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Speed Dating Cooperative Learning Activity

November 28, 2014

Speed Dating is a simple Cooperative Learning activity that can be used for countless tasks and topics.

Begin by determining what task you want your students to complete. These will need to be partner activities in which each of 2 people has a role. Some common tasks that I've used in Spanish classes include:

  • Asking and answering a personalized question
  • Asking and answering a comprehension question about a text or topic
  • Reading aloud and then translating a statement
  • Making a statement and then identifying it as true or false
  • Reading aloud a short sentence or paragraph and listening

In each of these tasks, there are two roles. For example: asking/answering, reading aloud/translating, reading aloud/listening. For many tasks, you will find it is useful for students to have a worksheet of some kind to reference. It might be a list of questions, a list of statements, or a picture. Plan your task, gather any necessary materials, and then get to Speed Dating!

Set up Speed Dating

First, arrange students in two lines. Students can be sitting or standing, and each line should contain an equal number of students. If there is an odd number of students in your class, consider participating yourself so that all students can participate in a pair. The two lines should face each other!

Round 1A

Students will complete the Round 1 task with their first partner. In each round, every student is partnered with the student who is facing them. The Line A partner initiates the task and the Line B partner completes the second portion of the task. For example, the Line A partner reads aloud a sentence from a worksheet and the Line B partner listens and then states whether it is true or false. 

Round 1B

With the same partner, students will now repeat the task, but flip-flop roles. In the case of our example, the Line B partner would read aloud a sentence from a worksheet and the Line A partner would then listen and state whether it is true or false.

Switch partners!

After most partners are finished or a set amout of time has passed, cue students to move to their next partner for the second round. One line will stay in place, and the other line will shift places by one student. The student at the end of the line should go to the front of the line, and everyone else simply moves over one space. Here is a diagram showing what that looks like:

Notice how students in the Orange line are not moving between rounds. Students in the Blue line are the only ones moving between each round! In Round 1, Student E was at the end of the line. For Round 2, Student E moves to the front of the line, and everyone in the Blue line shifts one position. 

Once students are situated with their new partner, they repeat the same task, then flip-flop.

Switch partners!

Continue with as many rounds as you deem appropriate, each time helping students find their new partner and engage with the task at hand.

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