Saturday, April 21, 2012

Student Selectors & Grouping Tools

When I first started teaching 20 years ago I always had a coffee can full of popsicle sticks with my students name on them sitting on my desk . 
When I needed to ask a question, I pulled a stick from 
the can to randomly choose a student.  
My old coffee can is now gone and instead there are tons
 of great options for selecting students online! 
They are super easy to use and so much fun- for you and for your students

I use these in my classroom and also when I'm training teachers. 
Keep in mind that these toosl don't have to be limited to names and that you can enter lists of numbers, vocabulary words, research paper topics, characters in a story-basically anything you can create a list of. 
The possibilities are endless!

The Random Name Selector by John McLear is my absolute favorite!
{John obviously has a great sense of humor because when you click on his page, 
the title at the top of the tab reads: Teach meet victim selector!}

The Random Name Selector allows you to randomly pick 
names from a list you've created.
Once you have entered your student's names and clicked the Go button, 
a name is selected {and said aloud}, you are given several choices. 
You can start a two minute timer or a seven minute timer.  
You also have the option of removing the name from your list. 
It has fun animation, sound effects, and a large fun font
so it's perfect for displaying on your SmartBoard. 

John has even allowed an option for embedding the tool in a webpage- 
provided he is given credit! Thank you John! 

To use the interactive, just click on Change Names, and type
 in your names, numbers, or words. Then click Go! 

This Dartboard Student Selector chooses a student from a dartboard.  
There are options to save your class, remove names once selected, clear darts after each throw, and reset names. You can also increase the rate of your dart throw. What a fun student selector!

Super Teacher Tools Instant Classroom will allow you all sorts of options for choosing students.  You simply create a free account, enter your class names (you can even import a class), and save it. You then have the option of using your class with a random name generator, a group creator, and a seating chart maker. 

The Random Name Generator will randomly draw a name from your class. The choice are random and will never come up in the same order twice!

The Seating Chart Maker allows you to arrange your students for a simple seating chart. You can even upload pics of your students which would be great for a substitute! It's a simple drag and drop interface that will even work on your iPad! 

The Group Maker Tool allows you to make 2-10 groups of  your students with the click of a button! The groups are random and can be shuffled over and over as needed!

The Random Name/Word Picker from is a fun way to choose a student or word. Just type in your students names (or copy and paste from another document), choose either the typewriter option or fruit machine, and your random name/word is displayed!


  1. Sadly, I still have the can of sticks after 18 years~ I'll definitely try some of these~ Thanks

    1. Oh you will love them! And so will your kids! :)

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing this information. Do any of these allow you to save sets of students, for rotary teachers? I see 7 different groups of kids, so my "coffee can" (hard plastic patio tumblers from the dollar store) might still be necessary... but if I could do away with them, I'm ready!
    Mme Aiello

    1. Yes! Most allow you to save your classes so you can do one per class! Woo hoo!

  3. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing and now I am following you.

    The Teaching Chameleon

  4. My fourth graders will love this! I also have the can with sticks!
    Roaming Around 4th Grade

  5. These are awesome! I am so excited for the slot machine website and I'm your newest follower!
    A Turn to Learn

  6. I'm so glad I found this on Pinterest! I'm following you now!

    Sally from ElementaryMatters

  7. Thank you for sharing all of these resources! This is 100x better than the boring popsicle sticks! I'm a new follower! :)

    Cheers To School

  8. Love, love, love your blog! I am your newest follower! Stop by and visit me...

  9. My kids just love the dartboard! We just got a Smartboard so this will be a great way to select students. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!



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