A Fresh Tool for Managing Think Pair Share in Your Classroom

Using the think pair share strategy can provide time for students to collaborate productively, have meaningful two-way conversations, and present their thinking in a way that is clear and powerful.

Oftentimes, our default partnering strategy for think pair share moments is to have students talk to the person sitting closest to them. This may be quick and easy but it also limits students’ learning horizons as they are hearing from the same person every time they share. It is especially limiting to students who are stuck in one-way conversations.

Instead, we can expose students to a variety of voices and perspectives around the classroom during idea sharing using clock partners.

This free Clock Partner Think Pair Share Management Tool will help you spruce up your current pair share system with one that is engaging for students and easy for you.

Clock Partner Think Pair Share Management Tool for Elementary Teachers

Clock Partner Think Pair Share Implementation Tips

Take a solid chunk of time (I usually spend about 30 minutes) setting up the clocks with your students.

First, distribute one clock to each student.

Discuss the importance of the Clock Partner Promise as you see fit and have students write their names on the top line.

Then, have the students fill each of their time slots with the names of 12 different classmates. This part takes a bit of time at first but is well worth it in the future.

Strategic Academic Partners for Core Subject Areas

You can reserve the first three slots for strategically assigned partnerships as follows:

  • 12:00 – Strategically Assigned Writing Partner
  • 1:00 – Strategically Assigned Reading Partner
  • 2:00 – Strategically Assigned Math Partner

Finding Other Think Pair Share Partner Assignments

When it comes to the rest of the clock, students can have a little more fun by finding a partner who matches a particular description like: 

  • has the same hair color
  • had the same teacher from last year
  • has a different hobby than they do
  • has the same favorite color as them, etc.

Begin Using The Completed Clock Partner Tool

Once all the slots are filled, have your students tuck their clocks in their desks, or in a place where they are easily accessible.

Anytime you want students to share ideas or work on an activity with a partner, simply say, “Meet with your ___o’clock partner”. Students can quickly refer to their clock and meet with a variety of partners without any additional coordination.

About halfway through the year, give them a fresh clock and repeat the process of finding new partners to reignite the excitement and variety.

If you give Clock Partners a try or have another fun method for boosting collaboration in your classroom, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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