Having students work with a variety of partners can be so beneficial to their social skills and teamwork. Of course, letting students pick their partners every once in a while is helpful, but we all know how that can go…But, assigning student partners can take forever! I always forget to pair students up until the last minute. Then realize that these two students shouldn’t work together and I need to re-pair them up without letting them know that I am re-pairing them up…long story short, pairing students up can be a mess and be so time-consuming! Here are a few of my favorite EASY ways to pair up students for partner and small group work.
How to Pair Students
One way you can pair students up is by using characteristics such as shoe color, shirt color, birthday month, birthday day, etc. You can tell students “find a partner wearing the same color shoes as you.”
My absolute favorite way I have found to pair students up BY FAR is the partner picker tool. It is something you pre-create at the beginning of a school year, 9 weeks, or semester. Then, students have 3 sets of partners that they will regularly work with. It makes life so much easier! You can tell students “work with your peanut butter and jelly partner today” or “lets use partner number 1.” Partner Picker comes with a template that you can easily fill in, and then it will auto-populate the rest of the partner picker cards for you. Truly so easy to use, and SUCH a game changer.
You can find the partner picker tool here.
Pair Students Up
Class dojo has a great random pairing tool.
Austin Coding Academy has a super simple to use random partner generator
PickerWheel lets you put a list of names into a random group
CommentPicker also lets you make a random list of students into teams
Classroom Partner Picker
Last but not least, you can always use the classic pulling sticks method! I always create a basket of popsicle sticks with student names on them at the beginning of a school year, and could use them to pull random groups of students.