I’ve wanted to try it out for awhile now, and I finally went for it last week. I wanted to use a smaller «test» group before trying this with a class of 35 eighth graders, so I tried it with our resource reading classes first. These classes are designed for struggling readers and generally have fewer than ten students. Because of the nature of the class, the students do not tend to be readers, nor are how soon is too soon to start dating again generally intrinsically-motivated to read.
They really enjoyed this lesson, and my eighth grade library assistants, who saw the speed dating as they worked in the library, all asked me to do this with their classes, too. Prep: Decide how you want the tables set up. I had 9 tables with 4 chairs at each table. Each table was a different genre. For the reading resource classes, I chose high-interest genres such as horror, humor, manga, nonfiction, survival, romance, sports, and realistic fiction.
I put 10-15 books on each table to represent that genre. Each table had a sign labeling the genre. Action: Students sat at any table. As they came in, they noticed the signs and books, and I could already tell they were picking their genres, even though I hadn’t said a word about what we were doing.
I just told them to sit anywhere and that we would be moving soon enough. We went over the directions thoroughly, and I made absolutely certain everyone knew what to do. When going over directions with the students, I talked about dating etiquette, which the students loved. Start looking through the books in the stack.