Friday, August 12, 2011

Thinking Partners Freebie!

One thing I think is mucho importante is developing good oral communication in the classroom. At the start of the year, I train the kids in how to be good thinking partners. I have them pair up and tell each other about something they did over the summer or weekend. The partner has to be able to summarize and retell what their partner did to their partner's satisfaction. I know this seems like a big DUH but I went to a Ron Nash workshop a while back and it was made super clear that the students needed many many many many many opportunities to have this kind of discussion with non-academic content before we expect them to have meaningful discussions about what they are learning. It really does make a difference, I promise!

Usually, I have the "turn to your elbow buddy" or use the partner wheel approach to finding thinking partners, but I wanted another mode for finding good thinking partners so I made this variation of Paula Rutherford's Feathered Friends or Clock Buddies. Students will take their paper around the classroom and ask classmate's to be their thinking partners for specific days. So if Johnny wanted to be partners with Sally, and they both had their Monday box available, Johnny would write Sally's name on his paper and Sally would write Johnny's name on her paper. It would go like this until everyone has every box filled. If it is done right, there should be no overlaps or duplicates. From then on, all I have to do is say, "Today children, I'd like you to sit with your Friday thinking partner on the carpet."

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