Enter the "participation card" - a fancy name for a note card that I have students create on the first or second day of school. Here is how to make them:
1. Buy a set of colorful note cards. Any note cards will work, but you will keep these the entire school year and colored or patterned note cards will help you keep your sanity.
2. Have students fill out the note cards with the following information...
FRONT OF CARD: First and Last Name in large print
BACK OF CARD: Spanish Name (if you use them in class) and a doodle of something that the student likes or is representative of them.
3. Collect the cards and laminate them (they will last longer and reduce graffiti temptations). Keep them grouped by class period.
4. Use Them!
- Learn your students names by passing the cards out to the appropriate students each day at the beginning of class until you get it right. Use the doodles to help jog your memory.
- Flip through the cards and call on whatever student's card comes up for quick responses. This ensures that you call on all students equally, not just the eager beavers.
- Sort students into random teams quickly. Just shuffle the deck of cards are create piles to determine teams. If you have patterned or colored cards, you can also sort in that way for more permanent groups or teams.
- Place them on the desks of students when you reassign seats or take them out of the classroom and need to assign seats in an auditorium, computer lab, etc.
- Give them to a student to help them call on students while leading an activity (I do this often when they review their virtual flashcards) so that you can help someone else, take attendance, answer the phone, etc.
- Shuffle the deck and use them to determine random presentation order. Nobody wants to go first, but you can always blame the cards (I blame the cards a lot) and say "Sorry, it's random".
- Keep track of who has left the room to use the bathroom, get a drink, or go to the nurse by having them place their card in a pocket chart or other specified place when they leave the room. You can also keep track of who was absent and needs make up work by placing their cards on your desk to remind you when you get to school the next day.
However you plan to use them, you will be surprised at how simple note cards can improve your classroom management, help things run more smoothly, and save time!
Can you think of any other ways these could be used? Leave me a comment below!