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Rap to remember

As a primary supply teacher the greatest frustration I face is not knowing the names of the pupils. I dislike having to point or address children as "young man over there" or "the girl with the purple hair band". I want to do them the courtesy of using their correct names. But how do I remember them?

My solution has been to use rhyme. Before registration I tell the children that I will need their help to perform the "trick" of remembering their names. I invite them to make up a two or four-line rap that includes their name and something about them that I will find memorable. They write these down if they need to and perform them when their name is called.

Most children are enthusiastic about doing this and the results are entertaining and hopefully memorable. This exercise also works as a very effective "ice-breaker".

The children will probably need an example to get their creative juices flowing. Here's the one I start with: Good morning children and my name's Warnes, You may think I'm the devil, but I've got no horns, I'm just a regular guy with a beard and glasses, Now could you be one of my favourite classes?

They normally remember my name after that. Here are some examples from a Year 4 class at St Michael's RCP School in Chatham, Kent: My name's Louis and I am the best, My top button is undone and I have no vest.

And: My name is Joshua don't you forget, Call me Josh - it's easier I bet, Sorry if I can't rhyme any more, I'm finding it all a bit of a bore.

Paul Warnes Supply teacher, Kent

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