Making “I Have, Who Has” A Little Easier For Your Students

I love “I Have, Who Has” – it feels like a game and is a fun way to review or apply material. The problem is that I don’t like to do ones that are simple repetition (“I have disappointed. Who has disappointed?”). I like the ones that require students to use some brain power to figure out when it’s their turn. The ones where they’re listening for a scenario or example instead of a specific word or phrase. That can be really hard for some of my students though, especially my EL learners, my lower readers, my students with anxiety, and the kiddos that struggle with auditory processing. So I did some thinking and figured out a way to make the activity a bit more accessible to my classes.

I Have, Who Has activity trick

After I give every student a card, I explain to them how the activity works. (Skip the next blurb if you already know!)

Every student has a card with an “I have” section and a “Who has” section. The person’s whose card  says “I have the first card!” goes first. Then everyone takes turns reading their cards, following along a specific order. There’s an “I have” that matches every “Who has”. It’s like dominoes all lined up that fall in a line. You keep going until someone’s card has “This is the last card!”

After everyone understands how the game goes, I give them each a post-it note to put on the “Who has” portion of their card. One reason for this is that it keeps them focused on the top “I have” part that they need to pay attention to – otherwise they get distracted by the whole card. The other reason for the post-it note is that it gives them a space for brainstorming key words they might be listening for that gives them the cue that it’s their turn. They read their “I have” and begin thinking about what they would hear, what they should be listening for that would tell them it’s their turn to go. For example, if it’s an activity on choices and consequences and their card says “I have…you will do better on the test.” then they might be listening for words like “test”, “study”, “questions”, or “help”. If the game is on positive thinking and their card says “I have…I don’t love homework but it helps me learn more” then they might brainstorm “homework”, “reading”, or “boring” as words they could listen for. If the topic is kindness and their “I have” is “ask them to play with you”, then they might write “recess”, “lonely”, and “new student” on their post-it. When it’s someone’s turn, they read their “I have” then peel off the sticky note and read the “Who has” section.

Spending a couple minutes up front doing this means the game goes smoother. And if the game goes smoother and there is less fumbling and long pauses, then the students get more out of the activity. Our students’ attention spans are short and I’ve found that long pauses can quickly lead to disengagement. They’re also more engaged to the responses around them with this prep because they’re less nervous about knowing when it’s their turn to go.

Last tiny tip for playing “I Have, Who Has”: Ask students to flip their cards over after they’ve had their turn. That way, if the game does get “stuck”, you can quickly see who hasn’t gone yet to check if they’re next.

What other little tricks or tips or hacks do you have for classroom lessons and making them accessible to all?

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i have, who has activity trick


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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
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