We do so much with names in preschool! In addition to children learning to write their names, they’re also a great teaching tool. In “15+ Name Activities for Preschoolers”, I touch on a variety of ways for kiddos to explore their names. One item I mentioned was a sign-in book. This is a simple name writing activity that can be done every day, in just a few minutes. A reader named Kim left me a sweet comment on that post, and that comment was the inspiration for this one! I must admit, I just love getting feedback from my readers . . . thank you, Kim!!
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Signing into class every day may seem silly to an adult, but it’s actually quite meaningful for children. First, because it’s all about THEM — their name, and they are doing the writing. Secondly, it’s part of a book that the class works on together.
I teach a pre-kindergarten class, and I start the year using a simple sign-in book. It has a laminated front cover that says “Our Sign In Book”, and there’s a laminated back cover as well. I place copies of my sign in sheets between the covers, and everything’s held together with loose-leaf rings. For the sign in sheets, I use a very basic grid with 8 rectangles to house the students’ names. I usually just type it up in a Word document, but sometimes I simply write their names within the rectangles. The names are at the top of the rectangle, with room underneath for the kids to sign in.
If you are teaching your children or your students how to write their names, I would like to stress one point. PLEASE teach them to write their names with the first letter capitalized and the rest lowercase. This is how they’ll usually write and see their names. Plus, they’ll need to write their names this way in elementary school, so why not do it this way from the start?
At the very beginning of the year, many children are still learning the correct formation of their names. Because of this, I often use a yellow marker to help them out. Underneath the type-written name, I write the name again in the yellow marker. Then, when a child is signing in, he can trace over the letters I wrote in yellow. Much of the time, I am sitting next to the child, walking him through the writing process. This includes moving from left to right when writing, and I also focus on the correct letter formation. Despite how much detail I’m going into here, it really is a quick process. Some children need more help than others, and that’s perfectly fine!
The great part of using a name book is being able to see the progress each child makes during the school year! Since it’s held together by loose-leaf rings, it’s easy to add more sign-in sheets as the year progresses. I love looking back through the book at different parts of the year. I look at how the children wrote their names the first week of school, and I usually compare that to how they’re writing in December, then February, then May. In addition to helping me see the changes in their name writing, it’s also a helpful tool during parent conferences. Such a simple way to show parents what a great job their kiddos are doing in preschool!
There are many, many different ways for young children to sign into their preschool class! This is just one of many. I usually switch it up around January, adding different ways to sign in at that point. That way, the children have a multitude of ways to practice their name writing! Since I’ve rambled on long enough here, some of those ideas will have to wait for another time!
Do you use a sign in book for your early childhood classroom? Do you find it’s beneficial for the kiddos? If you’ve never used one before, what do you think of the idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.