Friday, August 31, 2012


Today we selected  partners.  This is pretty important because partners are long-term partners.  Except for the case of total discontent, these partners will remain the same until the mid-term. 

These partners will work together during  each day's partner reading so we have like partners together.  After the mini-lesson students have 15 minutes of quiet independent reading when students are reading books from their own book buddy.  These books have been carefully selected - mostly books at their independent level to practice, with a couple at their instructional level to challenge.  During that time they are putting sticky notes in their books of places that they want to share with their partners - funny parts, interesting parts, tricky parts...  When the timer goes off, the students know that they have an assigned place at a table or on the floor to meet with their partner.  There they sit side by side -  knee-to-knee and shoulder-to-shoulder and share what they have been reading.  They might also read together.  They have learned how to decide who goes first (rock, paper, scissors is a favorite and so is the mature, "Why don't you go first today?") and how to put the book in between.  It is important that we choose partners that are compatible but also who are close to the same reading level.

These partners are also Math partners - same partners, same place to sit.  This is the person that they will play most of the Math games with, so it is important to make sure we match children, not only who read at a similar level but who also have Math skills at a similar level. No easy task!

This is also the partner that they will sit beside any time we are doing whole group work on the carpet.  The children sit in four rows, crisscross.  When the teacher says, "turn and talk," this is the person that they will face and share with.

Having the same partner for everything cuts down on any confusion and loss of instructional time.  It makes for smooth transitions.

At the mid-term we will interview each student and see how s/he thinks the partnership is working out.  Some students will want a change and some will beg to stay together.  Working with another person and negotiating games and activities is just another life lesson in the daily work of a child.

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