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Teacher: Dustyn who teaches at Toyon Middle School in Valley Springs, CA. Dustyn can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Taking Roll

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To quickly take roll, while personalizing it and at the same time, gearing students up to think about college.

Suggested Grade Level: 6-8

Materials Needed: Laminated cards with a college name written on each one

Taking Roll

While some teachers assign a student number based on the alphabetized class roster so that students sit in order for roll call, I chose to try something more personal, relaxed, and motivating. I teach middle school students who come to our school from any one of five elementary schools. To help them mingle without forcing them to sit in pre-determined alpha-based roll lines, I ask them to form groups that meet all of the following criteria (which gives them some control):

1. group must have 5-7 members
2. must be co-ed
3. must include students from at least 3 different previous elementary schools
4. students must be included
5. time limit - I announce that I'll count backwards from 25 and they are to see how quickly they can meet all criteria and sit down to show they're done. This means they will be with people they know well and people they may not know at all!

I then ask them if they are willing to try this as a roll call arrangement and that if they are in their circles (circles sit where they choose) and all dressed and all stretching when I arrive, they earn a point for their team. Upon agreement they draw for team names which are college names and I explain that we are starting to think about college, etc.

Next day they are told they can earn a team point if they find out their college colors, mascot, and location. Team point management is very easy and I type up a roster divided into their college groups. My students are in circles each day when I come out, usually stretching, and get on one another's case if a member is a non-suit (since that costs them a point). They are not nearly as restless as the alpha-roll call lines I had last year, and I get a more personal interaction with them as I walk to each group. They feel more personalized as well.

Next week they will be coming up with their own college cheer and soon I'll bring up Fridays as College-dress day, meaning they are allowed to wear any college T-shirt instead of their usual PE shirt. When I need groups to form for an activity, it is easy to call their colleges and they are automatically with their friends, so they are comfortable with that.

I have achieved quick, efficient roll call, student responsibility, college motivation, and personalized interaction with this plan.

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Posted on PEC: 10/9/2001 and has received 141 votes.

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