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Random Name Picker

Teach Starter Publishing Suitable for years:  P - 7

This teacher-created random name picker can be loaded with your class list to pick student names for any task. Explore teachers' favourite ways to generate names and some tips for the classroom!

Need to generate a random name in your classroom? If you’re tired of the old ‘pick a name out of a hat’ trick, then this name picker widget for teachers has you covered!

Random Name Picker for Teachers

Created by the teachers on the Teach Starter team, this random name selector allows you to enter your students’ names and then spin up a random name.  You can input your class list, using as many or as few student names as you desire (tip: make sure you separate each name with a comma, not a new line). Select your spin duration, and you’re ready to go!

Don’t forget to choose the theme!

  • Hero Selector
  • Victim Selector
  • Lucky Dip
  • Default Theme

Because we’re teachers too, we anticipated the biggest struggle with most random name generators out there: Once a student’s name is picked, you have the option to remove them from the list to ensure their name isn’t chosen again. No more double-ups!

How to Generate Random Names

Ready to pick names? Here’s how it works!

  1. Press the play button above.
  2. Click on the cog icon in the top right corner to customise your random name generator.
  3. Choose a pre-loaded list of names from your saved word list, or type each name in separated by a comma.
  4. Choose a theme for your name randomiser.
  5. Press ‘Spin’ and away you go!

Random Name Picker Ideas for Your Classroom

The random name picker seems like a humble classroom tool, but it is a little more than meets the eye…it is a Numeracy tool, a Literacy resource, and even a game participant. Give any o f these ideas a try in your classroom:

1. Call the Roll

Make roll call exciting again! Input your class list into the random name selector, and click spin. As each name is read out, click ‘remove name?’ to ensure it doesn’t come up again.

Your students will be quiet and attentive — they don’t want to miss their name.

Want to use your list day after day? Go check out the Gallery tab on your home feed. You can simply click on the Word Lists tab, and create a new list to save your class list for future use!

2.  Pick Prize Winners

Our lucky dip or hero theme is perfect for this virtual prize winner selector. If you give out class rewards, then this widget is your new best friend. Once they’ve filled up their behaviour reward chart, load your deserving students into the random selector, and let it spin!

Ideas for class prizes don’t have to be costly. Why not give your prize winner the chance to choose from one of the following options?

  • 10 minutes extra play
  • be the teacher’s special helper for a day
  • no homework for one night
  • be the line leader
  • the chance to read with a buddy
  • use a pen to write with for one lesson.

3. Encourage Class Participation

Do you have repeat offenders trying to ‘fly under the radar’ when it comes to class participation? The random name generator can help you ensure you’re calling on students in an equitable manner. Do be careful, however, as this can add anxiety for some anxious students — so use this tool judiciously.

4. Teach Chance and Data

Use the random name picker to teach your class a lesson on probability. Input as many or as few names as you like, and tabulate the randomly selected results.

If you would prefer to tie this activity in with a themed lesson, why not change the class list names to vocabulary words?

Some ideas for using the results generated:

  • Create a tally table of results.
  • Create a graph of your results. Use a blank graph template to represent how many times each word was chosen after a certain number of clicks.
  • Ask your students to work out the probability of each word before and after you add or remove words, or even if you input words more than once!
  • Complete a frequency table of how often each word is selected.

Check out some more of our Chance and Probability resources!

5. Grouping/ Choosing Teams/ Buddy Match-Up

If you are splitting your class into small groups or pairing up students, this widget makes the perfect tool to ensure fairness and no favourites. If you have chosen team captains, why not get the captains to press the ‘Go!’ button?

Some opportunities for you to use the random name selector widget to group your students could be:

  • when designating working groups
  • during lessons where your students are paired up with students from other classes
  • when creating sporting teams
  • while asking students to peer review each others’ work
  • when assigning groups for assessment purposes.

This is great for classroom group organisation at the start of the term. Just complete some grouping posters as you go, and you’re ready for the rest of your term’s rotational activities.

6. Spelling Warm Up

Students’ names can be interesting and unique — just like students themselves! Use student names in a literacy warm-up to help your students practice their basic spelling and word analysis.

Some ideas of Literacy activities to do with student names:

7. Line Up

Use the random name picker to order your students to do different tasks for you, such as lining up to go outside the classroom. You won’t have to worry about your students pushing to the front of the line, or hanging back to have a chat — the selector tells you when to ‘GO’!

8. Classroom Job Delegation

Classroom jobs are great for teaching your students responsibility, and for making the running of your classroom just a little bit easier. Do you like to swap the names on your classroom jobs chart once a week? You could draw each child’s name out of a hat to delegate classroom helper tasks. Or you could make things easy by using the name picker!

If you don’t yet have a classroom jobs system in your class, check out our Classroom Jobs Teaching Resources, and get randomly selecting!

9. Organise Class Presentations

If your students love show and tell as much as ours, they’ll be clamouring to go first when it’s their day. Help make the run sheet a little more civilised by putting the day’s list of presenters into the widget, and watch it spin.

If your students aren’t brave enough to get up in front of the class quite yet, help them build their speaking and listening skills with these speaking and listening teaching resources.

10. Teacher’s Secret Helper

The random name selector also has a very special function as teacher’s secret helper.

All of the uses we have previously mentioned involve your class being a part of the process of using the random name selector, but that doesn’t have to be the case!

When it’s 8 a.m. on a Friday morning and you’ve just been reminded (whoops!) that you have to nominate a child for student of the week, or to represent your class at assembly, or to show around some visitors to the school you may find this tool comes in VERY handy.

Of course, you won’t just choose any random child — these things do need to be dealt with sensibly — but if you have two or more likely contenders for any of the above roles (or any other role!) then pop the names into the selector, and let it do the deciding.


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  • Carol Fontana-Cicciari

    Hi, how can I save it for future use?

    • Ben Liddle

      Hi Carol, The easiest way to save this is by creating a word list, and adding this to the Random Name Selector anytime you need to use this :) I've included a link here to the area we can go to create word lists: https://www.teachstarter.com/hub/word-lists/ Thanks!

  • Elizabeth King

    So how do you save the class's names for future use? I got a reply yesterday but I can't find it sorry.

    • Emma (Teach Starter)

      Hi Elizabeth, We're sorry to hear you're having trouble. Please contact us at suppo[email protected] and we'll help you work through the problem.

    • Paul (Teach Starter)

      Hi Elizabeth, Please contact us at [email protected] and we'll help you sort it out.