Back to School Learning with Names

Hi Blog Hoppers! This is Mel. You may know me from my blog 'Frog Spot' or from my TpT stores 'From the Pond' and 'Graphics From the Pond'. It is beyond exciting for me, to be here blogging with these wonderful teachers!

I am from Australia, and we are just over half way through our teaching year already. However I know most of you are just heading 'back to school' so I am going to share some ideas that are perfect for those first few weeks. These ideas are grounded in the idea of using the students' own names for their early learning of letters and sounds. 

The first is a fun 'find-a-letter' worksheet. Students will write their name out at the top of the page, and then look through all the letters - coloring the ones that appear in their name. Not only will students be reinforcing the letters of their name, but they will be exposed to, and attend to, all the other letters of the alphabet as they look around the page.

You can find this worksheet, on my blog, by clicking on the image below.

I have predominately taught Kindergarten over my teaching career and the first thing I prepare every year for my new kinders, is at least 2 name flashcards. I have done up to 4 in the past. You can never have enough! I laminate them and keep them in bundles. They come in so handy and to have them prepared and ready before school starts, is a huge help. 

As well as plain flashcards (that just feature their names), I also do 2 desk plates for each child. One is fixed to their desk, and the other is kept with the others, in a bundle in my main teaching area. 

For the first few weeks of learning, as I send students back to their desk, I will hold up a name plate. Students watch the cards, and when they recognize their name, come and take the card from me, and take it to their desk and match it to the one secured on their desk. 

Not only are students learning to recognize their own name, but they will also learn the names of their peers. If you laminate these plates, students can also use a dry-erase marker to practice writing their name over and over again, by tracing the letters you have written. 

The desk plates/tags pictured here can be found in Erica Bohrer's store on TpT (they are a free download!).
Click on the image below to find them! 

In the recent TpT sale, I purchased Deanna's 'Names' unit! It is packed full of wonderful ideas for using student names to integrate with math and literacy.

'Measure Up' requires students to write out their name and measure the space it takes up with a variety of classroom equipment. New students will benefit so much from this, as while you are teaching valuable phonics and measurement concepts, you can also integrate learning about the classroom and your equipment. You can discuss and set out your rules for using and packing away.

Another project in this file requires students to paper chip their name in rainbow colors. It is a perfect activity for kindergarten and will foster fine motor skills as well as integrate phonics and art. Again, you can introduce a range of classroom procedures for using creative materials while you are implementing this fun activity!

You can find Deanna's unit by clicking on the image below:

I like to provide a huge variety of letter manipulatives and materials that students can use freely in the first weeks of school. You can encourage students to make their name, but also just see how they naturally use the letters. This makes for a great informal assessment opportunity. Some students may be very confident and be able to make words with the letters, other may still be learning their letter names and sounds. I keep a post-it note pad close by and record observations as I see them. 

There is a huge variety of 'name' based artwork ideas on Pinterest. Find one that will suit your particular class. Name based artworks make for a personal and meaningful bulletin board display in the first weeks of school. It will help to build classroom community and identity. One idea is to color and cut letters and arrange them on a black background. 

I have made a set of 'printable letters for the classroom' and am providing them to you for FREE in celebration of my first post here at Blog Hoppin'!

These letters can be used for a name based artwork, like the one above, or for any other time when you may need some fun bright letters in the classroom! 

Find them by clicking on the image below:

Thank you so much for visiting my post today!

Frog Spot Blog


  1. I love all of those back to school ideas, Mel! I'm 99.9% sure I'm back in a straight Prep class next year and I can't wait to be able to go through all these beginning of school rituals. Definitely adding your activities to my collection!

    Miss Galvin Learns

    1. Thank you Stef! You are sooooo talented teaching Prep, so they would be nuts not to have you back! Thanks so much for visiting Blog Hoppin'!

  2. Thanks for all of these wonderful ideas! I love your freebie page for finding the letters in a name!

  3. What a great post! Love the freebie page for finding the letters in a name. Even my 1st graders will love this. I also downloaded the printable letters. FANTASTIC! Lots of possibilities. I printed 4 to a page to make them even a little smaller. Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas. I always look forward to reading your posts.


    1. Thank you so much Sheree - what a great idea to do them 4 to a page! :)

  4. We will be sharing this with our Kinder Team next week...thank you Mel!!!<3

  5. Thank you for sharing these fun ideas!! They are going straight into my back to school activity file & I know my class will enjoy them :-)

  6. I can't wait to use these as I start my groups this year!

  7. I am very sorry, I am from Romania and can't upload work sheets, in order to get the capital letters too

  8. I love the look at letters sheet. Thank you for the freebie!

  9. Everyone says that back to school is tough for teachers, parents, students and everyone. There are different reasons behind that like we have to move towards academic life after long holidays which might be tough. sop for ms in engineering management

  10. Surely these are the effective principles which will be followed by the students and teachers would also be able to oblige every moment in this regard. punctuation checker free online



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