Book Speed Dating

I somehow ended up with an extra day and so I decided to try an experiment: Book Speed Dating.

This sort of goes back to my days at

Mount Hermon Camps

, where we'd run a "speed friending" activity to help kids talk to each other. And I think someone prompted me on Twitter to remember about it (but I sadly don't remember where that credit is due).

For homework, students had to bring in a book that they thought their classmates would enjoy reading. There was no write-up, no preparation. Just bring the book.

When they came to class, I made them sit in two rows, facing each other (pictured above). I grabbed a seat and a book to make an even the number and gave a simple guideline: you have one minute to tell your partner about your book and convince him/her to read it.

I set a timer on my phone, instructed a side to begin & we shared. After a minute, the other partner shared. After that minute, we all stood up and moved a seat to the left. (Although, since we all moved, we only heard every other person. My brain is too full with graduation planning to decide a better alternative.)

Honestly, I expected it to be disastrous. They're not the calmest class of sixth graders in the world. But it was wonderful. I think the key was the one minute time-frame. It's hard to tell the whole summary of a book in a minute, so it's difficult to be off-task. The room was loud and animated and the students were talking about books that they love. And as an English teacher, that's pretty amazing to hear. I love how in the picture above you see students making eye contact with each other and smiling too. Even people who aren't day-to-day friends.

So the verdict: definitely try it out. I almost wish it wasn't my last teaching day so that I could try it with the other grades. It's definitely a "lesson" I'll keep for years to come.