Roll Call Activity – Teaching Strategy

Johnson? here

Scribbs? present

Buehler?  Beuhler? Anyone?

Roll call. Most days I do it silently, using my clipboard or directly on my computer just to avoid the time loss/opportunity for students to show off. However, I recently went to a workshop that uses roll call as an opportunity to review content. It was actually kind of fun and I think I might use it occasionally, depending on how my students take to it. The presenter recommended only doing this twice a week, maximum.

Roll Call Activity

  1. Teacher chooses a topic with multiple/unlimited answers (at least one possible answer for each student in your class). Teacher writes down a possible answer on a card, post it note, scrap of paper.
  2. Teacher greets the class, and tells them the topic of the Roll Call Activity and that whoever guesses the answer she/he has written down will receive (five extra credit points, be able to line up first, choose his or her own seat for the day, etc)
  3. Teacher calls roll and and students give an answer to let the teacher know that they are there.

Example: Good morning! When I call your name for roll today, answer with the name of a US President. If you guess the one I have written on this card, you can sit in the reading corner chair today during class.


Barack Obama

Good. Scribbs?

I don’t know

I’ll come back to you (teacher turns away from Scribbs so that Scribbs can get some help🙂 ) Buehler?

George Washington

Nice. Scribbs?

Andrew Jackson

You get the idea. He had us make a list of ways we could use this in our classroom, and here are mine:

  • On the first day of class – give me an adjective to describe history
  • US Presidents
  • States, or States and capitals
  • Tell me something about ___________ (Egypt, China, Reconstruction in the United States, Westward Expansion)
  • Give me a primary source
  • one amendment to the constitution and what right it guaranteed
  • Name any polytheistic god or goddess from a culture we’ve studied
  • Tell me one thing we’ve learned this week.

The lists could go on and on. I’m filing this one under things to try. I think I would use it instead of a written warm up or when I was going to do brainstorming about a topic.

1 comment so far

  1. Eve Heaton on

    Love it! I was thinking this might be a good way to pre-assess student knowledge before starting a unit. Example – Tell me what you know about weather? I will definitely use this next year. Thank you for posting!

    Eve Heaton

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