Speed Dating

6 Jan

1.Arrange the desks in your classroom so that there are two concentric circles (one inside the other), with the inside and outside desks facing each other. 

2. Randomly assign seats.  Tell students that the inside circle never moves.  The outside circle will always move one desk to the right. 

3. Assign students a discussion prompt. Provide 2 minutes of individual think time, then 4 minutes for pairs to discuss.  After 4 minutes, have the outside circle rotate.  Provide another 4 minutes for discussion.  Continue for 3-6 rotations. 

Single Question Version– Provide a single challenging question for students to discuss.

Multiple Questions Version– Provide multiple questions for discussion.  During the first round, each pair discusses a different question.  As students rotate they engage in a jigsaw where they share answers for their original questions, record their new partners’ answers, and discuss further.


4 Corners

3 Jan

1. Teacher announces three or more corners.

2. Students think about, then write down their corner selection.

3. Students move to their corners.

4. Teacher provides interaction question.

5. Pairs are formed within the corner.

6. Pairs share using Timed Pair Share

7. Teacher calls on student from each corner to share reasons or ideas with the class.

Whole-class seated variation: Using activotes have students vote on their selection.  Pair up students and have them discuss  their choices and try to convince each other to change. Revote on a new flipchart page.  Compare the two results and engage students in discussing the differences.  Students are encouraged to change their position on the continuum as the discussion continues.

Consensogram variation: Teacher announces two ends of a continuum.  Once students move to their position, they discuss with the people nearest them.

U-Shaped Discussion variation: Same as the consensogram except once students are in place, the line folds.  Teacher facilitates the discussion so that students from opposite sides of the continuum talk to each other/take turns talking.  Students are encouraged to change their position on the continuum as the discussion continues.

Adapted from Cooperative Learning by Spencer Kagan


23 Dec

1. Provide students with a provocative/ambiguous artifact.  (work of art, political cartoon, graphic)

2. Engage students in a discussion using the three prompts:

  • What do I see?
  • What do I think about that?
  • What does it make me wonder about?

3. Consider private think time before the discussion, using partners before whole group discussion, etc.

from Harvard’s Project Zero

Stand Up! Hand Up! Pair Up!

17 Dec

1. Students stand up with hand up in the air.

2. Students pair up with closest person not in their team.

3. Students put hand down once partner is found.

4. Teacher designates which partner will begin.

5. Teacher asks question.

6. Students share with partner.

from Cooperative Learning by Spencer Kagan