So hands up everyone if you have a jar or container of paddle pop sticks with student names on them (or something along those lines).
I used to have this for questioning in class (now I am trying to do student led discussioins but that is a whole other post). This stops the same students carrying the class through question time and also the same students sitting back and either being lazy or too shy to answer.
I absolutely love random name generators and the students do too. It means that they are always listening because they don't know whether they will be asked a question and it also means that they start to listen to their peers as I penalise if they say the same thing with no added information due to them not listening. It also stops the jiggling with the hand in the air which can be distracting to those people that are still trying to think.
Now to make it more interesting, I have discovered the world of technology and therefore the world of interactive student name generators. This has made it more fun for students too, as they love watching to see if their name is drawn. There are positives and negatives to this approach though.
Positives - means students believe that the process is random, rather than you selecting from a cup (seriously they never trust you); the students are engaged as it is technology and interactive and there are lots of different types so you can change it up; setting up for groups is easier as some even allow different groups which means you don't have to sort your paddle pop sticks or have different sets.
Negatives - involves technology which can have problems (I still keep my paddle pop sticks as a backup just in case something is not working on the technology front); means you can't necessarily scaffold students to certain questions as easily as you could picking out from the jar (sometimes this doesn't matter however sometimes I want certain kids to extend themselves).
Dart Board Selector
My students absolutely loved this. You can even have names removed as you hit them which makes it great when making sure everyone has a turn.
You do have to create an account however a free account allows you to use the different tools. This means however that you can save different lists of names or words, which makes it a quick and easy tool after setup.
Allows you to randomly pick a name. Once you have entered the names, click go and the name is selected and said aloud. You are given several choices on time and whether you want the name removed from the list.
This is one to download. You can add your list of students and either pull one name or pair of names. It is random and it won't call the same student twice.
Another download one however it has an interesting option of turning on weighting which allows you to note which students get the answers right and wrong, the students then are more likely to be drawn up if they have got an answer wrong than right.
Not quite sold on this one due to the gambling element. Still it is another generator you can use. You can remove names as you go.
Oh and don't forget these aren't limited to your class names. You can list words, groups, numbers, activities etc.
Do you still use paddle pop sticks? Are there any other random name pickers that you have found that you would like to share?