At this time of year, it’s hard to remember 35 new children’s names – especially if you’re a new teacher or new to the school. So here’s a little name game from us, that takes 10 minutes and will have you remembering every child in class.
There are a number of name games you can play with groups of children, however this is one of our favourites and, we think, one of the simplest and most effective.
Participants stand in a circle – you could do this in class too, but a circle is nice if you have the space. Tell them that all they need to do is to think of a word (a noun or – more usefully – an adjective or verb) that begins with the same letter as their first name. Give some examples:
Tall Terry / Lovely Laura / Dancing Denise (try to choose examples carefully and don’t choose the same names as the children you are working with if you can.)
Explain that they will also need to come up with a move or action to demonstrate the word they have chosen (be this a noun, verb or adjective.) The action they choose should be very simple and something that everyone can do. Again, you may want to demonstrate using the same examples and coming up with some actions for Tall Terry, Lovely Laura and Dancing Denise.
Do your own name as an example (do come up with an idea beforehand so you can be confident with it) and get all the children to repeat it. Everyone should be saying the words and doing the action – accepting and respecting each other’s ideas.
Next, move around the circle and ask each participant to think of their own word and action. You may need to help some children – particularly if you have a lot with the same name or same initial. Once each participant has come up with his or her idea everyone should repeat it. This, we find, is the easiest way to remember it!
Next the names are ‘passed’ or ‘bounced’ around the circle. This is easier than it sounds. As the leader you can start. Firstly say your own name and simultaneously do the action, then say someone else’s. The turn then passes to them – they must say their name and do their action and then do someone else’s. The turn then passes to that person. And so on.
- Karate Kate to Tall Terry
- Tall Terry to Dancing Denise
- Dancing Denise to Amazing Amy etc etc
For groups of children who are younger or less able it is wise to go around the circle doing your name/action and the name/action of the person next to you so that the children can see how it works.
Be careful of allowing children to choose anything negative when naming themselves. You may find that these nicknames stick and it is always good if they are positive! So, no stupid Sarahs, Fat Freds or Dopey Daniels!
And that’s it – and it really does help. When you’re looking at a child and can’t remember their name, you can think back to the action and it will jog your memory. Works for us!
Give it a try and let us know how it goes!