Pick Me Sticks!
We all have them. Those two or three littles that ALWAYS raise their hands to answer every question or volunteer for every opportunity. It's easy to get distracted by those eagerly waving hands and the "oooh oooh oooh" noises! We also all know that everyone needs a turn to participate in kindergarten for so many reasons. My favorite way to randomly call on students is to use "PICK ME!" sticks in my classroom.
To make your own, you need: popsicle sticks, a plastic container with a lid, tall enough to hold your sticks (I used a 16 oz peanut butter jar), some spray paint, painters tape, clear packing tape, and a permanent marker.
Remove the label from the container and clean the container very well. If you would like to use my label, you can print it here for free. Remember this was made to fit the container shown above, so it may not fit exactly if you're using a different size of container. Attach the label to the container using clear packing tape. Your container is done!
To make the sticks, lay the amount you need for your class side by side, across a piece of cardboard (or inside a box lid...my favorite way to spray paint!) Place a long piece of painters tape across all of the sticks like this:
Spray paint one end of the sticks, being careful not to let paint spray down to the other end. Let the sticks dry, then turn them over and do the same thing, Let the second side dry, and you will have sticks that are plain on one end, colored on the other.
Label each stick with a child's name. You can write directly on the stick if you'd like. If you want to reuse them each year (because who wants to re-invent the wheel each year!), place a small paper label on the stick and then write the name on that. You can replace the label each year, instead of making new sticks. I always throw a good listener or two in the jar to keep the littles on their toes!
Place your sticks in the jar, colored end up. When you need to call on a student, pull out a stick and read the name. Place the stick back in the jar, colored end down. When all the sticks are colored end down, you know everyone's had a turn. It's like magic! They wait so intently to see whose name is on the stick. And there's no more "I never get a turn!" because they all know that they will get a turn.
How do you randomly choose students in your classroom? Let me know in the comments section.