To add to my last post on Name Tickets and handwriting practice, here are a few more thoughts:
The name cards we make each year on cardstock for the kids are how we mark attendance each day. The first kids who come in pull the cards out of a pocket on the attendance pocket chart, and spread them out on a nearby table. As the kids come in, they find their name, and put it in the pocket chart. When we clean up to start class, I use the remaining names on the table to mark attendance online. The kids are welcome to go grab their name card at any time throughout the day if they need it to copy when writing. Later in the year they like to grab their friends' names to write them accurately in their journals or to write them letters or lists during free choice.
I've found in the past that for most kids, the name cards are the perfect size to be covered up with a jumbo sticky note which are see-through enough that they can trace their name. Maybe this is how we start the year? The kids pick up their name, trace it (or just the first letter or two to start with), then bring it to me to check. Once their name is written correctly to the best of their ability, they can put it in the pocket chart and go make a choice.
This will work much better if they trickle in. It may be tough to manage if they all come in from recess at once, at least at first. I wonder when I'll have my assistant this year? Last year she came in for a few minutes during this time to check in with me, then left right away for her lunch break. If there were two of us, it would be no trouble... We'll have to see!