Even though I knew better, I did it. I checked my class list to see the names of my new students. I shouldn't have... it gets me thinking about student NAMES and the things their names could be placed on to... and it's a dangerous slippery slope. I know the list will likely change by at least one or two students before the first day of school. But still. I did it. I got excited. I started making things.
I've come to terms with the fact that later I'll have to redo a couple because my excitement got the best of me.
I started prepping all that stuff we put on student desks. Name tags. Buddy lists. Student numbers (this consists of writing numbers on dot stickers and sticking them on name tags, so it's really not a time commitment at all). That's pretty much it. I guess I don't put a lot on their desks.
So first...I created name tags. (I KNOW!) This year I opted for a simple black and white design that students can decorate when they get in the classroom. This gives me a little more wiggle room if I have a last minute student. I figure I can plaster nameplates to desks after students leave school on the first day.
I grabbed a pre-made doodle from Classroom Doodles and put my new student names on them. Print and ready to go! I almost feel like I cheated because this was so simple!!
The next thing I started was my partner/buddy cards. I can't actually finish these yet, because I don't know my students. I like to get to know them and their strengths and weaknesses before I put my master list of buddies together. But I did go ahead and add all their names to my spreadsheet and each buddy tag.
There are times when I choose students randomly, but typically I like to keep student buddies or partners the same. I do this for a couple reasons:
1. It takes the drama out (I hate seeing a kiddo with no partner or someone telling someone they don't want to be their partner)
2. I can control how students are grouped based on the activity.
3. Pairs stay consistent for subjects like writing- this way I know how students are editing and giving feedback. I also know how they work together and ways I can provide support.
I set up a teacher code buddy card that tells me know I grouped students- by subject (reading, writing, math), by ability (apprentice/expert or high/low, or same ability level), or gender mix (boy/girl, or same). This way I have some flexibility depending on the activity, students know exactly who their partner is, and we don't mess around getting straight to business. I just say "Find your Purple Partner" and they are all set.
To do this, I use a personalized tag (seen above) with partner listed that I stick right on each student desk. It makes transitions so much easier.
You can grab these colorful (or B&W) tags and create your own version of buddy cards. I have updated this file from an editable Powerpoint, and instead made them PNG images (It just went live, so if you had the other file, you can re-download!). This was for a couple reasons, but the biggest was that not everyone uses Powerpoint for school, and this way anyone can place these images and add their text regardless of the program. It's essentially the exact same product (the image used in the Powerpoint was a picture image anyway), but this way you have a few more options available. If you use a B&W version (on colored paper, perhaps?), you may add a number next to student names (partner number 4!) since it won't be color coded.
I hope all that makes sense. Of course, if you have a different use for them, please feel free to do that, too!
I won't start putting student names on anything else (although now I'm thinking about birthdays...) so that I don't end up making more work for myself later!