Going Back to School Tip

I can't believe it's time to start thinking about Back to School!  I hope you've had a restful and relaxing summer and were able to recharge your "teacher batteries" for the upcoming school year.  There's something I love about a new school year and I think it's the promise of possibility that lies before us!  A fresh start, a clean slate... I love it.

Meeting your new students at the start of the year can be daunting!  I hope I'm not the only one who has crazy back to school nightmares where I can't remember anyone's name.  One of my little tricks to help remember my students' names is to ask them to create name tags for their desk.  

I know... you're probably thinking it's really elementary to do something like this.  BUT... I think my kids like making them for a few reasons. First... it's not what they expect.  They are expecting to hear me rattle off the course outline and my expectations for the year.  Secondly, they love the chance to be a little creative.  I give them card stock, provide coloring pencils, magazines, scissors and glue.  I ask them to make their name tags representative of who they are.  Thirdly, it helps them learn each others' names as they don't always know everyone in the class.  It avoids having to awkwardly ask someone their name.  

I store the name tags in envelopes labeled with the block / class.  When a new class begins I can pull out the envelope, leave the name tags out on a desk and have students pick them up on their way in.  They also drop them off with me on their way out so that I can keep them for the next class.  

 Another fun way to get to know my students is with this FREE Back to School Survey.  It's got a variety of questions that students might not be expecting & I always share my answers with the class.

Grab this FREE Back to School Survey from my TpT shop to get to know your new students even more! 


  1. Lovely to read a little more about you and to hear your thoughts on going back to school! Learning name - yikes! One year I taught about 250 different students and it took me quite some time to learn all their names, so I love your creative idea. Also, thanks for making that student survey resource free - it's great! :-) Wishing a wonderful new school year.

  2. It's more often than not that kids do not know each other's names and it's so important to know names to build community. I like the idea of name tags - I done name plates that sit on desks but this might be better! :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  3. My husband does the name tags on the desk thing, but I don't think he's quite so creative (math teacher ;) ) Thanks so much for your freebie. It's awesome!

  4. I, too, love teaching "The Outsiders" . . . SO many great discussions and activities with that book . . . so little time! I wish I could spend an entire quarter on that novel!

    Literary Sherri

  5. I absolutely LOVE "The Outsiders". Our 8th graders read it every year and it is always the highlight of their school year in ELA. Thanks so much for the AWESOME freebie, Addie!


  6. I'm right there with you with the name tags...and giving kids an opportunity to be creative. I've found that all kids like the opportunity to express themselves and do something hands-on...even really big ones! Wishing you a great start to the new school year!

  7. The name tags are a great idea, if not so much for me, for the other students like you said. A few years ago I discovered that a student who had been in my class for months still didn't know the names of his classmates and I was shocked. Now, I build in the time for students to learn names.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I love the idea of name tags. I am TERRIBLE with names! I love that you also encourage them to make them your own, which can probably bring out the artists in some, allowing you a little insight into some of those students who may not necessarily "shine" in an English class. It could also help you gauge whether to include some more interactive or "artsy" projects if you tend to have a good number of artists in your class. Interesting! Hope you have an amazing back to school...keep sharing! - Kristen from Simply Novel

  9. Learning names is so challenging sometimes. This sounds like a great way to make it easier.

  10. I am pretty good at remembering names, but there are always one or two students that take me longer. This is a great idea!

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven


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