How To Learn Student Names

When you get a new group of students, what’s the best way to take attendance when you don’t even know their names yet? For five years, I taught business classes at the high school and college levels, and these are some of the tricks that I used.

Use a seating chart

There are two ways to use a seating chart. The first is to assign seats to the students on your own. When they come in on the first day, ask them to look at the seating chart for their seat assignments. Then, verify that everyone is sitting where they are supposed to be. The second way is to let the students choose their own seats. After they’re settled in, pass around the seating diagram and have them write their own names where they are sitting. In either case, the students should sit in the same seat every day.

When it’s time to take attendance, just find the empty seats, and refer to your seating chart to determine who is missing. Sometimes students do sit in the wrong spot, so you’ll need to make sure that’s not the case, if one of the seats is empty.

Seat Students In Groups

Another good way is to seat students in clumps of 4-6. Then, just go around to each group and ask them who is missing from their group. The students themselves will know who is supposed to be in their small group.

Roll Book

Call Roll

The extremely old fashioned method is to call out student names and have they respond by saying “here”.  This is actually a great method to use when you’re outside, on a bus, or somewhere else where the other methods mentioned here won’t work.

Pass Around a Sign-In Sheet

Our Best Attendance software is able to print sign-in sheets for specific events. You could print one out and pass it around so students can check off their names. Or, pass around a blank sheet of paper and have students write their names, indicating if they are a regular member of your class or a guest.

Students Sign In When They Arrive

Probably the easiest method is to set up a computer, laptop, iPad, or kiosk at the entrance of your classroom and have students sign themselves in when as they arrive. Our Best Attendance software is a great way of doing this, as it allows for several sign-in methods, including:

  • Scanning student ID cards with bar code scanners or magnetic card readers
  • Typing their name to sign in
  • Using a touch screen to press a button next to their name to sign in

Using this method, Best Attendance also allows new guests to sign in, as well as regular members of your class. You can use multiple check-in stations at the same time, and class attendance can be monitored in real time from a different computer.

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/2Crzk

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