Before working on putting my students in partners for peer review, I know that I needed to build relationships among them. I know that I have a great relationship with my students, and they respect me, but in overhearing a conversation, I became worried that they weren't respecting each other.
The Guiding Question of "What are some concerns when working with someone who is not a friend?" quickly addresses the fact that they may or may not get to work with a friend all the time (I tend to be much more lenient with this at the beginning of the year).
So the work time takes up most of the class, but it's really valuable work. I've already taught my kids to do a Chalk Talk, so the expectations are established. They are not to talk, and all discourse takes place on the white board. We don't just write comments, but instead engage in a written conversation.
For this Chalk Talk, I put each one of my students (one at a time) at the front of the room, in front of the white board and had students write about their classmates. Even if they didn't know them, I asked that they write something after reading what was already written. This way, they are learning new information about their classmate while reading, and commenting on that new information.
For the Wrap-Up, I asked students to write down three things they learned about their classmates today that they didn't know before. They jotted these down on a sticky note and posted them on the board before they walked out of the door.
One student wrote, "I never knew Kaileigh liked Dr. Who. I do, too!"
Another wrote, "I liked getting to know students who didn't go to my elementary school."