This post originally appeared on the blog Simply Special Ed.
Teachers are known to use name tags on student desks. The ones that you can buy at a local teacher store usually have a whole lot of stimuli. I’m talking number lines, alphabet, colors, shapes, left and right, multiplication tables, and the list goes on…
First off, have you ever had a child who LOVES numbers or letters… these name tags can become a severe distraction… they are overwhelming and not functional for what our kids need to get through the day with success.
I’ve thought long and hard about this. I wanted my students to still have a space to call their own, without all the “fluff“. I wanted their name tags to be FUNCTIONAL. And that’s how these came to be!
The set of functional name tags has 7 unique designs. Each one could fit a different type of student. The whole concept is to mix the MOST USEFUL visual for that student, with their name or picture. This should reduce the clutter on the student’s desk, reduce missing or misplaced visuals (if you are in a sped classroom, there is always a whole lot of missing visuals!), and incorporate a clean, less stimulating design.
The first one incorporates a quick schedule. You can use it however you like. Some visual schedule pieces are included, but if you use boardmaker… use your visuals and just velcro them right on. You could also take pictures of the student completing common routines for them to refer to. It gives the student 3 steps and a visual of their reinforcer. Right there on their desk.
Common reminders. This works in any setting. All of our students need to remember to listen, have a quiet voice, and have a calm body. Another great way to use these, is to not write your students name, and have them label it themselves for writing practice each morning!
This one incorporates the same visual reminders, but a first then instead of just a reward. This is great for kids who utilize sensory breaks throughout the day!
This is another version where I left a spot for a student photo. You could even use a photo of their favorite character, something that makes them happy, or a place to write them little notes or reminders for their day.
This is for a student working on emotional regulation. The student can move the arrow to the velcro above the emotion they are feeling. Then the teacher can go over and know how to help them. Being able to communicate with the visual helps to reduce the need to tantrum, and use functional communication.
This one uses the same idea, but incorporates some levels of emotions that are tough to handle. Most students working on emotions have a toolbox of what to do when they are feeling certain ways. Again, the student can move the arrow to communicate where they are at.
There is also a visual that goes along with this. The student is able to decide how they are feeling and use the visual to find a strategy to help them cope at this time. Having emotional regulation visuals right there on their desk can help reduce time off task and problem behaviors, and give students a quick reminder of how they can fix how they are feeling appropriately.
This is another great one for communicating emotional regulation needs. The student can select what they need to do to keep working effectively. An adult can see what they need and prompt them through it, or they can functionally ask for what they need using these visuals. It can also serve as just visual reminders for strategies to cope. It is also helpful for the adult to be reminded to do “frequent check-ins” to promote coping strategies.
I’ve definitely entered a new world this year working with some students with more social emotional needs. These name tags will definitely make a difference in helping your students learn to cope, while reducing the unnecessary stimuli on their desk.
You can grab this set of student name tags here.
Alyssa is a substantially separate special education teacher from Massachusetts and author of the blog, Simply Special Ed. Alyssa has a passion for creating resources to build independence in students with disabilities and adapting curriculum to meet the needs of all unique learners. Alyssa loves sharing simple ways to incorporate more into each day (& by more, she means teaching tips, puppies, and farmhouse furniture) @SimplySpecialEd on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.