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Top Tips for Partner Picking

Top Tips for Partner Picking

No, this isn’t a guide to dating, this blog post will share some simple techniques for pairing or grouping children up for partner and group work.
The days of constant independent working are long gone – and rightly so, there is far more to be gained in the classroom from working together and sharing ideas and opinions.

However, we all know what a fine line to walk this is – bring the wrong pair together and it could spell catastrophe with anything from zero work and no discussion achieved to blazing arguments and general unacceptable behaviour.

So, I’ve put together a few things I’ve tried and tested myself in the classroom and made some brand spanking new resources for you to use with them.

Quick Partner Pick Ideas:

# The partner spinners – what I love about these is that you can put people you don’t want working together on the same outer or inner ring so that they will never be matched up. It’s also quick and simple to make. You can either make a big deal out of it and go for a huge display size version or just have a small version that gets passed around the carpet and the children separate off accordingly.
Click here to download

# The partner dice – again, similar to the spinner, you can put children you don’t want working together on the same dice so that they’ll never be matched up. Quick and simple to make and you could either go all out and stick the children’s names to giant inflatable or sponge versions or download my PDF version to create small partner dice.
Click here to download

# Lollipop sticks – Simple, names go on the lollipop sticks and the kids pick one out. If you didn’t want certain children to work together then make two pots and put the ‘can’t work together’ kids all in the same pot and pick one name from each pot.
Although I’ve named it ‘lollipop sticks’ you could actually use anything like spoons, playing cards or even socks! Or why not create themed versions that centre around your current topic? We have stacks of editable labels that you could add your children’s names to and use to theme your partner picking.
To browse click here

Introduce learning into it…
It doesn’t all have to be centred around partner picking, why not combine your lesson warm up with picking a partner? I love this technique and so do the children and what’s so great about it is that the possibilities are endless!
– CVC word and a picture
– rhyming words or picture cards (use a rhyming string for group picking).
Download the cvc match resource here

– compound word picture cards
– clocks and time cards
Download the compound word resource here

– multiplication tables
– fractions, decimals and percentages match
Download the fractions resource here

I’ve pretty much kept to a Maths and Literacy focus here but no reason why you couldn’t do the same using topic work.

The most important thing to remember with partner picking is to keep it simple and repetitive – although all these ideas are great, try and use them all in one week and it’ll spell chaos for sure. Children need structure, so maybe introduce a new way of partner picking once a month or half term. If it fails then move onto another until you find one that works well for your class, that you can tweak slightly over the course of the term so that it doesn’t feel too boring.

Have clear rules – once the children know the routine, they’ll hopefully get on without fuss. Make your expectations clear when you first introduce your chosen partner picking technique so that they know where they’ve got to go, what they’ve got to do and how to do it.

Hope this has been of some help to you, make sure you download all the free resources in the post

– Christina =)

Author: Christina

My name's Christina and I work over at Teacher's Pet. I'm the gal responsible for creating all the resources, answering emails and taking care of our social network pages. I'm a fully qualified teacher (taught mostly in lower KS2 but secretly 'Reception is my favourite'). Also spent a lot of time working with children and young adults with disabilities with a passion for working with those with ASD.

1 Comment to “Top Tips for Partner Picking”
  1. Great ideas! We also do partner clocks where the children draw in a partner on each hour and when you call out the ‘time’ on their clock they find that person! Great to do while you’re teaching time! Will have to test drive a few of these FAB ideas though!

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