Bethel School District Eugene OR

Purposeful Partnering

Teachers often need to create teams or partners for different assignments.There is a strong body of evidence that peer relationships have a powerful influence on academic achievement. Therefore setting up purposeful partners is a key to success in the classroom.  Conducting Purposeful Partnering means teachers deliberately assign or randomly choose teams, groups, or partners AND teach students how to cooperatively work together. Simply partnering students doesn’t guarantee success though. It takes instruction, practice, and monitoring. For now, let’s focus on different ways to partner students. Look for a future post on teaching students to work together once they are partnered.

Deliberate partners have been structured so students are as heterogeneous as possible. Creating a mix of different learning strengths, needs, and achievement levels increases equity and excellence for every student. Students do not know how you created these groups.



Below are some deliberate partner strategies you may want to try in your classroom:

  • Groups of FOUR-SIX:  
    • Jigsaw – teacher creates a diverse group of four to six students
      • Each student is assigned a number and a topic
      • After learning the topic students disperse to similar numbers/topics and discuss the topic in this new group so they become “experts”
      • Students go back to their original group and teaches their topic
  • Partners of TWO:
    • Reading – teacher creates partners who are a little below or a little above their reading level so students are not at “frustration” level

Random partners are selected by chance. Your students see it in action; they know they have not been “singled out.” In this low-risk setting they are more willing to participate. Randomly choosing groups can create a positive and cooperative classroom environment.  

Below are some random partnering strategies you may want to try in your classroom:

  • Groups of FOUR:  
    • Get a standard deck of playing cards for creating “four of a kind”   
  • Partners of TWO:
    • Use flashcards to partner up facts showing the commutative property
  • Click HERE for more ideas

 Try these strategies in any content area.  You will be surprised how quickly it becomes part of your regular classroom routine.

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