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    choosing partners
    By bzetchr

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    I have tongue depressors with a number on one end of each one - up to the number of kids in the class. I number my students in the beginning of the year (1, 2, 3, ... alphabetically as they appear on attendance sheet or in grade book). I keep the "sticks" in a cup, number down. When it's time for partner work, I pull 2, or 3, or 4 (whatever size groups you need) at a time and those numbered kids work together. I also do an introductory spiel about moans and groans - "You are not getting married, just working together" and about being polite - it's an expectation, with a consequence if I hear any comments or eyerolls. (Usually a few minutes of their recess time privately discussing it. - It only takes 1 or 2 ...)

    The "sticks" are also good for choosing who answers a question during a discussion, who takes the lunch bin over, who takes equipment to recess, who gets in line first- any time you need a random selection. If you have students put their "number" at the top of their paper next to their name - when you've graded it, you can easily put papers in the order the names appears in your grade book - makes recording /posting grades quick too.

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