There are a lot of virtual random wheel spinners you can choose from. But, the best I have found is Wheel of Names. It is easy to use, highly customizable, and very engaging for students. One of the best things about this random picker wheel is that there are so many uses for it in the classroom. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use Wheel of Names with students.
How to Use Wheel of Names
Before getting into all the fun and creative ways to use Wheel of Names in the classroom, you need to know how to set it up and make use of all its features. You can learn how to use Wheel of Names by watching this video tutorial I created just for teachers.
One of my favorite customization features is the “add images” feature. Most online spinner makers only allow you to add words and text to the wheel. But, Wheel of Names allows you to add images too. This feature is especially great for younger grade levels and ESL students.
Ways to Use Wheel of Names
When most teachers think of using a digital spinner for the classroom, they think of using it to randomly select student names. But, there are so many more uses for a wheel spinner in the classroom! There is an endless number of games and activities that you can use a virtual spinner with whether you are teaching virtually or in person.
1. Random Picker Wheel
While using Wheel of Names as a random name picker is the most obvious go-to activity, the virtual spinner can also be used for randomly selecting a variety of things. Consider using a spinner to randomly select:
- the numbers you will use to create a math problem,
- guided reading questions, or
- the questions for a get to know you game.
Using a random name generator wheel is also great for hybrid learning. You can create two wheels: one with your in-person students and the other with your virtual students. Then, go back and forth between the two wheels. This ensures that you are paying attention to both sets of students and calling on an equal number of students from each learning environment.
2. Digital Spinner for Writing
Speaking of using a virtual spinner to randomly select things, one of the ways to use Wheel of Names in the classroom is to randomly select your writing prompts.
Fill the spinner with a variety of writing prompts. Then, spin the spinner each day to determine what students will write about in their journals.
If you are looking for writing prompts to fill the spinner with, be sure to check out my writing prompts bundle. It comes with over 140 writing prompts that you can use throughout the school year.
In addition to using Wheel of Names to randomly select my writing prompts, I also like to use Wheel of Names for descriptive writing activities. Earlier in this post, I mentioned that you can fill Wheel of Names with images instead of text (check out the video tutorial at the beginning of this post to learn how). Fill your spinner with images of places and objects. Then, have your students write a detailed paragraph about the image that is spun.
3. Brain Break Activities
Wheel of Names is a fun tool to use for your brain breaks. Fill the wheel with a variety of exercises such as jumping jacks and running in place. Spin the spinner to see which exercise students will do.
Then, roll a die to see how many of that exercise students will perform. Repeat the activity as many times as needed to help your students feel more refreshed and ready to focus.
4. Wheel of Names Games
Wheel of Names also makes a fun review game at the end of a unit or before state testing. To do this, I fill the digital spinner with words and phrases related to a specific topic. For example, if the class is reviewing the Revolutionary War, I would fill the spinner with words such as George Washington, Continental Army, Saratoga, etc.
Then, for the word or phrase that is spun, students must write as many facts about it as possible in a given amount of time. When time is up, students share their list of facts to review what they know about the topic. The student that generated the most facts, receives a point.
These are just a few ways to use Wheel of Names in the classroom to engage students and make learning fun. For my complete list of Wheel of Names games, be sure to check out this video. It includes several other games and activities that are not described in this post.
Do you know of any other fun ways to use Wheel of Names? Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know!