This post originally appeared on the blog Free to Discover.

Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:
 
Yup, you read that
right. Each year, I have about 100 or so
new student names to learn. It takes me
about two days to get them all down. I
think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct
pronunciations! Here are five strategies
that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:
 
Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

1) I seat students alphabetically by last name. I always learn first and last
names at the same time. I think this is actually easier because I can think
about where in the alphabet their name should be when I’m trying to remember.
(There are some exceptions for preferential seating modifications.)
2)  Students find their seats
on day one by reading the seating chart and finding their own seat. I do not attempt to say their name before
hearing them say it themselves. For
attendance, I ask them to say their name, then I repeat it. I make it very clear that I want to be corrected
if I pronounce any part incorrectly. {My
first year a student didn’t tell me until the end of the year that I had been
mispronouncing her name
I never wanted that to
happen again!}

3)  I give students at least 15 minutes of quiet work time each of the first two
days. I spend that time studying my seating chart and matching faces to names.
Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

4)  I demonstrate my bravery by attempting all names without a seating chart at
the end of day one. This practice is a great way for me to check in with myself
and see which names I really need to focus on. Also, students get a kick out of
it and it’s a great way to develop relationships right off the bat!

5) I make connections to people I already know. Did I have their sibling in
class? I will probably learn their name right away. Do they remind me of a
former student? I try to link the two names together in my mind.

6)  A temporary solution I use is to somehow connect what they’re wearing to
their name. (Example: Amy is also my cousin’s name. Cousin Amy loves the color
orange and today Student Amy is wearing orange.)

By the end of day 2, I can typically recite all first and last names
when they are in their ASSIGNED seats. (It takes an extra week or so for
recognition outside the classroom.) When I feel really brave, I let them switch
seats randomly so I can try again. I love it and so do my students! My eighth graders love to try to stump me!

***

Amanda Nix of Free to Discover lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and English chocolate lab. She loves working with secondary math students! After five years as an 8th grade math teacher, she moved into a part-time role as a math interventionist for grades 5-8. Today she is a work-at-home mom who enjoys staying immersed in education by tutoring middle and high school students in math and science. She has a true passion for teaching math using fun, interactive methods. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Lesley University, and considers herself a lifelong learner. She loves sharing her ideas and strategies for teaching mathematics on the Free to Discover blog.  You can also connect with her on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram!