No Series: Choosing Strategic Partners

Choosing Strategic Partners

Lesson Objective: Consider multiple factors when assigning partners
All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Tse consider the task when selecting partners?
  2. What can you learn from Ms. Tse about choosing partners for your students?
  3. When might you allow students to pick their own partners?


  • Private message to Jeremy Dixon
The teacher paired them up according to their abilities. Other times she allows them to pick their partners. I think that is a great strategy because it allows their strengths to come out when they work in peer group settings.
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  • Private message to Deborah Wicker
Deborah Wicker November 8, 2013 3:33 p.m. Thank You Theresa for your suggestions. Student grouping has to be monitored carefully. They tend to partner with their friends to chat, therefore very little work gets done. I like the idea of students being paired together according to their personalities. This again brings out each other's strengths. Pairing them with someone that can help them is a good idea as well. Again, the key is to know your student's strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles to have success in this area.
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  • Private message to Alex Dia
Love Theresa's philosophy in selecting and managing groups. I feel a little bit better about the way in which I constantly change my student groupings after having watched this video. Thank you!
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  • Private message to Anne Beninghof
Pairing and other grouping strategies is always best when done with intentionality. What is your purpose? What type of partnering will best accomplish that purpose? Key word for me with all instructional decisions is "intentional."
Recommended (2)
  • Private message to Bonnie Smith
Bonnie smith June 15,2013 Strategic pairing is such a powerful tool but can also be a challenge to a classroom teacher. I agree that you really need to know your students strengths ,weaknesses, and styles of learning so your grouping is successful.
Recommended (1)


  • Choosing Strategic Partners Transcript

    Interviewer: My strategy for putting pairs together is I look at what the task is,

    Choosing Strategic Partners Transcript

    Interviewer: My strategy for putting pairs together is I look at what the task is, and what I want the kids to accomplish. I look at personalities, which kids will get along, which kids need a little support, which kids need less support.

    How many did you have? You had 75. All right, so now we want to figure out how many more I need to get to 100 right?

    I expect it to pay off because students have been paired in a way that will make them successful. They’re paired with someone who can support them or they’re paired with someone who’s at their level, so there isn’t a super high kid with a super low kid where the—you know the kid who’s more able is bossing the other kid around.

    The personality things, you know you have to think about which kids get along, which kids don’t, which kids are natural leaders. If you put two natural leaders together sometimes there is butting heads of that.

    In some cases I’ll let them pick their own partners. It kind of depends on what I’m trying to get out of that day. Sometimes I’ll let them pick their own partners because sometimes kids choose to work with other kids that you wouldn’t pair them with, and out of that comes some amazing conversations that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    Putting them together specifically in a way that allows them to kind of bring out their strengths, I really think allows the lesson and goes smoothly. I think pre-thinking that really does help.

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Lakeridge Elementary School
7400 South 115th St
Seattle WA 98178
Population: 417

Data Provided By:



Theresa Tse


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