Word Link and Word Bounce

APOLOGY – not really ICT based as my usual content on this blog is but is very much about teaching and learning.

These are two quick and easy activities for developing the use of terminology, consolidating understanding, applying knowledge and making synoptic links that I use with my A’level group.


  • Increase familiarity with key terminology
  • Develop and consolidate understanding of the meaning of the key words
  • Develop the ability to apply understanding by showing that understand how the word and its meaning fits into the wider glacial topic
  • Can be used to help develop synoptic links and help students identify synoptic links more quickly if using vocabulary or named examples from across the spec.

The example below is Glaciation based (after the first few weeks of introducing the topic) but can be used at any time in the course and with any topic. It is good for checking as you go that students can see the links between the knowledge they are developing and is good for revision at the end of a topic.

It is really flexible – only involves writing words on board (so little prep needed) can be done with any topic – physical or human AND a variety of words from across topics to get the synoptic links going. (We are particularly focusing this year on trying to build student capacity to make links within and between topics throughout the A Level course). 

First you need a set of words – either on the whiteboard or given to students – for example..

Example word list

– can just be done in pairs or teacher led asking individuals.

How does it work:
(i) give students any two words and they have to make a sentence which links them
e.g.   Accumulation and Equilibrium   – e.g. “when accumulation and ablation are the
same, equilibrium occurs.”


(ii) Students have to choose two words that they are going to make a link between in a sentence.

done in a team – could do as a whole class or split into groups depending on class size (similar concept to Word link – but have to keep the chain of words going ‘bouncing’ between students….)

How does it work: Students to make a sentence with any two words on the board (so starts like work link) – e.g.

Student 1 “A cold based glacier is also known as a Polar Glacier.”

The next person has to start their sentence with the second word that the student before used so would start with Polar Glacier and link to another word – e.g.

Student 2 Polar Glaciers move by internal deformation

Next students has to start with internal deformation e.g.

Student 3Internal deformation includes processes such as Laminar flow

Student 4 “Laminar Flow does not occur in Temperate Glaciers”

Student 5 “Temperate glaciers are found at high altitude and are also known as warm based glaciers”


The challenge for the student becomes how to then link to another aspect – so the next student could change the focus from types of glacier to mass balance by then saying “Warm based glaciers will be in retreat if there is a negative mass balance“.

So basically students are ‘bouncing’ a word to the next in team to make a link between and build a sentence with – I have found that this can become very competitive as the aim is to keeping going from person to person for as long as possible without stopping – you could do it where they can use the same word twice in a different context – OR to make it harder – give them a copy of the key words and they have to tick them off as they use them so those words can’t be used again.




Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016!

Rev SupportLast year, whilst still in my previous role as Lead Practitioner I wrote / compiled a document called “Revision Strategies in and beyond the classroom”. The aim was to bring together ideas for teachers with regards to planning activities for both within the classroom as well as those which could be used to support students with revision outside of the classroom. Whilst my role in school has changed, Teaching and Learning remains a central responsibility and I wanted to return to this document as we enter the new exam/revision season.

The hope was that the document could continue to be a live one which could be updated with suggestions of strategies that have worked well for practising teachers which they would be happy to share with others.

Lots of people have kindly made suggestions for good ideas to add and please do send feedback or other ideas of good practice which could be added to share with the education community. Here is Version 3 of the document, updated for the 2016 exam/revision season. As well as new revision ideas in Part 1, other updates, amongst others, include the use of Kahoot as a interactive response system and the use of Schoology as a way of providing an online course with revision materials for students.

You can download Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016! here.

As with previous versions I would like to thank those people that have contributed, both from St Ivo and from the Twittersphere!

Please do email any feedback or suggestions to me (contact at side of blog). Ideas can also be sent via twitter to @RobGeog.

Random Name Generators

Encouraging all students to participate in lessons in order to elicit evidence of their achievement can be difficult. One method which involves a no-hands up policy is to employ the use of a random generator to randomly select students. Some studies have shown that this is beneficial in that it helps keep the attention of students as they are unsure whether they might be next and are more likely to maintain engagement in the lesson. There are various methods of doing this from the use of names in a hat or on ‘lolipop’ sticks drawn from a jar through to computer based solutions. The benefit of many of the ICT solutions is that they are very visual, names can easily be saved and updated and as many lessons involve the use of computer based presentations they can easily be integrated within the lesson.

Below is a collection of some of the different random name generators available, divided into 3 categories:

1. SMART notebook – there is a generator tool called the “random word chooser” which can be found in the Lesson Activity Toolkit.
2. Internet based options – a variety or web based, or downloadable tools
3. iPad based options – with the increased use of tablets in the classroom, there are various apps which allow you to select students at random, some of these are more sophisticated with options for recording formative assessment as well.



This random selector is a flash generator embedded into a SMART notebook page – so easily saved for each of your classes – and can easily be embedded as part of your lesson if using a SMART notebook file.

For staff at St Ivo a copy of this has been saved in Projects_Staff_IWB Resources_Random name and group sorters. For other colleagues who might be reading this – you can search for the “random word chooser” of the Lesson Activity Toolkit.

(similar group sorter templates are available in the same folder on projects).



Random Nameshttp://primaryschoolict.com/random-name-selector/

You can save the names as a URL (so could be saved as a shortcut in your projects area or on the desktop.

Simple and effective.


Random Name Word PickerClass Tools Random Name / Word Picker This can be either as a fruit machine or as a typewriter. Names can be saved. A simple but effective internet based option. This is widely used! Could also be used to good effect with key terms – students given a key term at random to define!



Instant Classroom (Superteachertools.net)Instant Classroom http://www.superteachertools.com/instantclassroom/random-name-generator.php

(this will also act as a ‘group’ sorting tool and allow you to show names on a desk for swapping round seating for different activities).

For this you create a group name and then add a password and add your email address.



Instant Fruit Machine – Random Selector

http://www.teach-ict.com/tools/picker3.php Fruit MachineThis one acts a bit like a fruit machine – unlike the ones above it doesn’t allow you to save names – however it will allow you to simply copy and paste names in very quickly if you have a list in word format.





No Hands – Random Student Selector http://www.ehyde.com/No%20Hands/

This requires a download to your computer and it can take some time setting up your class lists. However these only need doing once!. You have to install this one on your computer and then Read the ‘Read Me’ File in order to follow instructions of what to do.No Hands

The benefit of this is it is quite discrete and will sit nicely in your toolbar for whenever you need it in a lesson so it enables you to use it as a randomiser for picking students whenever you want.


Random Name Generator (Excel)


ExcelVery user friendly as is in Excel – all groups can be created and saved in one spreadsheet – if you name each column with the name of the group – this will then appear in the drop down box for you to choose from!

(You do need to ensure macros are enabled for this to work).


Random Student Picker Tools

http://www.barryfunenglish.com/toolsRandom FunRandom Fun Dart

This option includes a random student picker and a dartboard selector tool which can be used in a similar way. You need to sign in to access this tool – it can be accessed from the free trial section – so you do not have to sign up to a paid account.



OPTIONS ON THE iPAD (then use Airserver to project on the IWB)

Name SelectorName Selector Lite https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/random-name-selector-lite/id589498393?mt=8 (Free) (there is also a paid for version which is add free for £1.99)

Simple and easy to use and you can easily turn students within a group off and on – for exactly which students you want to be included in any particular selection group.


PickSticksStick Pick

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/stick-pick/id436682059?mt=8 £1.99

Random selection of a student’s name from a virtual can of lolipop sticks. Each stick is linked to a mode and level of difficulty for each learner (which can be set and saved) – every time a student stick is drawn – you are shown over a dozen Bloom’s taxonomy related questions – each will be at the individual ability level set for that student.


iLeap Pick a studentiLeap Pick a student https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ileap-pick-a-student/id549617029?mt=8 (Free)

This app enables staff to pick students at random and supports multiple classes as well having a number of different options for choosing students. There is a turn based selection if wanted so that every student will be picked before any one will be selected again.


Pick me upPick Me (£1.49) https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/pick-me!/id444045099?mt=8

This tool will also help track formative assessment – will randomly pull student names and once question has been answered – you can record whether or not it was correct using the thumbs up or incorrect using thumbs down – data can be saved and sent to your email address.