Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Learning Students' Names

Monday, October 20, 2014 to Friday, December 12, 2014
Abstract: 

Although students do a lot of small group work (and participate in class discussions), they often don’t know each other’s names – sometimes not even those of their own groups. At the end of the semester, students still ask me who “so and so” is so they can return peer reviewed papers.

During the second half of Fall 2014, I taught a F2F 8-week ENG102 course. To encourage students to learn each other’s names (and help me remember them more quickly), the first class session was spent getting to know each other. After a brief review of major policies, we did a Circle Name Game and Group Puzzle-Solving (see attachment).

Not only did I memorize all my students’ names on the first day, showing my students I care about them, but they also learned each other’s names. Only once all semester did a student ask who “so and so” was. Furthermore, students seemed much more engaged and collaborative throughout the semester. In fact, it was the first semester students stayed after completing peer reviews to talk personally with the writers to explain their comments on essays.

Division/Department: 
Completed Full Cycle: 
Yes
Course Number: 
ENG102
AttachmentSize
File cats-games-attachment.docx11.62 KB

Comments

PETAA00009's picture
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Jennifer - I really like this CATS for several reasons. First, I so agree that learning your students' name early on helps to build relationships of respect as well as cultivate community - both crucial to student learning. Second, you resolved your concern regarding this with an innovative games approach. Well done!

rom2024990's picture
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The first name game was very complex for me, but the second game was more stable for me. I also have a suggestion of using a sitting chart or have each student that answer a question to give thier name 1st prior to answering the question.

Thanks

Romanie

jenqo14611's picture
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Romanie - You're right: the first activity is complicated. That's actually, I think, what helped everyone learn each other's names.

Using a seating chart is definitely helpful for us to remember names, but how do you think we could use seating charts to help students learn each other's names? I would love to incorporate more ways to help students remember their classmates' names.

Thanks for your feedback!

BROAA00004's picture
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Jennifer, you are right, learning their names is very important, it conveys respect to the students. I focus on doing this intensely the first couple of weeks and I have students indicate appreciation.

SYLCN00001's picture
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Hi Jennifer,

Creating a comfortable learning environment for everyone starts on Day 1 and I think your two strategies for learning names is great. I may "steal" your idea this semester, because learning student names is also a challenging task for me, especially when you consider how many students we could potentially have (5 classes x 30 students) per semester.  Thank you for sharing.

Sylvia

valaa00005's picture
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We like the idea of associating games with learning names -  it's really needed.  We feel that the evidence could be quantifiable if an English assignment was set associated with the activity.  For example, for the first project, students would be required to write a  paragraph to identify commonalities, differences, interests, and observations about their fellow classmate/s.  

Valerie and Meha 

jenqo14611's picture
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Mistake post. Sorry.

kapoor's picture
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Im so glad I saw this before the first day of class Im going to try this as well. Great idea!!!

HEA2156907's picture
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Jennifer, 

This is great.  A simple idea that can have a huge impact on classroom environment.  I have a hard time with student names, especially in my hybrid or fast-track classes.  I'm glad you saw great results with this.

JEN2079436's picture
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Thank you for the group-puzzle solving. I did the name circle, and it worked really well. I am glad to have an additional tool.

son2154892's picture
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I have the students perform activities on the first day of class, but I have not focused on having the students learn each others' names.  I am going to incorporate one of your activities and place more focus on name learning.  I agree that students work with each other better when they get to know each other.

sha2182656's picture
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I love the circle name game. It is engaging and inclusive for all students. It provides reinforcement for the instructor to learn student names. It also acts as an ice breaker to allow the students to learn their peers.

The Group-Puzzle solving activity: Is the activity something you supply for the groups or do they come up with their own group-puzzle solving topic?

ern2136765's picture
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As a music teacher, I do a rhythm chant keeping the steady beat with a name game to learn   the new names. There is lots of repitition so that each student that is in the circle has an opportunity to say it as a solo  and then all the students have to say all the names as well. I assess through observation. This helps me as well as all my students know  each others' names.