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Letter drawings

Give each student a large piece of paper. They will write out their first name on the paper in large, easy–to–read print. Their challenge is to decorate each letter with pictures that begin with that letter (it is even better if they can choose things to draw that connect to them in some way!). For example, Rob might turn the “R” into a (fishing) rod catching a fish by making the line part of the letter into a fishing rod and the curved part into fishing line with a fish on the end. The “o” could be turned into a baseball, and the “b” could become a basketball going through a hoop.

Tape the completed letter drawings in a visible area of the classroom and they can help the students learn each other’s names!

Name crossword

Type and print the name of each student in your class in large sized, easy–to–read font. Have each student cut out the letters of their own name (they now have letter “tiles” that spell their name). Challenge the class to create a large crossword by interlocking their names.

Secret handshake

Pair the students into groups of two and have them scatter around the classroom. Each pairing will then say “Hi, my name is !” to each other. The groups will then create a secret handshake using one motion for each letter in their names. Give each group a few minutes to practice their handshake, then change up the groups! Change the groups a few times, then ask if any groups would like to share their handshakes with the rest of the class. Challenge them to do their handshakes with each other later in the day, or later in the week.

Name boggle

Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Give each group a piece of blank paper then ask them to write out the first name of everyone in the group.

Set the timer for two minutes! Each group has two minutes to create words that only use the letters in their names.

3 letter words = 1 point
4 letter words = 2 points
5+ letter words = 3 points

For example:
Amy, George, Tommy, and Sarah could create words such as story, mother, or grammar.

“Get to know you” Activities

Similarity circle

This activity is best done outside or in a gymnasium (any place where the students can be loud!). Have the group form a large circle. Read a statement aloud (suggestion list is below) and tell the students that if the statement pertains to them, they should run into the circle as excitedly as possible. When they run into the center of the circle, they can jump around, yell “woohoo”, give others in the circle a high five, etc.

This activity allows students learn about each other and see who shares some similarities. Be sure to yell out statements that are inclusive, so that students have the opportunity to run into the center a few times.

Statement suggestions:

Run into the circle if you…

…have a sibling!

…have a pet!

…are excited about starting a new school year!

…ate ice cream this summer!

…live in (specific town)

…are wearing socks!

…like to read!

Steve Hiles

I am a retired military and elementary school teacher living in Tennessee. I am an avid reader and love to write. I am very passionate about helping teachers. I hope you find my educational tips and strategies useful,and enjoy hearing about my personal journey.

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Steve Hiles

I am a retired military and elementary school teacher living in Tennessee. I am an avid reader and love to write. I am very passionate about helping teachers. I hope you find my educational tips and strategies useful and enjoy hearing about my personal journey. Thanks for visiting!

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