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One of the age old challenges, particularly for PE teachers, is maintaining a fair and equitable approach to group / team selection. Do you make your own groups / teams and risk making the game or activity unbalanced? Do you leave it up to your students to decide, which from my experience generally ends up in chaos? Or do you select team captains who quickly whip up the best athletes, leaving the non competitive / uninterested students selected last and taking a hit to their self confidence?

Thinking there must be an iPad app to solve my problem, I gave Team Shake a go. What sets Team Shake apart from just a random name selector, is its ability to rank a name you have imported from weakest to strongest. You can also label the players gender. This ensures that when you select how many teams you would like to make, Team Shake creates fair and balanced teams based on gender and skill level.

I create two lists per class, one for theory lessons and one for practical lessons. During a practical lesson, I allow my students to get warmed up. While this is happening I take the roll and transfer that to my Team Shake app. Then it’s simply a process of selecting how many teams I want, then hitting “shake ’em up”. After a brief introduction of the lesson I tell them to check the iPad and get into your teams.

This creates quite a stir, with students rushing to the iPad to see who they are teamed with. Occasionally students will try to negotiate a “re shake” with me if they feel the teams are not fair. For a price of 20 press ups I will usually grant their “re shake”, which also adds a little fun to the session.

I use the app multiple times in a day a feel it is a great way to go about group and team selection. Team Shake would work well in any subject, even if you just wanted to create a seating plan for the lesson!