that recognizing one's name helps children feel important and recognizing others' names builds a strong classroom community.
Learning how to recognize, spell and write their names takes lots of practice. In SK 107 we have a variety of engaging ways for children to do this, including using a clothespin with their name on it as a way to sign in and out of school, labeling our cubbies, mailboxes and supply caddies to take ownership over one’s belongings, adding our names as the first words on our Word Wall, finding their first and last names on our new Benq boards, using connecting cubes and colored chips with letters on them to practice building each other’s names and trying to match a friend’s name to their photo in a memory game.
We also read many books including The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and discussed the importance of names and how each of our own names carries special meaning. Of course, the best part of our name unit is the joy our students have when they can read and write not just their own names but each others!