This is an engaging cooperative learning structure where two students work together on a learning task. Students enjoy this alternative to working alone and it will truly help them ‘flourish' in their learning!
There are many benefits to using partners in your classroom. According to the research by Johnson & Johnson (1989), cooperation, compared with competitive and individualist efforts, usually results in:
1) higher achievement
2) more caring, supportive, and committed relationships
3) better social skills
There are so many opportunities to use partners throughout your day and throughout your curriculum. Here are a few successful ways I have used partners with my students.
~ Reading ~
Choral – both partners read together
Rally Robin – partners take turns reading a sentence or a page
Echo – one partner reads, the other partner echos the same passage
~ Writing ~
Research – partners research a topic and fill out one graphic organizer
Editing- Using a checklist or rubric, partners work together to edit and revise each other's writing
~ Math ~
Checking work: this worked really well in my classroom! Early finishers would go to the rug area and compare their answers. If their answers were different, they had to work together to solve the problem again to determine to correct answer.
Flash Cards: student can quiz each other using math flash cards
Fast as a Flash: This has proven to be the most effective activity I have ever used with my students to help them master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Click on any of the pictures to learn more about increasing your students' math fact fluency, and not have any papers to grade!
Partner Quiz: Partners Quiz (PQ) is a great way to add an interactive component to almost any lesson! Just click on the picture to see this in action.
Turn & Talk: This is perhaps the easiest way to use partners in your classroom. Upon your signal, students (sitting next to each other) turn and discuss the topic at hand.
Research done by Johnson & Johnson (1989) found that students who had an opportunity to talk about what they were learning – every. ten. minutes retained more information than students sitting silently listening.
Games: Games provide a great opportunity for partners to learn academic content while being engaged in a game. For more ideas on partner games click on the picture below:
Seating: when I arrange my students desks, I think about partnerships. Do these students get along? Are these two students relativity close in their academic levels?
Clock Buddies: This is by far my students favorite method to determine partners! Probably because they had the ‘power of choice'. My friend Jennifer at Everything Just So has a great Freebie you can use to create clock buddies! Just click on the picture.
Name Sticks: If you have a set of name sticks, you can draw two out at a time to create the partnerships.
Name Magnets: If you have a set of names on magnets – just randomly pick two names and place them on your whiteboard.
Teacher's Choice: I create the partnerships for some longterm learning projects. I just want to be sure that the partnerships are well-suited to the task.
I hope I have inspired you to use (or continue to use) partners in your classroom!
How have you used partners in your classroom?