This is the last day students will get a chance to work on their final draft of their speech/talk in class. These are the directions for the final speech/talk, which I have given students already. Tomorrow will be the first round of presentations. We spend some time today organizing the order in which students will be presenting.
I let students know they will be signing up for a slot on a schedule I prepared to present their speech/talk tomorrow. That will happen later in the period. First, I will give them one last chunk of class time to write and prepare for tomorrow’s presentations. I instruct them to use this time for any of the following: last minute editing, timing themselves reading, and memorizing.
Before they turn their attention to their draft, I announce that I have decided to give them a couple of sources of support during the delivery of their speech/talk. The first one is an index card in which they get to write 3 bullet points to help them remember their speech/talk in case they get stuck somewhere along the way. This elicits major relief. I do make it very clear that they are to write ONLY 3 bullet points and that they are not to confuse this for an opportunity to write their entire speech/talk in tiny print and read off the card. This elicits some giggles. The reason why I only want them to write 3 bullet points is because I still want them to know their speech well enough to deliver it with fluency. The second support I am allowing them is to hand their draft to a friend who will be following along as they present and who will be ready to feed them a line when they get stuck. Specifically, the student presenting can point to this friend when he/she gets stuck and the friend can read the next sentence to get the speaker back on track. This is very much different from having the paper in their hand during their presentation. It is easy to give in to the urge of reading off the paper when it is in your hands. It is much harder to keep pointing at your friend throughout the presentation so that he/she may feed you the next line. These sources of support are meant to help them calm their nerves. More importantly, they are meant to ensure a more successful presentation as it will give them a couple of opportunities to get their presentation back on track if they get stuck. Such support, specifically the use of index cards, is widely used in the "real world" and this is a good opportunity for my students to experience it in the classroom.
Students work on the different above-mentioned tasks. I work one-on-one with students as needed. Student needs vary so I assist them with things like editing or suggestions on what to cut out if the speech/talk is too long. This is a time for students to do the type of revisions the Common Core calls for, revisions that address what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. The conversations I have with them as they edit revolve around this particular focus. For instance, I may have a conversation with a student about elaborating a particular point. The first round of presentations are tomorrow so there is not enough time to do major changes to their draft. Adding a few sentences to develop a point here and adding a specific example there can improve a draft significantly.
I created a schedule with 5-minute time slots for day 1 and day 2 of presentations. I explain to students that they are getting 5 minutes to deliver their speech, which is to take 2-3 minutes, and get some feedback from classmates. They immediately ask if it’s going to be a Q&A session, which adds to the stress they are feeling over presenting. I calm their fears by letting them know that I do not plan on torturing them further. The feedback will be in writing. They get to sit down as soon as they are finished delivering their speech/talk. I explain that we will be using sticky notes tomorrow to write some feedback at the end of each presentation. Specifically, each student will write one note to the person who just delivered a speech/talk in which they they share one positive thing about what they just heard. This means that each student will be writing 26 notes in the next couple of days and that each student will receive 26 notes. I think receiving all this positive feedback will be a good way of wrapping up this arduous task.
I tell students I am looking forward their presentations tomorrow and to spend a good amount of time tonight preparing. I acknowledge that this has been a challenging task for them, but that they have been working hard and it will pay off in the presentations. This is one student’s experience with this entire process so far.