I hope you are having a fantastic start to the 2013-2014 school year! It's so fun having time to get to know our students at the beginning of the year. Building relationships is foundational to everything we do as educators, so I try to make sure my students spend a lot of time working together either in small groups or partnerships.
For a few years, I have used famous pairs cards in my class that I've written on index cards. Basically, these cards have an even number of words written on them (one word written on each card) such as cookies, milk, mashed potatoes, gravy, salt, pepper, etc. When I'm ready to get my kids working together in pairs, I mix the cards up and pass out one to each student. (If I have an odd number of students in my class, then I keep the last card and will be a partner to one of my students.) Then my kiddos silently walk around with their cards held up next to their heads trying to find their famous pair. They LOVE searching for their partner, and it's a trip to watch!
So this year, I decided to make my cards a little fancier than the hand-written version and add a couple more features thanks to the inspiration of Dr. Spencer Kagan. Sometimes, once my kiddos are in their partnerships, I want one partner to talk and the other to listen and then switch roles. So I added an "A" and a "B" to each card so it would designate who is who. When I say, "Partner A goes first," the partnerships will be able to start right away and no more Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who goes first. Also, there are times when I want my partnerships to link up with other partnerships, so I made sure there are 4 cards per color. Finally, each card has a number - 1 through 5. If I need to, I can have all of the number 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s gather together to share what was happening in their individual partnerships. The bottom line is I wanted some flexibility in the cards, so I tried to add some of these features. Here, look for yourself...
I hope you have as much fun with your famous pairs as I do!