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Partner Clocks: A Great Way for Students to Find Partners Quickly

By Beth Newingham on November 8, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

I find that many of the activities I do in my classroom require students to work with a partner. Before I started using partner clocks, my students always chose the same person to be their partners, and there were always some students who were never chosen by their peers. If I took the time to assign partners, I ended up wasting five minutes of time that could have been spent engaged in the planned activity.

For this reason, I decided to use partner clocks in my classroom. I give each student a copy of a blank partner clock printed on cardstock. You can easily make your own by finding clip art of a clock and then adding lines for partners' names by each hour.

I then ask students to begin making appointments with other students in the classroom for each hour on their clock. An appointment is made when two students agree to be each other's partners for a specific hour. To confirm the appointment, they write each other's names on the line next to the agreed upon hour. Students do this until they have all hours accounted for.

I require students to find a different partner for each hour. This usually ensures boys and girls will have to work together, an event that may not happen when students are allowed to pick their own partners.

Once the clocks are completed, I laminate them, put business card magnets on the back, and have students stick the clocks to the inside of their desks. When it comes time for students to work with a partner, I simply say, "Find your 5:00 partner." To make sure that I call each hour once before repeating an hour on the clock, I created the partner clock poster. Each time I call an hour, I put a star next to that number. Once I have used all hours on the clock, I take the stars down and start over.

Download a Partner Clock from mathforum.org.

Comments (2)

Thanks for sharing This will be an added bonus to my little bag.

Thanks Beth - this tip has saved me much time and eliminated many arguments!

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