Labels All Around

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In this activity we are having students label all the different objects in the room to point out that everything has a name which is like a label. The activity is a simple one designed to teach young students that a label is something we attach to something else, but doesn’t necessarily tell us everything we want to know about it.


Spatial Requirements: Regular classroom setup; Little or no space required
Activity Type: Group Activity
Grades: 1-12
Group Size: 2 or more
Time: 5-10 minutes


  • Post it notes for individual, partners, or groups of students.
  • Something to write with

Activity Instructions:

Group the students in pairs or up to groups of four. Provide each group with a pad of sticky notes or a set number of sticky notes to ensure all groups have an opportunity to label the same amount of objects around the room. Instruct the students that you want them to go around and label objects in the room. Start off by doing one as an example.
Write the word on the sticky note and place it on an object. Let them know you will give them between 7- 10 minutes to do so. Reinforce your classroom norms for group work and then set them to task.

Academic note: At such a young age students will obviously have a difficult time spelling a lot of the words they will be tasked with writing. Some recommendations are to create groups with differing levels of ability with phonics and phonemic awareness to make sure every group has at least one student that can take the lead. Other ideas include encouraging students to use sound spelling, seek help from others or from you, using your word wall, etc.

After students have labeled things throughout the class, have them return to the carpet, their seats, or however you feel most appropriate. Walk around the room saying out loud a few of the labels they put on objects. Begin to ask students to say what the label is for objects you point to. After you have named between 5-10 objects, choose an object and after the students say the label of the object, ask: “Because this is a ____, what do I know about it? What is it used for? What is it good for? Why is it important?” do a few more examples while asking those questions. 

Point out that all objects have a name or a label. They have a purpose, something they are good for (or good at), and a reason for being in the classroom.

Processing the Experience:

  • What are some of the labels you placed around the room?
  • How are labels important for us?
  • Choose one of the objects that were labeled and explain why they think that object is important?
  • Do some of those objects already have a label on them before we put our own sticky note label? If so, which ones?
  • What is the purpose of a label?
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