Thinking Partners

Monday, July 27, 2015
We all have those students in our classroom that aren't afraid to share their thinking - they're extroverted and quick thinkers. What about the students who are quiet - the students who are more introverted and may need more time to process? What about the students that aren't quite engaged and need some accountability? Here is a way that ALL students participate in a lesson - it's called Thinking Partners!

Here is how it works! Check out this board!
Each week, students are given a thinking partner - they are either peanut butter or jelly and their partner is in the column next to them as the opposite. When working in whole groups or partner activities, this is the person they work with. Whenever I pose a prompt or question to the group, students are given quality thinking time - students are not to talk or raise their hand during this time. After think time, I say "turn and talk to your partner" and then decide who goes first - either peanut butter or jelly. Then the students turn and talk and whoever was designated to go first, shares. I usually switch off who starts first, but sometimes I may have jelly go first twice in a row to mix things up. After students have time to talk to their partners, I bring them all back whole group. I now know that all students have discussed the topic being taught before whole-group sharing.

Using this strategy has been really powerful in my classroom - the students who are extroverted are given opportunities to listen while those that are introverted can give their opinions and thoughts.

I used peanut butter and jelly with my students, however, there are endless options for partners, such as Hot Cheetos and Takis, chips and salsa, your school mascot (ex: Hoover and Huskies). Use what you see fit for your class!

Each week, I change the thinking partners in a clockwise rotation so students can practice talking with new people! How do you get your students to actively participate in your classroom?



  1. Where did you get your peanut and jelly big them
    Can I get a copy Please

    1. Hi Cheryl! I actually just Googled the images and printed them off from there!


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