Here’s a brief introductory activity you might use on the first day or in the first week of school to help you and your students get to know each other better.

Prepare pre-printed name tags that are big enough for the students to add several other words and symbols. Display the name tags on a table when the students come into the room and have them take their name tag but not put them on. Also make sure they have a pencil or pen.

Share the following instructions. Say:

Write or draw the following items on your name tag. There will be five items. (List one at a time. Pause briefly between each item to allow for making.)

  1. Your favorite childhood toy.
  2. The logo of your favorite sport’s team.
  3. Three words to finish this sentence: “My friends think I am….”
  4. The name of an adult you admire and/or love.
  5. The name of a child who loves and/or admires you.

After everyone has finished writing tell the students to pair up with someone they do not know well. When everyone has settled, say:

Now give your name tag to your partner and take turns explaining the symbols and words to each other. Talk about one symbol at a time. Listen carefully because you will be using what you learn about your partner to introduce him or her to the entire group.

Allow about five to ten minutes for this sharing. Then call on the partner pairs to come, one at a time, to the front of the class. Say:

Introduce your partner to the class. Tell one interesting thing you learned about him or her using one of the items on the name tag. For example, say something like: “This is Mary Jones. I just learned that….”

Continue in this format until everyone has been introduced.