One of the more popular posts on this blog is, “Name Picker Tools.” There are plenty of digital options for choosing students’ names randomly. (By the way, I wouldn’t always use this method for getting feedback as it can intimidate some of the students who are less extroverted or not sure about their learning. Giving students some Think and Discuss Time before you do this is helpful.) I just found a website that offers even more name picker tools, as well as some fun timers. It’s called, “Online Stopwatch.“
Before I describe some of the interactive tools, I will caution you that this site has a LOT of ads. It may be blocked by your district for that reason. So, definitely test it at school before planning to use it. Using the tools full-screen gets rid of most of the distractions, or you can pay $12/year for a premium subscription to get rid of them all together. Another benefit of the premium subscription is that you can save your lists of names instead of inputting them each time. However, I have a little workaround for that if you want to keep using the free version.
The reason you may want to check out this site is the sheer novelty of all of the options for timers and name pickers. You can find different ones for holidays, for example. Below is a screenshot from a Halloween-themed “race timer” where the user inputs the time and the characters race to the finish. As you can see in the top left there are several options for customizing the timer.
Or perhaps you want to choose a “Sensory Timer” so students aren’t too distracted. There are sports timers, animal timers, and more classic ones (like an hourglass), too.
For random name pickers, I kind of like the claw machine, but you can also do a magic 8-ball, a jack-in-the-box, and other fun options. My “workaround” for adding names is to have another tab open that already has my list of names, and to do a quick copy and paste.
My teaching style was to have a somewhat predictable structure in my classes, but to add an element of surprise every day to keep things lively. These timers and name pickers would certainly help with that!