Group Playlist Concept

Our Wellness II teachers wanted to give their Mental Health unit a ‘refresh’ look and feel. In the past, students were lectured about the topic as well as participated in class discussions. Recently, I had heard Amanda Sandoval’s keynote at the Spring CUE conference where she talked about how she has designed activities for students based off of Catlin Tucker’s playlist concept. Hence, where Group playlist comes from. 


In the keynote, Amanda talks about how she loved station rotations, pre-COVID times, where students would participate in different activities at the same time. Then when the timer goes off, students moved from one station to the next. This was an approach that we used pre-covid times as well (In fact, I wrote a blog post about this in Feb 2020). Amanda shared how she feels Group Playlist works a bit better because:

  • Not all stations use up the same amount of time based on the activity.
  • Groups can complete tasks in any order that they want to complete them in.
  • Teacher is able to assess work as students complete tasks. Groups let the teacher know when they are done to do the ‘assessing’. This saves time on the teacher not having to look at the work after hours and it also gives students immediate feedback. Win for both parties!

The Setup…

Amanda graciously shared her playlist template. In hearing what the Wellness II teachers (Ms, Bisset, Ms. Costigan and Mr. Matthews) were looking to accomplish, both Jess Gilcreast (librarian) and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out the group playlist concept. With this unit, we together came up with activities where students would be paired up with another student. In some tasks, students are working individually, and then collaboratively. In others, there is only a collaborative element. Tasks vary based on purpose, time, and product creation to demonstrate competency; with a mix of tech and no tech items. The different tasks are:

  • Survey Says: Mental Health Terms (students are understanding the vocabulary)
  • Investigate: Article Research (students are comparing and contrasting between two different articles)
  • This or That: Myth or Facts (students get a better understanding of what is true and what isn’t)
  • Diagnose This: Case Study (students look at case studies to see if they can determine the possible mental illness)
  • Advocacy (students learn how and where someone can get assistance)
  • Reflection (students use the 3, 2, 1 exit ticket model – another strategy learned from Amanda – on three things they learned, two things that surprised them, and one question they still have.

Below is the final product.

Want to view this in an another window? Click HERE. Want to make a copy? Click HERE.

What I like about this…

We made a conscious effort to have students experience the content through different approaches to meet the learning needs of all students. This playlist has a combination or reading, listening, physical manipulatives, practice, gamification, critical thinking and reflecting. It also puts some ownership on the students. Students are not just consuming the information.

Really proud with what the team has come up with. The teachers could have kept what they had always done, but they recognized that it was time to update it a bit. Thrilled that they were willing to try something new and run with a completely different way of presenting material. Well done Wellness II team, well done!

Gilcreast and I look forward to helping design another example of this in the future with another group of teachers. We will take what we have learned from this experience to enhance future group playlists. 

Again, BIG thank you to Amanda Sandoval for inspiring our thinking and teaching. If you would like to talk more about this, don’t be afraid to reach out.

And that is my Spiel…

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