Monday, October 5, 2015
Partner Work: Step One Choosing Partners
I plan to share several partner writing activities this month for my Friday Freebies. Before I do that I thought I had better explain how I set up partners in my room.
Although my students beg me to let them choose their own partners, I only do that occasionally. I expect my students to work with any other student in the room. I find that if they choose their friends, they don't stay on task. (I'm pretty sure if you have been in the classroom for more than five minutes you already know this.)
I have a jar with craft sticks I use to call on students in class discussion. I use the same jar with craft sticks to create random partners and small groups. I have even used it to create seating charts by randomly drawing and then adjusting for students with hearing or vision problems.
"The sticks choose." This takes me out of the mix. I am not passing judgment on who will work well together. They have an equal chance to work with their best friend or their worst enemy. They know I will not switch, because they are partnered with someone they "can't" work with.