Submitted by Elissa Reichstein-Saperstein, Otsego Elementary, New York

Idea posted June 17, 2008

To make choosing partners quick and painless, I make "partner necklaces" for half of the group. I make seasonal ones, so in winter months I give them snowmen; in September I do pumpkins, etc. I cut the shapes out of paper and them string them onto LONG pieces of yarn (so they can slip it over heads quickly and easily). Then, every other student gets a necklace, and those with a necklaces can ONLY choose a "non-necklace."

After the first time we use them, the kids know and they rarely have trouble with partners. They ask for their "partner necklaces" until second grade. This year, one of my classes even sent the physical education teachers into my room to get them when they were doing their square dance unit.

It's simple, cheap and works for us.