So, what did we do?
I wrote each name in black marker. We counted the letters in the name. We said the name of the letters that make up each name. We talked about how each person's name is made up of letters....and those letters must be in a certain order. I modeled this with my own name and then with each of their names.
After my demonstration and our discussion, we began by "rainbow writing" their names. If you aren't familiar with the term "rainbow writing" it means they trace over their name with crayons...in different colors. I've actually seen where teachers have kids trace each letter in a different color. I don't do that. Because they need to see their names as a unit, I require that they trace the whole name in the same color. Then they choose a different color and do the same. The repetition of working with their names as a unit helps impress it in their minds. :)
Then, we worked with name puzzles. Name puzzles are a great bridge between reading and recognizing your name - to actually writing it. Name puzzles are super simple. I used index cards and wrote their names. These were the "model" names - they used it to copy from when building their puzzles. Eventually they need to be able to build the name without the model for support -- but for now most of the kiddos I worked with needed the extra support.
The second time I wrote the names on index cards I drew a colored line underneath. The line serves 2 purposes: it helps then from getting their pieces mixed with someone else's. They were working at the same table so I didn't want the name pieces to become one giant pile. The line also helps them keep the letters oriented correctly. The colored line is always at the bottom.
The next step (and the step I forgot to take a pic of) was to write their names. After working with them on recognizing, reading, and building their names - it was only fitting to conclude by having them practice writing their names. Some needed support of seeing the name (copying it) and some got it right all on their own. One girl really struggled with writing her name completely backwards. I helped her correct that by adding a red dot where she should start her name. That worked like a charm. So, if you ever had a kiddo like that, give the "red dot trick" a try! :)
We also played a sight word game to reinforce word wall. The kids had a ball!
What are some things you do to help your students learn to write their names?