Thinking Partners

Monday, July 27, 2015
We all have those students in our classroom each year that steal the show! They are extroverted, quick thinkers, and want to share all their thoughts and answers immediately after the question is asked! What about the quiet students? What about the introverts? What about the students who need more think time to process? I have found a solution when teaching whole group while building collaborative conversations...THINKING PARTNERS!

Here is how it works! When working with my second graders, I used the board below. Students were designated either peanut butter or jelly. They were then to sit with their partner when coming to the carpet or whenever told to buddy up. When beginning a new conversation or given a question to ponder, I would give the students ample think time. No talking or raising their hands during this time! After their think time was completed, I would say turn and talk and tell whether peanut butter or jelly was to start first. Switch it up after each question, so one isn't always starting! Not only did the students who were quiet, shy and unsure of their answers able to talk out their thinking, but it also forced the more extroverted students to really listen to others' thoughts!

I would then bring the discussion back full group to hear the thoughts of the groups. Through this, conversational moves and phrases were encouraged to help build those language and speaking skills!

As I head into the new year, I want to mix it up with my new fifth graders. I have to tell you - they are OBSESSED with Hot Cheetos and Takis, so I'm going to use those as thinking partners instead of peanut butter and jelly.

There are SO many options for duos to build your own Thinking Partners chart: chips and salsa, Jay Z and Beyonce, dogs and cats, etc. Be creative with what works for your students. I found the images on Google, printed, laminated, and here they are!

Each teacher and classroom is different, so partnering students up can be your prerogative! At the beginning of each week, I would just rotate the cards. If I found two cards next to each other that might not work out because of personalities or behaviors, sometimes I would just switch it out. The kiddos were excited to come in every Monday morning to see who was their partner for the week!

Use however you would like :) It's super simple to create on your own and it really guided those conversational skills for all learners!!!



  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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