At the beginning of the school year, I like to use my students' names in as many activities as possible. Not only does this help us learn each other's names but it always seems like an easy place to start for second graders. We often read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, which generates great discussions about unique names and bullying others because of their names (or any other reason.) We also graph our names by how many letters are in our first names.
I really like to include student names in decorations around the room. I think it is important for them to find their own names plus it helps them learn how to write their friends' names. One idea is to use wet chalk on black paper for their names. While they have their name written in big bold letters in front of them, we would often do activities such as counting the vowels and consonants and filling out a venn diagram to compare their name to a partner's name. Then we would hang them up for the rest of the year.
I've created a freebie that includes some of the name pages that I used at the beginning of the year when we were playing with names. Click the picture below for your freebie.