Pairing Students

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Cheyenne, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Cheyenne

    Cheyenne Companion

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    Jul 13, 2009

    The thread on assigning seats got me to wondering...how do you decide which students to "pair" up for cooperative learning type activities. Do you put a strong ability student with a weaker one, or do you put students of equal ability together? I have heard pros and cons to both strategies.
     
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  3. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I usually pair my students based on ability (& other things like cooperation, etc.) but not by opposite or equal abilities. For example: If I have a really strong student, I'll pair him/her up with a student who is "almost there". If I have a weaker student, I'll pair him/her with a middle range student who can help explain or offer a different way of looking at things. I change up my partners about every month, so students who were the "lower" of the pair may be working with someone who will be "lower" than them. (I hope that makes sense).

    It also depends on what I want them to do together. I assign different partners for reading and writing, since the students' needs are different.
     
  4. sundrop

    sundrop Cohort

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I rank the students ability-wise in order from highest to lowest. Then I split this list in half. I take the top two students from each half and work my way down.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I use different pairing strategies...sometimes I want a strong student paired with someone who might struggle. At other times I might pair two strugglers and have my 'push in' resource teacher sit with them. Sometimes we just count off and get random partners or I let the kids pick a 'dream partner'...it all depends on the activity, whether it is new or reinforcement content...
     
  6. glen

    glen Companion

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I do the same thing, depending upon the activity. Many times, even in the middle school grades, I'll use clock buddies. That way, they aren't always working with the same person, the same person isn't always left out, and it has a very 'fair' feel about it. I never get arguments about who is paired together when I go this route.
     
  7. fast chalk

    fast chalk Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Glen,
    I´m sorry- What´s the meaning of clock buddies???
    Cause I´ve trouble w pairing my second graders lately.
    Thanks
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Clock partners is a way to group kids- You give them a clock graphic organizer:
    http://www.mlpp-msl.net/training/k-3/attachments/mod04/k3mod04attach4-1.pdf
    And have the kids 'schedule' partners for different times on the clock..I have used this before and only do odds or even times as 12 partners is kind of unwieldy for me...So when it's time for a partner activity, I'll have the kids take out their clocks and I'll pick a 'time'..they look at that scheduled appt on their clocks and that's who their partner will be...For example I'll say 'Get with your 6 o-clock partners' and they'll check on their graphic to see who that is...(it has nothing to do with what time it really is in the day!!:eek:)
    You could also do 'baseball partners'...graphic of baseball diamond- they each get 4 partners (the 3 bases and home)
     
  9. fast chalk

    fast chalk Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    CZACZA,
    THANK YOU, never heard it before, I´ve learnt something new!!
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Here's a link to a discussion about how different teachers use 'clock partners':

    http://sciencenotebooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/clock-partners.html

    I like the idea of filling in 2 of the spots for students so the teacher has control over those pairings- could pair a strong with a struggler, or homogeneous, etc and then remember those 'times' for when you want a specific kind of partnering...
     
  11. glen

    glen Companion

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I've manipulated the clock buddies, too, giving the students some parameters-certain number of boys and girls, can't have the same person more than once, etc. I'll usually only use clock buddies for worksheets, basic assignments, partner reading and the like. If we're doing a more involved activity, I'll balance groups based on strengths and who worked together previously. My classes are very small so it's easier to manipulate groups and remember/keep track of previous pairings.
     
  12. Cheyenne

    Cheyenne Companion

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    Jul 13, 2009

    http://www.sde.com/Downloads/TeacherResources/di/clock_partners.pdf

    This is a link to another template for the kids to sign when making up your clock partners. I am with Czacza, in that it can get overwhelming in trying to use all of them.

    I also have made up cards where one half the cards will have state capitals and the other half have the states. Students have to find their partner. Also, I have cards that are able to be matched up in a variety of ways: the cards are different colors, so they can be matched by color groups; in opposite corners of the cards there are different symbols, such as geometry shapes, numbers, letters, objects, etc. When making these cards, you can program them to accommodate the number of groups you want. For example, you could use 5 different colors if you wanted to have five groups or you could have six different geometry shapes if you wanted six groups.

    Another way to form groups which is really quick is to use a deck of cards. It is easy to program its use for the number of groups you want. Perhaps my easiest way of forming random groups is to have a container with small clothespins on which each child's name is written. Names can be quickly drawn to form groups and the used clothes pins can be attached to the edge of the container which is especially useful when calling on students for discussions or game participation or for oral class reading. :)
     

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