Students have a few days left before they have to deliver their speech/talk in front of the entire class. Today I want to help them get closer to being prepared for that by having them rehearse what they have written so far and making adjustments to their draft as they work on finishing it today.
Besides finishing the actual writing, students also need to be mindful of the fact that they have a time limit. They are expected to complete their presentation between 2-3 minutes. The schedule is tight so they need to make sure they don’t step into somebody else’s presentation time. I know this is the first time they have been assigned a task like this so I predict that they have not thought about some of the logistics, such as time. I need to help them with that. For this, I tell them that they need to practice reading their speech/talk aloud and time themselves and that we are doing this in collaboration for practice. At this point, students do not have a complete draft so I am giving them one minute to read aloud as much as they can. I verbalize what is probably on their mind, which is that this will be a weird situation with everyone reading different things aloud. I explain that the point is to just practice saying the words comfortably to measure the length of their speech, meaning that if in one minute they have read three fourths of their speech, their speech is too short. Similarly, if in one minute they can only get though the introductory paragraph, their speech is too long. It turns out to be less chaotic than expected. This is what all the different drafts being read aloud sounded like. In this manner, students are preparing for a more successful delivery of their speech/talk, one that would meet Common Core speaking requirements. This preparation time is meant to send the message that an effective presentation needs to be planned and rehearsed in advance.
Now that students have a sense of the length of their speech, I suggest some structural things to consider as they continue drafting. I state that in terms of structure, many of them may be considering shrinking the length, in which case they should do the following:
*get to the point soon
*make every sentence count
These are good things to do whether they are trying to shrink their speech/talk or not, but pointing this out can help those who really need to cut out sentences. This is because the drafts that are currently lengthy suffer from repeated instances in which the writer went off topic or started speaking in general terms. In pushing them to make their writing fit the given time limits, I am hoping that students can really focus their discussion on their central points, which is an important Common Core expectation.
I ask them to make use of all the resources and mini lessons on rhetorical devices, syntax and guidelines.
I urge students to be focused and productive.
Students draft in silence. I tell them I am available for one-on-one help for anyone who needs it. There is not enough time for me to work with every single student or to assist for an extended period of time so I suggest that they come to me with very specific questions. This serves two purposes. One is to help us be very effective with out limited amount of time. The other is to push students to identify the areas of their written draft that need improvement, as opposed to just handing me their entire draft and waiting for me to identify the weaknesses for them. In this manner, they are developing the skill of revising and improving on their writing, very important in the Common Core. Several students are still struggling to formulate their three central points and I help them by engaging in discussion with them. Sometimes talking about it is all students need to get their thinking back on track.
I urge students to work on their draft over the weekend