How can I get my 1st graders to practice in pairs effectively?

Picture from a great blog Fun in First on blogspot

Ann asks:

Hello, Don.
I’m trying to get first grade teams on board with Rocket Math and would appreciate some tips for that grade level. I am very experienced with Rocket Math, but not sure how successful partner tracking is at grade 1.
Any tips?
Thanks so much.

Dr. Don answers:
Did you watch my YouTubevideo on how to teach your students how to practice?

You will need to model by being the student, and have a student model how to track, and how to correct errors and hesitations. Continue doing this in front of the whole class until the student does it perfectly and then enthusiastically praise that student for know how to be a “good checker.”
You need to choose other students and do that same modeling and practicing procedure. You’ll have to show them how to sit, how to hold the papers etc. Do this until every student can be a “good checker” and then practice some more.

You can then bring up pairs of students and have them model for the class how to sit, hold the papers, and practice and how to be a “good checker.” Praise them for showing everyone “how to be a good checker.” Then when you turn your class loose to actually practice in pairs you must circulate, listen carefully, praise and recognize being a “good checker.”

First graders can do paired practice and do it well. They just need more teaching.  Check-out the Fun-in-First blog above for more ideas on how to have first graders work in pairs.

Ann answers:
That was very helpful. Thank you. It’s exactly what we do to train fluency partners.

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