Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In the wind up...aaaannnndddd...here comes the PITCH!!!

My classes finished the "real' first 20% Time Day and it was a success.  During class I had students go into the computer core and post their first blog along with beginning commenting on each other's ideas.  I must say, I was surprised.  When I view my students I have only seen them or spoken to them within the context of my classes.  The dialogue that we have is mostly content or questions and answers.  After reading their blog posts and comments, my view of my students has changed.  These kids are filled with wonderful ideas and full of insight.  The ideas that I read were truly outside the box and would stretch them intellectually.  The comments that I read were amazing.  The feedback and the questions that the students asked of each other were very intuitive.  I am absolutely enjoying reading the comments because you can see the students really engaging in dialogue and making connections with other students.  It is a joy to watch.  I did, however, run into a slight problem.  Some students were unable to access other students blogs for a variety of reasons.  So what I ended up doing is creating a Google Sites page for each class and only inviting the students in that class.  Then I made all of the students' blogs public, but kept them unsearchable.  This will be the route I take next year.

The next activity of 20% Time Day were the pitches.  Students were given 30 seconds to pitch their idea. They also were allowed to use, if they wanted to, a maximum of 3 slides and 1- 3 x 5 note card.  Again, having them fill out the Pitch Planning Guide and condensing their idea really made the pitches enjoyable to watch. The creativity that students had with their delivery was amazing.  I used a  Pitch Presentation Rubric to evaluate their presentations that my English teacher colleague created.

Finally, I had students watch and evaluate a TED Talk by Jack Andraka.  The TED Talk presentations that I chose to have students evaluate are presentations given by kids their own age.  I felt it was necessary for my students to see that kids can stand up in front of a large crowd and deliver an amazing presentation.  My students were given a TED Talk Rubric for the presentation and were asked to rate the speaker on given criteria on a scale of 1 to 5.  They were then asked to justify the score they gave the speaker.  Our next step will be to discuss the TED Talk and determine what made it a good presentation so that students will know what to emulate when it is time for them to present in May.

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