Friday, March 31, 2017

Building a Community of Reflective Learners

I do not remember the time I got over my fear of speaking in public, but I know it happened. Every fall I speak to roughly 2000 people at the MassCUE conference without batting an eye, yet I have friends who are uncomfortable speaking to a small group. Everyone feels differently about speaking in public, and I believe it is important to teach our youngest students how to get up in front of their peers and share knowledge.

Every month students go on a Discovery Quest, teaching the class about a topic of their choice. We begin our journey learning about components to public speaking, known as PVLEGS. Students learn how to use poise, voice, life, eye contact, gestures, and speed to entertain their audience. They have transitioned from being the teacher to facilitator, seeking interactive ways to engage their audience.

If I really want students to know and understand how to improve their public speaking skills I had to create a way for them to reflect on their work as a public speaker.Using my phone I filmed each student for 20-30 seconds while he or she presented.

  1. I uploaded each video to a folder in my Google Drive.
  2. I created a Google Form for students to reflect on their PVLEGS using a sliding scale (1-5) for each indicator and self-reflection of strengths and weakness using paragraph text responses.
  3. I made a Flip Grid board for our class.
  4. Then I created 2 Google classroom assignments.
    1. I shared the video folder. Students were asked to watch their own video and reflect on their public speaking performance.
    2. Then they filled out the Google form.
  5. Students were then asked to share their thinking about their Discovery Quest and/or public speaking growth via a Flip Grid video.

Once all classmates complete their video we will spend some time to viewing the video clips. Students are then going to identify common themes of our class’ public speaking reflections in a Google Sheet.

Hearing a 5th grader’s thinking about his or her growth on his or her presentation skills is a wonderful way to for us all to celebrate confidence building and PVLEGS development. We are truly a community of reflective learners! I hope someday to see my current students presenting to a crowd of 2000! We are creating a foundation of skills that will last a lifetime.

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