Before we begin student presentations, I tell them that they have five minutes to finalize any last minute details. These five minutes should be spent talking about any final logistics of the presentation since they have already submitted their work.
While students are discussing this, I distribute a small stack of peer presentation rubrics to each table. Once the five minutes are up, I explain that they will all be evaluating different students in every team presentation. This means that as a team goes up to present, each audience team will have 30 seconds to decide which of their members will evaluate which presenter. The goal is that every student that presents receives feedback from at least one member of each of the audience teams.
Note to teachers: The peer presentation rubrics were discussed on day one of the project, and are used to provide feedback to the presenters. They are a powerful tool that encourages students to perform better during their presentation since they know that their peers are the ones evaluating them on their presentation skills and offering suggestions to do better next time around. They also help to improve active listening and participation by the audience members. The rubrics are given back to me for a stamp of approval before they are given to the presenters. This step is done to ensure that all parts are complete and that the feedback being provided is useful to the presenters.
I call for a group to start us off, and have the students take on center stage. Student presentations take between 5 and 10 minutes, with at least two minutes for the audience members to complete the peer presentation rubrics. This means that the presentations may take longer than one class period. This is OK. I do not want to rush presentations just to get them done. This is about allowing students ample time to show what they know.
As students are presenting, they are practicing their oral communication skills. Audience members are practicing their listening skills and evaluating the arguments of others.
Note to teachers: In the resources you can find several examples of the peer presentation rubrics turned in by the students. Overall, the students did a fantastic job of evaluating the presentations, giving positive feedback and providing each other with areas of growth. Watch some highlights of the presentations. Do you notice how hard they try to keep eye contact with the audience?
Here are the links to several samples student work for the different topics we worked on:
Life-long learners reflect on their learning and how previous work can be applied to future experiences. Reflective learners stand back from what was done, analyze the experience to determine strengths and weaknesses and develop insights that go beyond a specific project or learning opportunity.
With that in mind, and using the scheme that the students manage weekly in their blogs (see Enter the Blog), I have each student write a blog post where he/she reflects the work that was done during the project. At this point, I also give each student their completed peer evaluation rubrics, so they can see and even respond to what was mentioned as commendations and recommendations.
This reflection happens as soon as possible after presentation day so that ideas and thoughts about the experience are still fresh in the minds of students. Here are links to some of the student reflections. Notice the pride the students express in what they accomplished, as well as the opportunities they mention for further learning: