10 Terrific Uses for our Random Name Selector Widget

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Random Name Selector

Written by Emma (Teach Starter)
Posted Thursday February 21


Have you seen our Random Name Selector Widget?

If you haven’t seen our random name selector, you’re missing out on one of the most engaging, time-saving FREE teaching widgets around!

This amazing tool allows you to input your class list, using as many or as few student names as you desire. 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

Not only does this widget randomly select names, but it also provides you with the choice to remove the name from the pool once it’s been selected. No more double ups!

Our random name selector 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. If you’re not sure how that’s possible, read on to see ten of its terrific uses!


1. Call the Roll

Make roll call exciting again!

Input your class list into the random name selector and click spin!

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!

10 Uses for Our Random Name Selector Widget

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!

2. Prize Winner

Our lucky dip theme is perfect for this virtual prize winner selector! If you give out class prizes then this widget is your new best friend.

Load your deserving students into the random hero selector and let it spin!

random name selector - hero selector

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. Answer Questions

Do you have repeat offenders trying to ‘fly under the radar’ when it comes to class participation?

Why not make it funny by choosing the victim name selector! Choose your next victim by pressing spin!

Random Name Selector - Victim-Selector

4. Chance and Data

Use the random name selector 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. For more information on frequency tables, read our engaging Free Download: Chance and Data Maths Investigation – Roll Me a Six!

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 favorites.

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 organization 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.

Why not give some of these a try?

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:

Random Name Selector - Literacy Activity

7. Line Up

Use our random name selector 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’!

Random name selector - default selector

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.

When I was teaching, I used to swap the names on our classroom jobs chart once a week. I would draw each child’s name out of a hat and that’s how they would have their job delegated to them.

If only I’d known about this widget! I would have used it for sure.

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

Here are some of my favorites:

9. Class Presentations

If your students love show and tell as much as mine did, they’ll be clamoring to go first when it’s their day.

In fact, this went for any kind of presentation the class had to do! (They were a confident bunch!)

Help make the run sheet a little more civilized 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 ideas from our blog, 10 Ideas for Developing the Skills of Speaking and Listening.

Alternatively, take a look at some of our wonderful 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 I 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 am 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!

Random Name Selector Widget - Teacher Secret Helper

You can use this secret helper for anything your little heart desires – just make sure you’re willing to back your choice if someone questions your decisions.


If you haven’t already given this widget a spin, what are you waiting for?!

Check it out, along with our other widgets, and revolutionise your teaching!


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