About Alice Trosclair

Alice has been teaching for nine years. She currently teaches English III, English Language and Composition AP, and English Literature and Composition AP. She lives with her husband and son in south Louisiana. She also has hundreds of "adopted" children.

No, this is not an article on helping your dating life, though if you are a teacher and are dating, my heart goes out to you. Speed dating is a strategy to “spice” up your classroom. The concept is to have two rows of students each with a concept or person to teach. Put a timer on and give them each a minute to talk about their person or concept, then switch. Then one side moves down a seat, easy right? Here are some ideas on how to use this in your own class.

1. English. I use it for Canterbury Tales. Each student is assigned a character, reads the description and studies the character. They fill out a chart with the information and of course, have textual evidence to support findings. The students all have templates to fill out as they interact. You could use this for any story or play that has several characters. You could have only seven or eight characters and have the other students ask questions and the characters answer questions as those characters.

2. Social Studies. Our American history teacher used this to teach the Progressive Era. If you have to cover generals or presidents, each student could take a role as one of them. Or you could use this for world countries or even states. For civics, you could have them each take an amendment. Each student would be an expert on this law and by the time they teach it twenty times they will know it.

3. Science. The obvious one would be scientists, and of course you could use that, but I think the Periodic Table would be pretty cool to use. Each student taking an element and teaching it. Or even parts of a cell. If you have some other ideas, please add them below.

4. Math. I know it is hard to make Math fun. I know I am stretching here and maybe math people could help me out by mentioning ideas in the comments. Each kid could take a type of problem and teach how to do that problem. (You may need more than a minute). It would be a great review for midterms, finals, or state testing.

There are so many ways that you could use this strategy. It is fairly easy to use and the students seem to like it. It works when you have lots to cover. This is a bit easier than one kid standing in front of the class awkwardly telling about their project, especially if you have shy students or ones that just refuse to go up. It does require the kids to know their part from research done in class or homework. I usually join with my rubric and ask questions and grade the students as I go. This way I know the information and can fill in any gaps the students left out.

If you want to be super creative, the students can dress up, dress as characters, or even concepts. Sometimes if you are running out of time, you could do a “mix and mingle” and give the kids fifteen minutes or so to find the people or concept they are missing. Candles and music are optional.

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