How To Use Student Numbers In The Classroom

How many times have I called on Monica today?

Did Tyler participate in language arts? 

Did everyone get a chance to share their ideas?

Who are my helpers?

How am I going to group my students for this activity?

Do any of these questions ever run through your head? As a classroom teacher, we are always trying to be fair to our students. However, sometimes without realizing it, we end up calling on the same students ALL. THE. TIME. Or we group students together the same way without realizing it. The answer to all these questions is just around the corner....

classroom student number sticks
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Since the first day I stepped into my very own classroom, I have used a stick system of some sort. My first year teaching started with writing each student's name on a Popsicle stick with a black Sharpie marker.

Then, it evolved into writing names on tongue depressors because I could write the names larger! HA!

However, now I think I have mastered the number sticks so I don't have to a make a new set every year. I finally decided to make number sticks I could use over and over. This is when I came up with the idea to use some cute clip art and label them with numbers to reuse each year.

One of the most important keys to using the number system in your classroom is BALANCE.  On the first day of school, each of my students is assigned a number. This is their number for the entire year! It's printed on their supply box so they are able to refer to it often.

Now, before you throw rocks at me for assigning kids a number....hear me out. I use the number system purely as an organization tool. My students DO NOT write their numbers on their papers or on any assignment that is turned in to me. All my students are individuals who need to be validated. They are not numbers. However, because I value my students as individuals SO much, the number system helps me to make sure I am checking in on them regularly. It also helps me to mix up groups for collaborative learning time.

There are so many ways to use the number system in your classroom. Here are a few ways I have used the numbers:

  • student cubbies
  • backpack hooks
  • supply bins
  • folders
  • class sets of books

Want to give the number system a try in your classroom?

Here is what you need to get started:

classroom student number sticks

Cordless Glue Gun (Yes, it's cordless and you will LOVE it! Another game changer.)

1. Print out the version on numbers you prefer. I have included boys and girls together (as seen above), as well as boys and girls separate. 

2. Laminate the numbers and cut them out.

3. Using a glue gun, adhere each number to a tongue depressor. 

TA-DAH! You are all set and ready to go! Enjoy!


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