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5 Ways to Choose Partners in the Classroom

Choosing a partner can be a daunting task for teachers and students alike.  A majority of the time I strategically choose partners for my students {depending on the task at hand} and there are times that I give them the a free choice option.  Sometimes, however, it is just easier if it is chosen at random.

1.  Laura Candler recommends The Hat for randomly choosing randomly choosing partners for students.  You can download and install it for free (only on PCs though).  Fun!

2. How creative is this idea from The Teacher Next Door?  She colors shapes on popsicle sticks.  The students grab one from the cup and match their stick up to a classmate to find their partner.  You could do this across 3 or 4 sticks, as well, to create larger groups.

3. Love this idea from Flamingo Fabulous!  It's a partner wheel.  Just line the wheels up and boom! You have a set of partners.

4. When I was student teaching in 3rd grade, my cooperating teacher would use clock partners.  It gives student's ownership over their own partners, as well as variety.  Once the initial creation of the clock is complete, it makes for a simple and quick pairing technique.

Students receive a blank clock template and put their name at the top.  Then they walk around the room, looking for partners for each time.  When they find a partner, they MUST put each other's names on the same time (this is where it gets a tad tricky).  For example, Caroline put Jacob down as her 1:00 partner.  Jacob must then put Caroline's name down for his 1:00 partner.

The completed clock can then be stored in a folder, sheet protector, etc.  and can be pulled out whenever the teacher asks.  At that point, the teacher would say "get with your 4:00 partner."  Easy-peasy!  Grab your free copy here!

5. Another great way is for students to "pick their partner."  Each student chooses a card and then needs to find their matching pair!  Example: We go together like cookies and milk.  Grab your copy here!
What are some ways that you have created partnerships or groups in your classroom?  I'd love to hear more!


  1. Love this- I just blogged about this the other day! I love using the partner cards where students find their match! They love it!

    On a daily basis, I do something similar to the clock partners (we use colors instead) and the students have the same reading partner, writing buddy, and math partner the entire year so that I can group them strategically. The other options I have are boy/girl partners, boy-boy/girl-girl, high ability with lower ability, or same ability, etc (my kiddos don't know that's how I have them grouped, except for the subject partners). That way I know how I'm grouping students when I tell them what "color" buddy to find.

    I'm not quite ready to jump into school mode yet... still trying to soak up every last minute before I dive back in! :-)

    Real Teachers Learn

  2. Love these ideas - I've used the Hat, and now it has some options with it that are nice. Thanks for sharing the other ideas. I like Real Teachers Learn idea Bout colors -- that might be easier for younger kids. Sara

  3. Hi Sara! I am moving to fifth grade, so I am really excited to find some new blogs to follow. Loved all the options for choosing partners. Thanks for sharing!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade


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