There are lots of times throughout each school day when you’d like students to choose a partner for any given reason – a quick discussion, a project, or sometimes, simply who to sit with during the work cycle. While often we have children pick someone on the fly, sometimes it’s nice to have a pre-determined partner for each student. One strategy that my Upper Elementary co-teachers and I have used successfully for choosing partners in the classroom is called “clock partners.”
The idea is simple – each child has a clock face printed on a piece of paper. For each hour, students have a different child’s name, who will be their partner when that “hour” is called. So for example, when you need students paired up for a science experiment, simply ask, “Please find your 7:00 partner.” They check their clock partner sheets (unless they have their partners memorized) and find their partners. When a specific hour is called, there is no need for negotiating or decision making – the children find their pre-chosen buddies and can get down to business!