The #1 … (way to choose students)

Number One** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

Mickey Mouse built a house

Choosing students, whether individuals or groups – is something every teacher has to do. And you have to be fair about it. There is nothing that will kill a class quicker than a teacher being seen as “unfair”.

So what’s the best way?  Rock, Scissors, Paper is a standard.  Drawing lots / straws. Einie, Meenie, Minie, MoeSpinners. Dice. random number generators. Random name generators. Lots more.

However, I think beyond a doubt, these all lack one thing – deferral. The teacher still can be blamed. I go with “Mickey Mouse built a house” precisely because it seems to the students that another student has chosen them NOT the teacher.

Mickey Mouse

Here’s how it goes and what I mean.

1. Teach the chant.

2. Point to students / groups as you chant. When the question ends, “that” student/group must say a number.

3. The teacher then counts that number.  That student/group is chosen.

This works because no matter what number the student chooses, the teacher can direct the choosing. I’ve gotten so good, I can manipulate the count so I can almost chose any student I want – without the students thinking it was me doing the choosing. If a student says for example, “8” – hoping to chose someone in particular – just go the opposite way! Or any other way!

** note, if a student says an unusually large number – just count by 10s, 100s, 1,000s…

Here’s Devon from Super Simple Songs, demonstrating Rock, Scissors, Paper and how to teach this…

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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1 Response

  1. Devon Thagard says:

    Love the “Mickey Mouse” rhyme. Will use that for sure. My students always liked, “Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?” (used the same way as the Mickey Mouse rhyme). As a child we used to say. We also like to use “One potato, two potato” and Eeney Meeney.

    We don’t actually use this Rock, Scissors, Paper song for choosing… it’s just more a fingerplay song based on an activity children do in Japanese kindergartens. The kids always come up with really creative combinations.

    The best “Rock, Paper, Scissors” song for choosing by far is Genki English’s “Rock Paper Scissors”. So much fun.

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