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Clock Partners Review

I learned about this clock partners strategy from the Global Math Department’s meeting over favorite review games.  I actually haven’t used this as a review game, but I have used it on days where I need students to do a ton of practice.  Instead of just giving them a worksheet, I ask them to draw a clock on a piece of scrap paper.

clock partners review activity

They then get about a minute to make appointments for 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock.  I love listening to them make their appointments.  I often hear gems such as “Sorry, I’m booked.”  I divide the worksheet into four sections so they can complete one section of the worksheet with each partner.  I really like that students aren’t stuck with the same partner for the entire worksheet with this strategy.  Sometimes they are working with friends.  Other times they are working with students they don’t know as well.  Sometimes it is somebody at the same level or different level.

clock partners review strategy

Since students know they only have so long before they will switch partners, they are more motivated to work efficiently.  Upon googling this strategy, I ran across a more detailed explanation on the blog of a social studies teacher.  She has students create many more appointments than I do.  Her explanation is definitely worth a read! 

She picks some of her students’ partners ahead of time to ensure that some of the pairings will achieve a specific purpose.  I did like the idea of creating an appointment clock to be used for the entire semester or year.  Once this has been created, it would become super easy to group students at any time.  Plus, I think this would make a great addition to our interactive notebooks.

My 8th graders begged to do clock partners again the other day.  Of course, I had to let them!  This is a strategy I have used with both my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students.  It has worked well for both.  It’s a definite keeper!      


Tuesday 9th of October 2012

Hi Sarah,

I totally agree with Katie.

I wrote you this long response and it disappeared on the Ipad! I will try to recap. Hang in there. I just switched to our neighborhood HS after 16 years at my former HS...the same school my daughters go to! I know what you mean. I am not angry, as much as I am just sad. These kids are shuffled from home to home, playing one parent against the other, or their parents of the disruptive ones are too busy going to "Burning Man" to make sure the kid is getting the support he or she needs. There is high absenteeism, and I heard one parent when picking up her son in 3rd grade (the child now is home schooled, big in our area too) shout out, "We're free, we're free!" Too bad the rest of are not and we are trying to do the right thing within the system! I just want to bring them home and see what it is like to be in a family that eats dinner together and demands that homework be done before we watch our taped Daily Show!

Teaching can also be very isolating and lonely. Overworked and completely stressed, with way too many papers to grade because the class sizes continue to grow, people just don't seem to have the time to stop in and say, "how's it going?" I miss talking best practices AND about the amazing soup I made last night.

Use us as your community who will support you and like Katie said, hide some chocolate in your room.

Yours, Amy


Tuesday 9th of October 2012

Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for this blog!!! I am an elementary school teacher who is taking a few years off to raise my children, and last year I started working with middle and high school students part-time as a home based instructor for my school division. This year I am finding myself creating a lot of math lessons from scratch, and your blog is really coming in handy!

I'm sorry that you're having a rough couple of days- we all have those days as teachers! Keep your head up and know that you are an AMAZING teacher! Try to learn to let go of the things that you do not have control over (easier said than done, I KNOW). Focus on the things that you can control, and be sure to spend some time each week doing something fun that is NOT school-related (also easier said than done).

It may also help to keep a stash of chocolate in your classroom... ;)

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