Do you add your students’ names to the word wall or alphabet wall in your early childhood classroom? Adding names to your word wall can generate a great deal of excitement from the kids in your class. Here are instructions and a couple tools to help you make name cards for your classroom.
Make Name Cards
When I made the name cards at my former preschool, I created them using my Adobe Illustrator program. This was great at the time because I was there to do it. Then, I moved across the country leaving my co-workers without a way to make more name cards because they didn’t have the software. I created an editable template for them to print the names, but I could never figure out how to easily add the kids’ pictures to the template.
Well, with the help of my husband, I created a second template to print square pictures at exactly the right size to use on the name cards. The template makes it so much easier to size and print the pictures. I wish that I could have figured it out long ago because it really is easier than the process that I was using. You will still have to cut out the pictures and attach them to the name cards, but I think that you will find many uses for the little picture squares that you create.
Name Card Template
This is a two step process. First, you will need my Name Card Templates and here they are. I included three different color options in the document. The template colors and fonts are the same as my Printable Early Childhood Word Wall so that the name cards will match that set perfectly. (*Note: The fonts were updated recently so they really do match perfectly with the word wall cards.) When you open the name card template document, click on the blue rectangle in the middle of each name card and type in a child’s name. I have included two different font sizes for each color. If you have a Stephanie, Elizabeth, or another kiddo with a long name, use the second template in each color. The second templates have an adjustable font that will adjust the font on longer names. When printed, the name cards will have a blank space on the left side for each child’s picture.
Before you are ready for the next template, you will first need to prepare a square picture of each child in your class. This is pretty easy to do if you take your pictures with an iphone. Set the phone’s camera to take a square picture before you take the shots, or use the edit mode after you take the shot to crop it into a square. I recently discovered the VSCOcam app and I use it to crop and edit all the photos that I take on my phone. I am sure there are many other photo editing apps that will do the job too. Once I have a square photo I send it to my dropbox so that I have access to it on my PC. When I use my digital camera instead of my phone to take pictures I like to use picassa or Adobe Lightroom to crop my photos into a square. I just make sure that I save the cropped photos in a file where I can easily find them for the next step.
The Photo Template
Okay, now for the cool part. Here is the template for the pictures. It is a Word file and when you open it up you will see a bunch of smiley faces on a grid. Simply right click on a smiley face, select the “change picture” option, and then select one of your square pictures from your dropbox or from the files on your computer. Once you make the selection, the picture will automatically (or magically) switch to your personal picture.
Add Photos to Name Cards
When you have replaced all of the smiley faces in the document with your own pictures, print the page. Take the time to print extra pages and/or save the document with your pictures so that you can use the pictures for other projects throughout the year (like a name matching game). After printing, cut out the individual pictures, and then attach them to the appropriate name cards. I used the tiniest dab of glue from a glue stick on the corner of each picture to hold the pictures in place for laminating. Once the name cards have been laminated, they are ready to cut out and add to your word wall.
Every once in awhile someone has a problem with on of my editable PDF’s. The blue form fill box doesn’t show, a strange font shows up, or the text looks like gibberish. Usually when people experience crazy problems with the document like that it is because a new version of Adobe Acrobat Reader needs to be installed. You can get the most recent version of Acrobat Reader from this website. http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/ If you have installed the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader and are still experiencing problems, try opening the Adobe Acrobat Reader program first, and then opening the document from the program.
Many Uses for Name Cards
You may want to make several sets of name cards for your class. In addition to using them on your word wall, here are several other ideas:
- Use them for a sign-in procedure at the beginning of class.
- Use them in your writing center.
- Use them with magnetic letters for an alphabet sorting activity.
- Use them to show kids where to sit at circle time or snack time.
- Attach them to the kid’s cubbies.
- Bind them together to make a little book for your reading area.
- Laminate a name card without pictures and laminate the individual picture squares separately. You now have a cool name matching game.
If you are interested in the complete early childhood word wall pictured in this post, it is available in the following products in the Early Learning Ideas TPT store:
Do you have additional ideas for using these name cards in your classroom? I would love to hear them. To see additional ideas for using students’ names in your classroom check out my Pinterest board below.