Since I started teaching, I’ve always wanted one of those “take a number” systems you see at the deli. I’d use it to form a line for asking questions, getting supplies, or more recently, taking turns at the interactive whiteboard. Each of these activities have threatened my sense of order and organization and would benefit from students taking a number.
This year, I decided to tackle this challenge with a similar take-a-number solution, and came up with “Magic Numbers” to help organize our interactive whiteboard time. Magic Numbers is a low-tech visual system that lets the students keep track of whose turn is next.
Here’s how it works in my classroom: On days when we use the interactive whiteboard, I distribute cards with numbers written on them. Or I’ll simply ask students to take the numbered cards from their corresponding numbered pockets, which are secured to a “Magic Numbers” poster board, and sit back at their seats to work on their artwork.
To begin the interactive whiteboard activity, the student holding No. 1 approaches the board, puts his/her card in the No. 1 pocket and proceeds to the interactive whiteboard activity. The student holding No. 2 sees the visual cue that s/he is next. To keep things moving smoothly, I have two students stand-up at the board — one student is working with the interactive whiteboard while the other student is “on deck”. This helps facilitate quick transitions onto the interactive whiteboard and minimize wasted time.
To make your own Magic Number system here are the supplies you need:
1. Cardboard or matte board (to which you attach the pockets)
2. Library book pockets (pockets can also be found at local teacher supply stores)
3. Clear packaging tape to secure pockets to board.
4. Two sets of laminated magic numbers (one to be attached to the library pocket and the other set attached to a card that can slide in and out of the pocket)