The Hat is a really useful free piece of software that can be downloaded and used in any classroom. It is a very basic programme which performs a draw as if you had put a bunch of names into a hat and selected at random. The children find that it is the fairest and most fun way of picking people for jobs, presenting projects, getting free newspapers, etc. Not only can you draw out a name at a time but you can also draw out pairs of names. I have used this when doing projects in pairs and I’m sure I will find many more uses for it.
Another area where this comes in handy is for playing games like Bingo in Irish. For example we were doing the counties of Ireland last week and I quickly entered the names into the hat and picked the counties using the software. It plays a great drumroll before displaying each name and the children really enjoy it and they won’t complain about it being unfair.