Last year a teacher showed me how to make a name tracing book:
You fold about 6 blank white pieces of paper 'hot dog style'. Fold a piece of construction paper over that to make a long book. Staple it at the seams.
Take a sentence strip the same length as your piece of paper and write the student's name in marker. Students put the name strip under the first sheet and trace their name. Then they take out the strip and place it under the second page to trace, etc.
We only used it a few times since many of my kiddos came knowing how to write their names, but they enjoyed it as a 'seat work' activity.
A lot of the trouble is that the kids don't know how to spell/recognize the letters in their name...even though they can "spell" it orally or say the letters in their name. Parents don't get that "saying" the alphabet is not the same as "recognizing" the alphabet. I begin the year with a name card in their cubby. It is simply velcroed into their cubby and whenever they need to write their name, they retrieve it. The first few weeks of school we do a lot of activities revolving around our names with the philosophy of "they will learn their alphabet a lot faster if it is personal...using letters they need to know first." One part of this is giving each child a name puzzle (name written on a laminated sentence strip and cut between each letter, place all pieces in a snack size zip-lock bag). We use these for different activities ranging from simply "Spill and Build" to make their name, pinky point to __ (pick either a letter, a consonant/vowel, a capital letter, the last letter...) and have them name the letters they touch each time, build a friend's name, ... I also have a small group for anyone who doesn't recognize their name and each of them have a bag with the letters of their name (connecting magnetic linking letters) and we work on "your name starts with a capital" and they find that letter first and build from there. They need to learn to build it in order to "stamp it on their brain"
I also send home a 9"x12" piece of laminated construction paper. On it I've made 6 horizontal sections. In the top section, I've written their name and they trace it. Section 2 they trace the dotted letters, Section 3 I put the dots to show where to start each letter and Sections 4-6 they try on their own. I send this with a little note that gives the directions and encourages the children to practice this each night. I only give this to the kids who can't write their name, though.
http://maggieskindercorner.com/ is another site. Scroll down and on the left there is a spot to click name page forms. I make about 10 for each child and let them use highlighters for a few days. If the child has no difficulties then I just send all the pages home, otherwise I continue to practise at school,send some pages home, copy more...
I often use chalkboards to practice printing and while I'm getting things passed out they have to print their name over and over and I can go and help individuals.
I do not want my kids writing their name at the beginning. Most do not know all their letters and some have never used a pencil much. Ansd still others have learned to form letters improperly or all caps. I teach my kids how to write their initials first. I then have then initial all their papers or projects on the back until I have taught them how to make and recognize all their letters. I spend time the first week teaching them what initials are and my aid and I go around helping those that need it make the two letters for their initials. I have nametag shapes that we put randomly on the floor for them to find their name each morning. They place them on the meeting board and this help me with attendance also. We add last names to this later in the year.
For the last few years, I have used a dotted line font from Fonts4Teachers to make practice sheets with each child's first and last name. Then, I send one home each week in their homework packet. I have really seen big results as this carries over into them using guidelines and sizing letters correctly.
I expect them to write first and last names from day 1. Maybe not well, but they must do it. I will have them practice with the classroom aide and with me. I use Tampa reads to make practice worksheets.
Unfortunately most of my kinder children do not know how to write their names. Even if a few do, it is messy. Here is what I do:
The first quarter, I only have them practice their first name. The second quarter, last name. The third quarter, they have to write both names on everything paper they turn in.
In class: I make a name book. I staple several sheets of dashed line paper. I take a stripe of construction paper and fold it hot dog style to use it as a spine for the book. I write their names on the spine of the book to identify it's their book, not to necessary for them to refer to it during practice. Here is the tedious part- I use a highlighter to print their names three times, leaving the last line to try on their own. As they get better, I decrease the amount of highlighting which leave more lines for them to practice. For the highlighted printing, they trace it, and for the empty lines, they copy the names. This is a lot of work, but I do it primarily to save copy paper since we have a limited supply at our school.
They work on their name book for 5-10 minutes daily during small group rotation.
Homework- I make a print out of their names using font4teachers software. I sent it as homework.
** For students who know how to write their name (at any even time of the year), I emphasize neatness. It's part of the standard, and part of my pet peeve. I can't stand reading messing names.