In science, students conducted an experiment to determine whether or not seeds require dirt in order to grow. The experiment was called Seed Babies. I wanted students to have more practice speaking to an audience, so their assignment was to create a slideshow of the process to present to the class.
I informed students that they would create a slide show on the iPad to present to the class. This was met with squeals of delight because they absolutely love using the tablets. I asked them to recall the paper slide show they did to recount story details for the story Mulan. I asked them to share out, popcorn style, the criteria for giving a good presentation. (Popcorn style is when students call out responses without being called upon.) Next, I displayed the presentation rubric on the document camera and we reviewed each element. I gave short presentation of my own as a model. Students were asked to evaluate my performance based on the set criteria. Evaluation is at the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy. They discussed my performance with their face partner before assigning a grade. Students vowed to get 4’s in all areas when it was their turn. All students were given a copy of the rubric for reference as they readied for the presentation. They also used it to evaluate themselves.
All students had their iPad at their desks so they could follow along as I showed them how to create the slide show. I displayed the iPad on the document camera so that all students could see. I showed them how to use the app, Haiku Deck, to add pictures and text. They had taken pictures of each step in the process with the iPad, so they were readily available. This generation of students are digital natives, so I only had to show them how to create a few slides. They learned additional features from each other as they explored the app’s features. After asking if there were any questions, they were eager to begin.
It took students two days to complete this assignment. They spent the first day creating the slide show. They were so engaged you could hear a pin drop. They asked each other if they had a question about how to use a certain feature of the app. That freed me up to work with my special needs students who needed help crafting sentences. It is a challenge for one boy to write sentences, but he was motivated to do his best with the iPad. As a matter of fact, he wrote more than he normally would with paper and pencil.
The next day, they partnered up to practice delivering their talk. Partners would refer to the rubric and give suggestions. This kind of happened organically. As David was giving Joel feedback, he referred the rubric to show him what he was talking about. Eventually the entire class was doing this. I had to step in and remind a few students to deliver feedback in a positive manner. Instead of saying, “No, like that!” they could say, “I think it would sound better if…”
Student Work: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/TfpiR8LAC0/seeds-baby#
I used the presentation rubric to assess students as they presented. Elements they were assessed on were speaking clearly, using complete sentences, and volume. Most of my students are English language learners, so that was my focus as I listened to them practice. Most students scored 4’s in all areas because they had the rubric and knew what the expectations were. They had practiced 4 level work and it showed during the presentations.
They were also assessed on how well they listened to others. This is a standard we worked on previously and an element I want them to keep in the forefront of their mind. The ability to listen respectfully is a skill they will need in all aspects of their lives.
Ticket Out the Door - Students were asked to answer the following question: How did the rubric help you prepare for your presentation? I presented this question because I want students to think about the quality of their work. I have found that most of my 8-year-old students just complete an assignment without giving much thought to the quality of their work or thinking what they had done was their ‘best’ and that was okay. Knowing the criteria head of time allowed them to make a conscious decision to achieve the highest standard.