Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting to Know You

It's the beginning of a new year, and that means there are new names to learn and old names to review. We spend the first few class sessions playing several different name games to cement names and also work on different music skills.

Sing Me Your Name

This name game is useful for developing pitch matching skills in younger students.

  • Teacher sings: "Sing me, sing me, sing me your name." (S-M-S-M-S-M-R-D) (ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ti-ti, ta)
  • While singing, teacher makes eye contact with a student and tosses a bean bag to the student at the end of the phrase.
  • Student answers by singing the same melody, but sings his/her name twice, and then, "That is my name."
  • Student tosses bean bag back to teacher.
Before we begin the game, we practice the question/answer several times. Sometimes we insert a silly name for the class to sing as the answer, such as, "Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, that is my name." We also demonstrate correct answers and incorrect and have students identify whether the answer is right. 

Later, the game can be played to assess pitch matching with new lyrics. Teacher can change the question to "Sing me, sing me, sing me your food." Student answers with favorite food. The possibilities are endless: show, color, animal, etc.

Higglety Wigglety Bumblebee

This poem is good for working on steady beat with K-1 students.
  • Teacher teaches poem by rote (lyrics can also be placed on board/screen for emerging readers).
  • Students speak poem and pat steady beat.
  • When students can speak poem successfully, game begins.
  • Class speaks poem while patting the steady beat, then one student speaks name.
  • Game can be played at different levels as students progress. The first time
    • First student speaks name, then class continues with poem. Play continues with the next student.
    • Later, student speaks name on steady beat and class answers back on the steady beat before continuing with the poem for the next student.
  • Play can also take place with teacher using a bumblebee puppet. 
    • Teacher walks around the circle and taps students on the beat. 
    • The student which the bee taps at the end of the poem speaks his/her name. 
    • Teacher says name, instructs children to say the name, then improvises a way for the class to repeat the name. ex: "Sal-ly. Let's all say it, Sal-ly. Let's all whisper it, Sal-ly." Other ideas: "Let's clap and say it," or "Flap your wings and say it."

Up the Ladder

This fun game was found through Pinterest. You can find the poem, as well as many other fabulous lesson plans in Jeff and Randy's 3rd Grade GamePlan.

We extended the game by letting students play the rhythm of the student introductions. 2nd-6th graders stood in lines behind 6-7 drums. After the poem, students at the drums introduced themselves (rhythmically) and everyone echoed and played the rhythm on the drums. Students waiting in line put the rhythm somewhere on their bodies. Students rotated to the end of the next line during the poem. They loved it!

Here's a video of our extension of Up the Ladder:

Do you have favorite name games? They are a great way to start the year for students and teachers.



  1. I have used this song (Randy and Jeff's Game Plan 3rd Grade) for the past couple of years and the kids love it. Thanks for sharing your extension, I think I will have to do that next year! :)

  2. Emily,
    I should have known that poem was found in their book! I have several levels of Game Plan at school, but I tend to use 1st and 2nd the most. It looks like I need to check out my 3rd grade book. That reminds me that I should probably buy the K level soon. If it comes from Jeff and Randy, you know it's going to work! Thanks for the info. I'll update the post to reflect the source of the poem.


  3. Third Grade Game Plan is my favorite of all the levels. There are many great songs and ideas in it.

  4. I love that extension of Up The Ladder! My fifth graders will love getting to change it up this year :)

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