Senior Project Presentation Night

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SWBAT present their research projects to family, friends, classmates and community members at a semi-formal evening event.

Big Idea

A student presentation needs an authentic audience beyond the traditional classroom.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Context and Time Frame

This lesson isn't a lesson in the tradition sense of the word. I don't teach this lesson during regular school hours. Rather, this lesson highlights the culmination of student work on their senior projects. After all the research, planning, writing, and rewriting, students are ready to shine. That's why I have students present their projects at my classes' Senior Project Presentation Night. 

In this culminating "lesson," I'll

  • explain how I plan and executer Senior Project Presentation Night. 
  • highlight student work in two ways: a montage of clips from their presentation and the inclusion of some completed projects, including an example of a student's Pecha Kucha

Planning Presentation Night

To plan Senior Project Presentation Night I... 

  • Find a date on the school calendar, preferably one that doesn't have any other activities scheduled,
  • Send an email out to parents so they can "Save the Date" for presentation night. I do this very early in the term,
  • Talk up presentation night to students,
  • Create a program template. Senior Project Presentation Night cover shows the outside of the program; I've omitted the inside information because it contains student names. 
  • Send a note home to parents. I ask them whether or not they will attend presentation night and whether or not they will be willing to evaluate presentations,
  • Procure evaluators; I enlist community members, military recruiters, colleagues, administrators, parents, former students, and anyone else willing to donate a little time to the cause. 
  • Notify the head custodian so she can unlock rooms and provide HVAC as needed, 
  • Email colleagues whose rooms I'll be using so I can learn how to operate the projectors in their rooms and get their blessing on the use of their rooms,
  • Plan refreshments, such as fruit and cookies,
  • Get some prizes for the after-social, where we draw for prizes, such as gift cards, tickets to the senior breakfast, etc. 
  • Prepare (photocopy) presentation evaluation forms ( page 7 of Senior Project Handbook) and compile them into packets based on the number of evaluators in each room and the number of students presenting in each room. I always add an extra form and have several extra packets in case I have extra evaluators show up. Sometimes parents want to evaluate even though they initially declined. 
  • Check with students to insure they'll be attending and provide a "Plan B" to those who say they don't want to come or have work or have a school activity that conflicts with the evening. Arguing String Theory Pecha Kucha.pptx shows a student's Pecha Kucha ready for presentation night. 

Celebration Time: Greeting Parents and Guests

The evening of Senior Project Presentation Night, I greet parents and friends in the media center and distribute programs. I give an opening welcome statement and thanked them for coming. Then I pass out the presentation evaluations, and everyone goes to their respective rooms. I explain the two presentation options--Pecha Kucha and Multigenre--so that evaluators know what to expect from the students. 

I check to make sure everything is working in all the rooms and have my student teacher assist me with this. 

While students are presenting, I set up refreshments so that students and guests have them available after each group finishes their presentations. 

Highlighting Student Projects: A Montage of Presentations and Student Responses

I enlisted a friend and former news anchor to film some of the projects this year. Brenda Stanley graciously donated her time and equipment to record students, to interview them after their presentations, and to edit the video so that I could highlight the multigenre projects and the traditional projects some of my students presented at Senior Project Presentation Night. Here Here I am pictured With Brenda.To see clips from the presentations of four students, Preston, Jocelyn, Makayla, and Amber, click Glenda's project.mp4. Following each presentation clip, each student talks about the experience of working on the multigenre project and why it trumps tradition research and why the Pecha Kucha format is a wonderful, creative, controlled presentation format. 

Prizes and Parent Response to the Projects

Students gather in the library and visit and share their reactions after their group finishes. Students at Presentation NightOur guests arrive back in the media center, too, and enjoy some refreshments. We snap some pictures and enjoy the ecstasy of having finished the senior projects. Suzanne and K.T.

When all have reconvened, we have a drawing for prizes and applaud the students. I introduce myself to parents I have not yet met and thank them for coming.