Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Working with Partners... and a Partner Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Do you have your students work with partners? I recently came across a blog post ... actually a guest post... with some great insights and ideas that I'd like to share with you.

The post is at Rachel Lynette's Minds in Bloom. The guest post was written by Brandi of My Teacher Friend.  Brandi lists eight reasons for using partners in your classroom, with a tip to accompany each one.  The reasons range from getting kids up and moving to providing a safer and more comfortable format for sharing for your introverts. All good reasons, all sound tips!

One of my favorites from Brandi's list is one that I frequently used with my own first grade classes. After a few moments of conversation, try asking a child to tell the class what his or her partner has said. When you begin to add that format to your repertoire of "ways to share" in your class, you'll see a noticeable improvement in listening skills! Check out Brandi's complete post here.

How do you assign partners in your class? I favor a variety of options, which I think allows for a greater exchange of ideas and building of community. Sometimes partners work best when academic levels are similar, but on occasion it's helpful for a stronger student to be a coach/encourager. Sometimes personality is the basis for the partnering. Some days you just can't deal with two bossies going head to head, right? Nobody wins there - literally. ;)

There are a lot of cute ways to make up your partner teams - check out Brandi's "Cookies and Milk Partners" freebie on the post mentioned above. She also has more info on options like N-S-E-W partners and clock partners.

One way to save a bit of class time getting your students matched up with their partners is to make and post lists. I would recommend changing the lists every two weeks or so. Having a written list will also give you a quick reference as to who has recently worked together.  Examples of lists: Math Buddies, Writing Buddies, Chat Buddies, and Rug Buddies. The last is popular with the kiddos, probably because of the silly renames that they give it ... okay, I make up the silly renames, too!  Bug Buddies, Bug Bubbies, Bug Ruddies, Hug Buddies ... you get the idea. Rug Buddies sit next to each other on the rug for Morning Message, Shared Reading, Read Aloud, etc.  They make it so easy to have an instant talk-and-turn or think-pair-share.

What do you do with your extra student if your number is odd? That child often feels like the extra, the "odd man out". you can make it a sought-after honor instead by calling your group of three the Lucky Triple. Partners actually beg to have the extra child added to their partnership!

I love using and creating games for partners to use! I'm giving away three sets of these second grade games at my Teachers Notebook shop this week. In each of these ten games, each partner gets one of these ten frame boards.

Then the partners take turns evaluating numerical expressions like the ones you see on these cards.
The first partner to fill his or her ten frame wins. Hurry on over to enter - the giveaway ends on Friday, 3/7.
I also just posted a new set of spring partner games for first grade addition strategies. Your students will work with a partner to practice adding doubles, doubles plus one, doubles minus one, and doubles minus two. This print-and-play set is half price this week  - only $1.50!  See it at my TN shop.
Everybody is ready to be back out on the playground again this spring, more so than ever after this crazy winter! Put a little spring in your step with this springtime freebie partner game:  Making Ten On the Playground! Partners take turns rolling one die, finding the number that must be added to it to total ten, and marking that number on their side of the board.
Click on the picture to download your copy!
Thanks so much for stopping by Teaching Blog Roundup today. I'd love it if you'd also drop by my blog for a visit!
Happy Teaching!

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