In the classroom, I am always looking for new ways to have students interact with one another. This is one of my favorite ways for students to find a partner to answer a quick question with and just so happens to be a cooperative learning activity, which I love!
Musical Partners is a great way for students to work with one another in a quick fashion that will allow each student to work with many of their peers towards a common goal. Even better, it can be completed using just about any content!
Musical Partners Materials
All you need to complete the cooperative learning activity Musical Partners is music and some questions. Honestly, sometimes I didn’t even have written questions, but would instead just ask a question verbally. It doesn’t get any lower prep than that!
How to Complete Musical Partners
- All students stand up.
- Teacher turns on music.
- Students walk or dance around the room.
- Teacher turns off the music.
- Students partner up with the peer closest to them.
- Teacher asks a question.
- Think time is given.
- Partners share their answers with one another and come to a consensus.
- Teacher calls on one partner set for the answer and goes over the question if necessary.
- Music is turned back on and steps 3-10 are repeated for the duration of the activity with new questions.
Tips for Success
When thinking about what music to use I like to pick songs that students will know and enjoy. I even take student requests from time to time. My favorites often include Vitamin String Quartet, because they have instrumental pop songs that we can sing along with.
I encourage my students to dance around the room, safely of course, while the music is playing. This allows us to get some energy out in addition to accomplishing some review. If there are any issues we go back to just walking, and I model what a slow stroll around the room looks like. Explicitly explaining movement expectations before getting started will save you a headache down the road.
I generally mix up the amount of time I allow the music to play, but it varies anywhere from about five seconds, all the way up to thirty seconds. Changing up the amount of time the music plays for prevents students from trying to be by their best buddy when it stops.
Requiring students to make their best attempt at working with a new partner each round can also be helpful. This means more students get to work together and is best for the positive interdependence of the class.
Musical Partners Modifications
As I said before, this cooperative learning activity can be used with any content questions, but some may need a modification.
For example, if you are working in math you may want students to bring a whiteboard and marker with them. This can present a little bit of a challenge when students are dancing, but I find they come up with some pretty inventive moves that incorporate the board.
Can’t Get Enough Cooperative Learning?
Are you a cooperative learning junkie like me? We should be best friends! Check out this post with ALL my favorite cooperative learning ideas and strategies for making the classroom more engaging every day!
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