Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Knowing Your Students' Names: October's Stepping Stones

For many art teachers, we see an entire school (or multiple schools), which could be anywhere from 500-1000 students in one week.  The joy of our position is seeing all of those students growing and maturing each year.  The trick is getting all those names to your memory!

It takes almost half a year for me to start remembering names to those faces. With all the pronunciations, the families, the transfer-ins, and the short time you see the students every week, it gets tricky.

It’s actually very important to try and memorize all those names and faces because a child’s name helps you to connect to that student in your classroom.  When a child’s identity is recognized, they self-esteem improves and they are more receptive to your instructions.  

In my article, I share a few tricks I've used over the years to start implanting those names to memory.

1.     If you have a classroom, create your seating charts in advance.  

2.     If you travel or push a cart, request a copy of the seating charts from the homeroom teachers.  This may not work in every case since seating arrangements can change drastically from week to week, but it’s a start.  In the school I travel to, the homeroom teachers received magnetic charts that were erasable and easy to read.  If there was a day I pushed the cart into the room and seating was rearranged, I was able to view the magnetic chart right away and find those faces.

3.     Use those nametags! Do the students have nametags on their desks?  Memorize them! Walk around during project time when you can and start acknowledging their work. 

4.     Test your name knowledge.  Randomly throughout the year, I call the students to line up by name instead of tables.  If there are a few students with names I can’t remember, I work harder to know them better the next time I see them.   Even if you can’t remember their names right away, the kids can see your effort in trying to get to know them.

To view the full article please visit October's Arts & Activities: Stepping Stones.

There's also another tip offered by The Art of Education!  

Jessica also offers more tips on her own site!  Click to view her article titled, "How to Remember Student Names."