I came across this creative way to assign partners called Clock Buddies. Check out the website for a visual on how this works because it makes it easier to understand. To assign the partners for the first time, each student has a blank clock. The teacher tells all the kids to pair up with one person to be their 1:00 buddy. Then, the two students write the other classmate’s name in the 1:00 time slot. Next, the teacher asks to find a different partner for 2:00 and so on till each student has 12 names on his/her clock. Throughout the year the teacher can ask students to get with say their “5:00” or “12:00” partner.
The teacher could also just assign clock buddies if they didn’t want any students feeling uncomfortable if no one picks them as a partner. I mention this because back when I was growing up I can recall how much anxiety it caused kids when the PE teacher would pick two team captains and they would take turns picking classmates to be on their team. I used to feel so bad for the kids who always got selected last. You could tell by their faces that it made them feel so rejected.
How do you assign groups and partners in your classroom? What do you consider when assigning group work such as, skill levels, personalities and anxiety? What do you do to make sure partners work cooperatively?
I like the creative way to assign partners that you found on the website you mentioned. It's always challenging to assign groups and make sure no one feels left out. I remember my years in elementary school when the physical education teacher chose the best players as team captains, and then they selected the remainder of the team. I was often one of the last chosen because my athletic abilities were not great. It was always disheartening to stand there and wait so long to be placed on a team.
I have used this little program for many group assignments. It's also a good way to choose a classroom helper, determine the order students present projects, and more. I strongly recommend this site for creating groups and/or partners.