May 27, 2013

Using 3x5 Cards in your Classroom

QUICK UPDATE: Before we get to the post, I'd like to ask you to do a quick favor for me. I recently decided to take the plunge and put this blog on Facebook and Twitter...which is completely nerve racking for a social media novice like myself (my Facebook-addicted husband was so proud though, you guys!). If you could take just a moment and like my page or follow my twitter account, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!


Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

"Sometimes the best solutions come in the simplest package." 
~ Someone Really Smart. Probably a Teacher. Yup, Definitely a Teacher.

While that quote might not be real, it is true. For me, my simple solution came in the form of 3x5 cards

Now, in the interest of full-disclosure, I should tell you that I have a huge slight obsession with them. 

Can you blame me?!

     ...but I also use them when I work out (that's a whole 'nother blog post!)...

     ...and they were a life-saver in my classroom.

Let me show you how: 

  • List one student's name on each card. When it's time to pick partners, shuffle the cards and quickly call out the pairs. 
  • Use the name cards to call on students during a lesson. You will avoid calling on the same person all the time and the students will pay attention since they never know when their name will be called.
  • No one is upset with you over who gets picked or who partners with whom. 
  • Use the name cards to keep track of who has turned in an item or done a certain task. Go through the cards and ask each student. Those that say 'no,' place in a pile off to the side. Instant list!
  • Get the colored ones if you have multiple classes that you teach. Write one class of kids on each color. 
  • Write different, simple rewards on each card. When the whole class- or just each student- earns a reward, let them choose a card from the stack to see what they've 'won.'
  • Create a reading caterpillar around the top of the room: As students finish reading a book, have them write their name and the name of the book on the card. They can decorate it and then tape it to the wall to create a long caterpillar that wraps around the room. Tell your class that when the caterpillar wraps the entire way around the room, they can earn a reward.
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Do obsess over love using 3x5 cards too? How have they come in handy for you?

Here's some more posts on YTA you might love:


  1. I love Index Cards but I do my random grouping and classroom management with those wide popsicle sticks. Works pretty much the same way though! :) Thank you for sharing. I love your site!

    Sra S

  2. I used 3 x 5 pads of plain paper which could be purchased in multipacks inexpensively. I learned to use them in college for research papers--they are thiner and take up less space and are lighter in weight yet easy to shuffle or manipulate. They are good for quick responses at the end of the period--easy to check for understanding.

  3. I write each student name on a card and take 4 each day and focus on those four students that day. It might be a pat on the back, an extra nice compliment, something to recognize them during the day. Next day, take the next four kids to focus on. I have 20 students, so I can go through the stack each week.

    1. THIS IS A FANTASTIC IDEA. I am implementing this tomorrow. Thank you!!

  4. I read someone's suggestion to write student names in the white space of playing cards. They shuffle effortlessly all year. I use them much as u described for calling on students. I can pick a card but say any name I want because the name doesnt show through. That student that has a special interest and wants desperately to answer the question on say, owls gets to shine. We have other reasons as teachers that a question, partner or activity is neccesary to get or avoid.
    Loved your ideas. I need a set of index card names also. Great to help a sub too.


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