Looking for a fun way to get more students to participate? Check out the Random Name Picker at the Barry Fun English website.
You will have to register for a free account, but it just takes a minute.
Under the Tools section, select Random Name Picker.
The first time you use the site, you can either type in the names manually, or you can import a class from a .txt file. Either way, you only have to do it once per class. Since you’re logged in, your information will be saved, and accessible from any computer.
If you have to edit lists later, if students move or if you realize Joseph goes by Joey, everything is quickly editable. Just click OK to start using the Name Picker.
The default setting is to have student names removed from the list once they are selected, but you can change that option if you want to keep students on their toes.
The site does make a
very annoying noise, so you may want to turn down or mute your speakers, although the kids seem to enjoy it.
As you can see, names scroll by when you click Go. The Go button will turn into a Stop button, which you can click to stop the names. As names start to slow down and eventually stop, it always reminds me of the wheel on the Price is Right. The kids love it!
There is another version of the Name Picker available on the same site. Under the Tools tab, you can choose Dartboard Selector.
It’s the same concept, with the same options, except this time, you get to launch darts to select a name. Just be sure no one goes home and tells their parents that you threw a dart at them!
It’s a little tricky to launch the darts from a Promethean or Smartboard. I recommend using your desktop mouse for this one. You click to select a dart, then move your mouse without clicking to aim, then click your mouse again to launch the dart. Yes, it’s possible to miss entirely, so practice your aim!
I find these tools especially helpful at the beginning of the school year, when students are more hesitant to participate, and when you might not quite have everyone’s names memorized.
If you know of similar tools that you enjoy using, please let me know in the comments.