"Speed dating" is one of my favorite activities. If you've never done it before, it involves students pairing with one other student for a short period of time (a "date") to exchange a set of information. I've used it for tons of things, from book talks to Shakespearean monologue practices. Speed dating is student drive. They create the content and they share it with each other. It's minimal prep work for the teachers and highly engaging for students. In almost every class I teach, there is an inevitable speed dating day. However, with 2020 filled with chaos and obstacles when it comes to every part of education. Our school has so far rotated between fully online, fully in person, and hybrid schedules this semester. I really had to rethink how to make speed dating work for each of these scenarios and I think I have it down! Here are my socially distant tips for nailing speed dating...
In the full inclusion classroom...
Just because our classroom are socially distant, doesn't preclude movement, it just makes it more difficult. If you have the space for students to stand 6 feet apart (I put a table in between them to make it easier for students to remember), do a socially distant version of speed dating. If we have students in quarantine, I set up my computer or iPad as a station for students to meet with that person to do the assignment. You could also consider doing this in the hallway or outside with nice weather.
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In the hybrid classroom...
It's actually not hard to do speed dating on Zoom! Breakout rooms are your friends. Pair students in breakout rooms. Set it up so that one in class student is paired with one virtual student. Set a timer for yourself to remember when to switch them. Simply move one of the pair to another classroom. Try to make sure you keep track of which kids rotate and which stay in their spots so that students are getting repeat partners. Since half the students are in your classroom, you can still monitor how it is going. It also helps the kids who are at home to get interaction with their peers at school!
In the virtual classroom...
I was trying to find a way to make this work for students at home and that's when I dawned on a new, exciting idea- speed dating app dating. Students create a profile for their character, just as if their character is joining a dating app. The profiles are then compiled into a shareable slideshow that is shared with students so they came "swipe" through. Then in a separate document, they will keep a chart if they "swipe right" on someone for a date, friendship, or business networking. This allows students to think critically about relationships between characters, considering what character traits they have that would go well together. This obviously doesn't work to replace speed dating in every situation and it might not be appropriate for younger students, but I've used it with my students to great success. I love to see the connections they make between characters and it's just gimick-y enough to hook them.
Check out my products: Literary Match: Dating App Speed Dating for Any Literary Text
AND Olympus Match: Dating App Speed Dating for Greek Mythology
I'm Megan and I teach high school ELA. I'm all about literature, creativity, and aesthetics!