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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Jul 13, 2023

This week on "Highly Recommended" I’m sharing my absolute favorite way to start school - the name tent one-pager. 

Long-time listeners to the show will know that my first ever first day of school was an utter disaster. It was probably the day I came closest to leaving the profession. But at least I learned a valuable lesson - NEVER read the syllabus out loud on day one! 

A few years after my first first day, I discovered name tents. I was struggling so much with remembering my students’ names, and I felt terrible as I saw their disappointment when I was still grappling to remember the right name after a few days.

So I started printing name tents for them.

Then I let them decorate the name tents. 

 A few years after that, I became pretty obsessed with one-pagers, and realized how easy it would be to turn the name tents I loved into a getting-to-know you activity.

With a name tent one-pager, you just divide the name tent half page into sections that correspond to categories, like favorite book, favorite quote, favorite type of project, or whatever else you'd like to learn about students right away. 

Then, with their permission (and depending on school regulations), you can snap photos of kids holding them up so you can study them at home. But even if you can't do this, you can use the name tents for as long as you need until you get everyone's name down. 

Name tent one-pagers are a three-in-one deal. They’ll give you something engaging for day one, help you build relationships and community, AND solve your name memorization struggles.


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