I know I always love doing group work this time of year. My class seems so independent as we near the end of our time together, if I'm lucky! Pairing my kids on the daily can seem so tedious and sometimes...yes, sometimes...I hear groans from the peanut gallery. Sigh, the worst, right? The two besties are already throwing each other side eye, trying to figure out how they can work together. Johnny-doesn't-think-anything-is-fun just rolled his eyes and mumbled, "hope I don't get paired with a girl!" (yes, every class has one!) and you've got 1:1 assessments to complete in a limited amount of time. Partner cards are the perfect trick. My kids beg for them! Let me tell you how I use them.
Partner Cards, as we call them in my room, are just simple picture cards that I've cut in half. So easy, right? These particular cards have a fun Spring/Summer theme that my kids are currently swooning over. They get so excited when they get a new picture. I simply count out the amount of pairs I need, shuffle, and pass them out at random. The kids find their match, "pay" me their cards, and off they go to the centers I've already organized for them.
You could do this with any type of card you have laying around. My math curriculum comes with a bunch of math game cards. My Mini-Wheats love to match numbers, addition problems, place value cards, etc. If you have phonics cards or center cards those could be used, too.
BUT, Elsa, I don't have an even number of kids in my class! I know, me either! In this case I have an "odd man out". When I pass out the cards the person who doesn't end up with one is allowed to join any group they'd like. Works like a charm and no one feels left out.
BUT, Elsa, I have a challenging group, I can't just pair my kids randomly! Then don't! I've definitely needed to get creative with groupings. With this trick no one needs to be the wiser. Organize or pass the cards out in advance. Sometimes I leave the cards at their tables after lunch. This gives me the chance to pass out the cards the way that I want my kids to be paired. They come back from recess and see Partner Cards and don't know the difference. Instant buy in from them and I get my kids paired how I want.
I hope you've enjoyed this quick and easy trick. If you don't have anything in your classroom that would already do the job here's the link to FREE partner cards in my TpT store. Now, go get those assessments done and have a great End of the Year!!
We'd love you to post any fun grouping tricks you have in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by. -Elsa