Clock Partners and Clock Clip Art

Have you heard of clock partners?  It’s a great management strategy to partner your students up quickly.  However, I modify it to help with differentiation.

(Click on the picture to download)

Here’s how it works:
Students take their page, walk around the room and find 12 different partners.  They each write their partner’s name on the same line.  If I’m partnering with you at 12, I write my name on your page at 12, and you write your name on my page at 12.  You can help control this by only allowing them to get 1 partner at a time.  Throughout the year, as you want students to partner up, you announce that they need to find their “4 o’clock partner” for example.  This keeps feelings from being hurt, time being wasted, and allows you to change up who students are working with.

How I modify it:
I give students some of their matches.  For example, I might make the 3 o’clock partner a student who reads at the same or similar level.  Then, I might make the 9 o’clock partner a student who reads at a higher or lower level.  Then, when I want students to partner up to read, I can quickly partner them up.  I recommend writing these partnerships on the clocks before you distribute them and keeping a master list for yourself.  You can even use it to make a quick reading group if you use more than one time.  For example, you could make the 3 and 4 similar reading levels.  If you use those same three students as 3 and 4 for each other, you can ask them to meet with both partners and you’ve made a small group of 3.  Here’s a sample way I’ve arranged the partners.

12- similar math ability
1- similar reading ability
2- similar reading ability
3- similar reading ability
4- free choice
5- free choice
6- different math ability
7- free choice
8- different reading ability
9- different reading ability
10- free choice
11- free choice

Students still have some choices in who their partners are for times when you don’t need the partners to be a specific ability level.  For reading, I include the same skill on more than one time so students aren’t matched with the same person too often.

I would recommend starting out the first day of school by having students find their 12 partners.  This is a great way for them to get to meet each other, learn each other’s names, and get the structure and procedures established.  After you do your beginning of the year assessment, you match students based on abilities and allow them to fill in the extra slots with their choice of partners.  I’d change things up at least one more time throughout the year just to keep things fresh.  You can download a copy of the form by clicking the picture above.

I was trying to find a clock I liked to create the page but I didn’t have much luck.  So, I created it myself! I think it turned out super cute so I decided to sell some in my TpT store.  Click on the pictures below to head on over to my store to by them for yourself.


    • says

      I've done some frames and borders before. Yesterday when I couldn't find a clock I liked I tried to create one. I sorta loved the one I made, Deb Thomas told me a tip I never knew, and voila! I have clip art! :)

  1. says

    I like how you manipulate the partners a little bit. I bet none of the kids ever even notices! Great idea…I'll be sharing this on my facebook page.

  2. says

    I have used this method before as well as many other partnering techniques and think it is an awesome way of grouping students. I am currently working on creating partner cards for the various ways of grouping students in large and small cooperative learning groups. I love this way as well because then the students have all of their partners on one page :) Nice work on the clocks :)

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

  3. says

    Hi Tessa,

    I stumbled across your blog through the linky party–I love using Clock Partners in my classroom! Such a great way to quickly partner up students. I'm your newest follower :) Have a fun Monday!!


    The Quirky Apple

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