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How do you organise talking partners?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lagerlover, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Hi
    I'm really interested in using talking partners a lot more next year. I teach Year 6 and used them last year and the children liked it, however they simply talked to the person next to them. I love the idea of changing talking partners regularly and have read a good idea for choosing them using lollysticks on the 'what works well in school' thread. How often do you change talking partners? Also I love the idea that changing partners regularly and choosing randomly means that you will get mixed ability partners; but what I was wondering was how do you then organise your differentiation in the 'activity' part of the lesson? I tend to differentiate 3 or 4 ways. Would you have children sitting with their talking partners at a desk with whiteboards in front of them for notes for the beginning of the lesson, then maybe go to their differentiated groups for the activity? Would be interested to hear what other people do.
     
  2. Hi
    I'm really interested in using talking partners a lot more next year. I teach Year 6 and used them last year and the children liked it, however they simply talked to the person next to them. I love the idea of changing talking partners regularly and have read a good idea for choosing them using lollysticks on the 'what works well in school' thread. How often do you change talking partners? Also I love the idea that changing partners regularly and choosing randomly means that you will get mixed ability partners; but what I was wondering was how do you then organise your differentiation in the 'activity' part of the lesson? I tend to differentiate 3 or 4 ways. Would you have children sitting with their talking partners at a desk with whiteboards in front of them for notes for the beginning of the lesson, then maybe go to their differentiated groups for the activity? Would be interested to hear what other people do.
     
  3. I use talk partners for afternoon places and quite often during mixed ability Literacy/Numeracy lessons. The children change talking partners every 3 weeks, I have photos of the children in a box and we pull them out on a Friday. They choose who to sit by, we do lots of work in September discussing 'What is a talk partner?' etc. to ensure the children use them accurately.
     
  4. Hello we have been using Talk Partners this year (or I should say school year just gone) in Literacy lessons. There is a free program on the internet called The Hat which we have been using to generate random mixed ability talk partners - all you do is type in all the kids names and then it electronically picks partners out of a hat and has sound effects to go with it - the kids love it. Im pretty sure if you just google The Hat you should be able to download it -although you may want to wait until you are at school to do this as the kids love watching it.
    We changed talk partners once a week on a monday and it was always the highlight of the lesson! On the friday they would write a short evaluation of their talk partner and then on the monday the new talk partner would read the most recent evaluation to get a feel of what their talk partner was like.
    I always had talk partners sitting next to eachother on the carpet for main teaching using whiteboards when needed and then for written work they would also go and sit with their talk partners.
    With regards to differentiation I had the top set for Literacy so there wasnt as much differenitation needed and the HA would support the LA where needed. Next year, we wont have sets so I will need to think about this.
    Anyway enough rambling, hope that helped!

     
  5. Hi

    Thanks for your responses, both really helpful. if you go onto Google and type in Lancs primary talking partners there is a word document you can download called ''why talk partners' I found it really helpful. I tried searching for the hat as you suggested but haven't found it as yet, will keep trying.
     
  6. You can find a Hat here:
    http://the-hat.harmony-hollow-software.qarchive.org/
    You just right-click the Download Now button and choose Save Target As... to save it to your computer. (You may already know how to do this, but I thought it was worth mentioning just in case).
    You can input your pupils' names either from a list or individually. Then, it will randomly select either individual pupil or pairs of pupils as you wish.
     
  7. Thank you. I found it. It's great. can't wait to use it.
     
  8. purplepixie

    purplepixie New commenter

    Oooh! I think the lollysticks idea was the one I suggested (having stolen it from a colleague) and this is a great idea! I've been toying with how to make talking partners more formalised and organised, so thanks very much for this thread and the ideas in it. Brilliant, thanks!!!
     
  9. Hi - I'm also year 6 and have used response partners for the last 2 years (only been teaching for 3 but am old!) We had some training from the area consultant for creativity as part of our creative curriculum who recommended changing partners every 2 weeks. I have tried to stick to this and it has worked well in developing the children's inter-personal skills. By year 6 they understand that being able to get on with people is a really important life skill. I do keep the children in ability groups for maths and literacy though most of the time - it depends on what we are doing. The class I had last year were brilliant at helping each other by the end of the year and sometimes used to ask pair up with in mixed ability pairs to help each other in working through papers for SATs.
    Before I start it off though in September we have a discussion as a class about the way we learn and how we can help each other etc.. The children are pretty aware of their own abilities by year 6 and I focus on respecting that we are all different, might be good at different things or on a different step on our learning journeys. (how often is someone good at maths but not literacy and vice versa?) We also set rules of what is expected when you are a response partner - eg always something positive first as well as other class rules of cooperation, giving our best etc
    We used to praise someone who was a particularly good response partner - really helpful, good listener etc and it often gave a chance for some of the quieter and good children to shine, as well as some of the girls and boys to see each other's strengths. I also ran in with my reward/behaviour management as we did 'Table of the Week' - I couldn't believe how well that used to work and saved me raising my voice - 20 points for the first table tidy etc. It also meant that noone ever got stuck with someone they were really unhappy with for long and they had to deal with it maturely while they were paired. Apart from that, it's good preparation for secondary school.
    I know there are loads of 'virtual' sorting solutions but I think sometimes a simple name out the hat approach is just the job. It became something the children really looked forward to - we pretended it was a bit like Harry Potter sorting and did folded names out of a hat - I took them out in pairs then 3 pairs = a table. I let the children write the groups up on the board - another thing they loved. It got really tense and exciting sometimes - like when two boys ended up paired or a whole table of boys came out that the children knew I would never choose!! At the same time though, we could always refer back to the rules that the children had made themselves re conduct. The only other 'rule' was if a pair had already been together then I put the name back in the hat. The lolly sticks are a lovely idea too.
    I've got a tricky class coming up so am just hoping it works again next year!

     
  10. If you want a sorting hat program that generates pairs or groups (any size you choose) there's one on Brenden's site which my class loved this year:


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    http://stuff.brendenisteaching.com/sortinghat/index.php

     

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