Learning your students' names is the first step in knowing who they are. Calling students by name communicates respect, helps them feel recognized as individuals, and helps to draw out and include shy students in class discussions. Here are a few ideas for getting to know your students' names.
- Ask students to wear nametags, or have them write their first names on the front and back of tented index cards on their desktops.
- Take a few moments and have the students introduce themselves to their neighbors. Then have each student introduce a neighbor to the class, along with one interesting fact about him or her.
- Take a Polaroid or digital camera to class and snap a photo of each student. Write the students' names on the photos and keep them with you for reference.
- Have the students create "business cards"—4x6-inch index cards with specific information about themselves in each corner of the card—as individuals and as learners (i.e., brief bio info, something they know a lot about, some of their strengths as learners, etc.)—and use these to make introductions in small groups. Afterwards, you may collect them to learn more about your students.