Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rotating Buddies

Oh! Snap!  It IS almost September! At least it's officially half way through August and that's getting very close. 
If you're not back at school yet like me, you're probably starting to think about it a lot. Time to start getting ready. 
One of the first things I do after I get my class list is get my buddy system ready.
I have tried all sorts of systems for classroom partners including choose your own buddy (takes too long if you do it one student at a time, causes too much angst if you do it en masse) and drawing sticks, but this is the one I've been using for the last 15 years and it works really well for me.
I make name tags for each of the kids, laminated and backed with a magnet.  I put them on my chalkboard (now painted with whiteboard paint) in two columns in alphabetical order going down the left side, around and up the right side.   

Here is a sample of what the rotation would look like.  Since I don't have my class list yet I made up one. This is a great class (16 students?  In my dreams!) with pretty good gender balance.  Also great 
for teaching alphabetical order (and -y

If the list on the left was for Monday the one to the right would be Tuesday - I rotate the name tags counter clockwise at the end of each day.  This year I'll have second and third graders, so I'll get one of them to do it as an end-of-the-day job.
If there's an odd number of kids in the class  I have a single on the top one day and on the bottom the next.  That student has the same options as students whose buddies are away.

The kids keep the same buddy for most activities all day.  Everyone knows who their buddy is and who it will be tomorrow.  No waste of time deciding who will be buddies and no disappointment that someone didn't get chosen.  Everyone takes turns buddying with everybody else.  If a student is away I just pull their name out to the side for that day.  The person across the list from them buddies with another student who has no buddy or, if they are all buddied up, gets to choose to either join another pair, have me for a buddy (if I'm available for the activity) or another adult who is in the class, or go solo, if that is a possibility. 
 I also make tags that say Right and Left (they look tiny in my picture, but they're actually the same size as the name tags - I added them to my screen as an afterthought and didn't have much room to fit them in-LOL) on them and put them above the names, so I can direct them e.g.: the person on the left gets to go first and the one on the right gets to pick the spot where they'll do the activity. It is also good for re-enforcing the left/right concept.
I don't use this system for times when they are going to do a partner activity after finishing work because it's unlikely that they will both be finished at the same time.  When a student is done they go to get the things they will need for the activity then wait for the next person to join them.
If you'd like to make a set for your class you can pick them up HERE. They're editable in Word.
If you use Pages get them HERE.
I have a few things in my TpT store that are great to pull out in September. 
Getting to Know You is an activity I put together for my class to do during the first couple of weeks. 
To get them hooked on doing the activity I call it a "game" and add a dice rolling component. 
Incentive tags are a standby in my classroom. The kids love to collect them. My printer and laminator will be at work soon printing up these September ones. 
They are $1 in my TpT store HERE.
Or if you'd like a great deal get the fall three month combo set. 
They're usually $2 but right now they're on sale HERE for only $1.25. 

 I'm off to link up with Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals for their September linky.  Hop on over to get some great goodies for your classroom.



  1. I really like your buddy system!

    1. It's worked really well for me. One of the things I think is an added benefit is that we talk about left and right every day. I was never explicitly taught left and right and am still constantly challenged by it. I make it a point when we go over the buddies in the morning to have them put up their left hand or right hand or stand up depending on which side they're on. I also have specific instructions eg: The Buddy on the left reads first today and the Buddy on the right picks the spot.