Issue 58: Variations on The Name Game (or The “Concentration” Game)

This is the essential warm-up for the beginning of the new school year when you are faced by a host of bright, shiny and eager little faces and you need to learn 30-odd names in a very short space of time.

It is very simple: you all sit in a circle, and set up a pulse pattern;

Pat your knees twice, click your fingers twice. Once this pulse is steady, you go round the circle, saying your name as you pat your knees, then the name of the person next to you as you click your fingers.

“Miss, I can’t click my fingers!”    “No, neither can I. Just pretend, like this.”

”Miss, my knees are hurting.”      “Don’t pat them so hard then.”

“Miss, my fingers hurt.”                 “You don’t have to click them loudly.”

“Miss……”             “Shall we get on with the game?”

I usually start off by having everyone say everyone’s names all the time. This hides my ignorance. Once everyone has got the hang of it, they can say their name, and the person next to them, by themselves.

If a child gets flustered and misses the pulse, the important thing is that they wait until they pat their knees again before they say their name, otherwise the pattern “goes upside down”.

However, you can only play this game for so many weeks, and the children’s enthusiasm will have waned before you have managed to work out who’s who. I have been watching how several of my colleagues play the game. They have developed some interesting variations;

Variation 1

Each person says their own name, and then the name of someone else, not necessarily next to them. That person has to react quickly enough to say their name and another name while keeping the pulse.

Variation 2

Similar to variation 1, but everyone starts standing up, and when they have been chosen, they sit down. The game continues until everyone is sitting down.

Variation 3

You start the game by singing the “Concentration” song. If someone fluffs their go, you sing “concentration” again to give them a chance to get sorted out, and they have another go. 

Variation 4

You play the game round the circle, but interrupt it after every 4 children with the “concentration” song.

This should keep you going with this game for an extra couple of weeks, giving you more time to learn all the names. 


This entry was posted in Songs, The organised teacher, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.