How to Learn 100 Names Without Losing Teaching Time

Do you need to learn 100 names in a very short time?  Try Stand Tags!

learn 100 names

Photo credit – CrossingTheBreak.com

By seeing the student’s names every time you see their face, you can use their name when you call on them and learn the names much faster. (There are many other benefits listed below.)

You can keep this as simple as giving each child a piece of paper and having them write their name on it in a marker.

If you are able to, you can pre-print them before school starts on different colored paper (or cardstock) with fun fonts. You can color-code them by grade level or section. I find students are much less likely to lose their stand tag when it is specially made for them. If they do lose it I leave it up to them to make a new one.

If there are students that go by a nickname I have students mark out the name, write in the name they go by and hand it to me at the end of class. I try to have a replacement ready for them by the next day. They appreciate the effort.

Additional Uses:

Put stickers on stand tags to encourage good discipline the first few weeks of school. I  give out small stickers for little things and large stickers for things that display “leadership.” 

Kids in their chair when the bell rings – start giving out little stickers
Answering questions – get a sticker
Counting confidently – sticker (big sticker if they are the loudest)

After class expectations & participation are in place you can dwindle down the stickers, and phase them out completely (if you want to) by the 3rd month of school. Many students will keep using the stand tag all year anyway because it’s a badge of honor.

Put some kind of marking on stand tags when students “pass off” an objective.
Maybe they demonstrate they can put on the reed correctly, make the correct embouchure, play the first note or first five notes. You can mark the front of the stand tag so you will know who has finished that objective. You can use your initials, signature or a picture like a happy face, star etc.

Students can use the back of the stand tag to write down important notes.
I use this most often for recording their chair order. I do tryouts one day and tell them where to sit the next day. They jot down the date and the chair they should sit in the following day so they don’t forget the next day.

You can color code them by instrument if you have trouble getting kids into the right classes the first week of school. This depends on the size of your program, but if you have lots of kids that start out in the wrong class and they aren’t playing the first few weeks because of schedule issues and getting instruments purchased, this may be helpful for you. For example, make all the trumpet stand tags yellow and all the flute stand tags red.  That way if you’re in 3rd period trumpet class with 40 students you can easily see that that child with the red stand tag is still in the wrong class and stay on top of it. It also gives them a little bit of “instrument pride” early on.


Want more ideas about how to prepare for next year?
Try listening to this podcast for ideas (Click here)

A 1999 music education graduate of WTAMU, Tamarie Sayger held band director positions in Plano and Odessa, TX for 5 years. As a private clarinet instructor in Texas for 16 years, she has taught hundreds of students from grade 6-12 in classes, sectionals, and individual lessons. Mrs. Sayger has presented at district in-services and co-presented at the Texas Bandmasters Association convention. Her website, CrossingTheBreak.com, provides resources for clarinet teachers around the country. Her podcast, Crossing The Break, can be found on iTunes.

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