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A number system

My class enjoy taking on responsibilities, and always loved the process of selecting helping hands at the start of each week. But I couldn't help noticing the disappointment on some faces when they realised they would have to wait a week before having a chance of becoming a helper again.

I now use a new technique so that all get a chance to share some daily classroom responsibilities. At the start of the day I ask them, within their groups, to select the person with, for example, the darkest hair (I vary this selection process).

They number this person one, then, going round the table clockwise, they number themselves two, three, and so on. From then on during the day, I can give them jobs allotted to their numbers (for example, all the number threes collect in the jotters).

This also works during the lesson. I am trying to develop my pupils' skills in discussion and debate. I had found that, left to their own devices, the children would argue and shout at one another. With the number system, I give them responsibilities such as: "Three report back, one lead the discussion, five take notes."

This means all the children can have responsibility - and discussion time becomes a more pleasant experience.

Heather Mcilroy is a primary 4 teacher at Bridge of Weir primary in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. Do you have any useful tips for new teachers? We pay pound;50 for all tips published (about 300 words). Send yours to

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