Tag Archives: speeddating

Speed dating, revised & reloaded

I love speed dating.

With students, of course. The type of speed dating that serves to reinforce, promote peer tutoring, and review.

But I always found the initial assigning of problems to be tricky and inefficient. Desks would be set up facing each other. I give kids handouts on their way into the class that have the practice problems on them. I would then walk around and assign each student a specific problem from the handout. I always did this strategically; I would assign higher level questions to higher level students. This way, the higher level concepts would get facilitated effectively to other students who may not initially understand those concepts. Because they needed to wait for me to “give” them their question, this caused some off-task, downtime for the kids…which was not good. They would also spend less time speed dating (and doing math) because they were dependent on me at the beginning. Bottom line: I wasted a bunch of class time assigning questions.

Today, I tried another technique and I liked it. I placed numbers on the desks and wrote numbers on the handouts. I gave the students the handouts as they entered (randomly), and instead of wading around assigning questions to students, the kids just sat at a desk whose number matched the number on their handout. And that number was their assigned question they needed to master. They didn’t need me to assign them a problem because they already had one. Here are the desks with the numbers.

Numbered Seats for Speed Dating

The result: a much more fluid, efficient start to the activity. The students came in and knew exactly where to sit and which question they were responsible for. They ultimately spent more time working on math – which is the whole point.

Speed Dating Revised

I randomly assigned the questions as they walked in – so I got away from assigning higher level questions to certain students. It was fine. I just walked around and helped students with their problems – which I would have done anyway. Even if I wanted a specific student (or students) to be in charge of a specific problem, I could simply ensure that I gave them the number of that problem when they walked into the room. I would only need to do this for one or two questions, so it wouldn’t be terribly difficult. It is a lot better than students sitting around while I manually assign problems at the beginning of class.

3/18/15 UPDATE:

Love it.

bp

Speed Dating

Speed Dating from Class

I’ve heard this strategy being used by several teachers in the MTBoS, but I most notably remember Kate Nowak being the one I heard it from first. It was a total success.

If you don’t know already, here’s the deal. Set up the classroom so that students are facing each other. Create a worksheet with problems you need the students to study/review. After handing it out, I gave the students a few minutes to become “masters” at one problem (I assigned them each a problem). I had 22 students, so I had 22 problems. After this, each student will “teach” their problem to the person across from them – for my problem set this was about 3 minutes (for both students to teach). After the 3 minutes, one side of the students got up and moved one seat to the left. Now they were across from a different classmate and the 3 minutes would start again – and each new pair would teach their problem. Each new pair now had a fresh start on explaining their problem and understanding a new one. (Sort of like real-world speed dating.) This process repeated until the end of the period. Oh, and I put out whiteboards on the tables to help with all this.

I floated around as they worked and assisted as necessary, but I wasn’t really part of the picture all that much. I loved this! I felt a bit weird in that I wasn’t doing much throughout the period. Then I came to my senses: it was the power of student-centered learning taking over me.

Because each student was only required to “master” one problem, they weren’t overwhelmed. And because they had to explain that question several times over the course of the class period, they really became well-versed on the concept that their problem related to. Conversely, because there was a student walking them through a problem they hadn’t seen before, I was able to incorporate peer tutoring and bring the learning to them in a more native way. They were talking about math all period – teaching and learning from one another – and hardly realized it.

It was totally my fault, but I didn’t get around to getting in an exit slip to gauge their thoughts on the activity. In fact, the bell rang as we were closing up. But if I had to guess from the looks of it, they really liked speed dating.