Woohoo!! My Blogger account finally allowed me to update the editor and I can now post photos and images. Exciting stuff! A few of you asked about the Canadian Olympic mitts I'm so excited about, so I thought I'd include them as my first offical pic. They're super warm as well as full of awesomeness!
On to business.
It's Orals month in our school board. I don't know if all boards do orals, so I'll explain a bit. Each student is required to present a 3-5 minute rehearsed and remembered speech in front of the class. It used to terrify me. I wouldn't eat that day or the day before for fear of throwing up in front of my peers. Orals can still terrify students.
Because I know exactly how they feel, I always start off the unit by telling them of my fears and horror stories (which are pretty awful). Then I remind them of what I do for a living. You have to be able to speak in front of people in order to be a teacher. They always get a giggle out of the thought of me shaking in terror!
Then I take them step by step by step through the process. We brainstorm topics. They choose a few and brainstorm subtopics for each. We debate the pros/cons of each choice. We talk about the amount of research needed for each.
Once they've chosen, mini-lessons include: how to write a hook for an introduction, how to create a satisfying conclusion, how to draw in the audience, how to balance your subtopics so you don't lose your audience in the middle, how to vary your sentences and your topics to keep it interesting, ...
During the process, several students used webs and outlines. Others have cut up their speeches and changed the order around.
From the very first day, at the end of each session, every student stands up and "talks the oral" for 5 minutes. All 30 of them at once. I record times on the board so they know how much they have and how far they have to go. After about a week, they also work in partners (different person every day). They say their orals to their partner. When they're stuck, the partner prompts them & on they go. A critique session is also included.
The end result is I have students who are comfortable saying their orals, who don't need or want cue cards, who enjoy their topics and who are excited for each other to do well.
One of my students remarked how similar writing an oral is to writing a report or a story. Smart cookie. Very similar to the regular writing process indeed.
Although I do a lot of my brainstorming and planning in my head rather than on paper, I do kind of follow this method. How about you? Does this echo your process?