Choosing a Child at Random

The Problem:

It’s a very regular event in my classroom that a child will need to be selected to do something. Often this is a task that isn’t child / level specific so anyone would be suitable. I don’t notice that I can end up choosing the same child more often than some others. But more than, or worse than this, is that some children think that it can’ t be them. This isn’t the case, and I certainly don’t want to look like it could be so I wanted to find something that is transparent and obviously fair to the children. (By fair  I really mean, not influenced by me. Some will always think it isn’t fair if they are not picked!)

The Solution:

My solution is to use a name picker/selector, call it what you will. This one from is really easy to set up. Just type in (or better still cut and paste) a class list into the box and the rest is done for you.

There are two styles to choose from:

  • Typewriter – Where the child’s name comes up one letter at a time.
  • Fruit Machine – Where the names rotate and it slows and then settles on one child’s name

To get a new name just click on the Fruit Machine button again. Or Typewriter to try the other way, couldnt be simpler, although it would be cooler if you could pull the lever!


This is also a great tool for “No-Hand-Up Questions”  no-one knows who will be answering so everyone is engaged. To differentiate, choose the name first then ask the question, posing a question at a suitable level. I’ve seen no-hands questioning fail beacuse teachers fall into the old habit of asking a question then looking for someone to answer it.

Here I’m showing you the Fruit Machine one, but both are worth a look:

Click here for larger version

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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