Monday, May 27, 2013

Analyzing Nonverbal Skills & Public Speaking

It seems like forever since I have posted a blog about something I've tried in the classroom, so today I thought I'd post an activity I used last week with my sophomores.

Our last unit of the year was public speaking. They had just completed and handed in persuasive essays (I really need to do some blogs about the writing process in my room), and they were going to be presenting these topics as speeches to the class, complete with visual aid.

We had discussed some nonverbal skills and practiced them ourselves (things like eye contact, using hand gestures appropriately, speaking rate, etc.), so I thought it would be interesting to have them analyze and vote on the effectiveness of a few different public speakers. This is also one of the standards we have to do for Common Core next year (analyzing a speech), so it would be easy to carry over and do again next year (though I will no longer be teaching sophomores next year).

I gave them a WS that had a chart on it with about 9 different things to watch for and analyze: eye contact, hand gestures, speaking rate, volume, relating topic to audience, etc. They had to jot down notes in each category for each speech, and then when we watched all 3 excerpts, they had to rank the speeches/speakers 1 to 3, from most effective to least.

I chose three different clips that had vastly different speakers, delivery styles, and messages. Each of these was well over an hour or so long, and I only showed about 8:00 of each one.

The first was Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) talking about creative genius. This was the least favorite of my students and they unanimously voted her least effective. I still think I would use it again because her very quick (possibly too quick) speaking style nicely contrasted Obama in the next selection who some would argue speaks too slowly.

The next was Obama's Inaugural Address from 2009.

And finally was The Last Lecture from Randy Pausch. My students LOVED this one. (If you are totally unfamiliar, Randy gave this speech with a few months left to live, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer). I wish I had time to show them the whole thing because the message is really cool as well.

So we watched all of these, they filled out the charts and then explained and defended their choices for #1, 2, 3. Like I said, Elizabeth Gilbert was unanimously #3 for them. But half chose Obama as the best speaker and half chose Randy. It was interesting listening to their reasons for each, and both sides had good points.

Then we practiced their speeches in pairs, and I told them to focus on using the delivery techniques of the speakers we just watched. Overall I really liked this activity (and liked it even more now that I have a Smart Board to use. Holla!) I would use it again and possibly spend a couple days doing it, so I could bring in more examples and/or show longer excerpts of each.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Bucket List Link Up

Y'all, I know I have been a horrible blogger lately. I haven't posted in nearly a month. The end of the year has kicked my butt, busy at both work and home. Plus we had our first ever garage sale last Saturday that exhausted us so much and was a ton of work, but worth it as we walked around $300 richer :)

I want to get back into blogging about classroom activities and ideas and that's a goal for this summer (see list below), but until then, here's a fun link up on my summer bucket list.

1. Be more active on my blog. I LOVE blogging, especially about teaching ideas, but personal life and being busy at work got in the way recently. So my first goal this summer when I have the time since I WON'T be teaching is to blog a lot of the recent activities I've done in class, as well as some ideas I have for new ones.

2. Plan for my new class. We got our schedules for next year and I am teaching some repeats: College English, English IV, and Senior Lit, but I am picking up English III. I have taught ENG III once before for only one year and it was 4 years ago, so I am rusty on the curriculum. I want to do a LOT of work on that course this summer, since I am so comfortable with the others.

3. Work on Common Core. We are implementing next year and I have some meetings this summer with the ELA CC Committee. I want to start looking for some resources and new activities to use that are CC-aligned for next school year.

4. READ! I want to read lots and lots this summer. I have recently started reading voraciously again since work slowed down. I just finished We Need to Talk About Kevin and while it was chilling and disturbing, it was very interesting and eye-opening. I would definitely recommend it (not for students, but for you!) There is also a film adaptation that I watched half of last night and plan to finish this weekend.

5. Work with Roxie more on training. We start group class next week (yikes!) I don't know what I have said about our pup on here but she was abused early in life and forced to bear a little of 12 puppies when she wasn't even a year old. She then was abandoned outside of a kill shelter and was thankfully transferred to the no-kill shelter where we adopted her. She has a lot of fear issues with people, especially in or around our home and is skittish out in public. We have worked with a behaviorist at our house for the past 5 months, and she thinks Rox is ready for group class (led by her). So wish us luck!

6. Work out again. I was super active and really big into eating healthy a few years ago and lost 80 lbs in the process. Let's just say a lot of that weight found its way back on my body! I want to get a gym membership again, start tracking my food, and making it a goal to work out at least 4x/week. I have a really nice spin bike in my basement, so I have absolutely no excuse.

7. Do work around the house, especially small projects. We can't afford many huge projects right now. We are getting a privacy fence put in around part of our yard next month, and we want to get some landscaping done. I also want to get quotes on painting the exterior of our house, but that probably won't happen this year (we would paint it ourselves except it's two stories and both my husband and I are afraid of heights and ladders!). But there are many smaller projects I can do, both in and outside, and being alone all day while H is at work this summer, I can hopefully accomplish a lot.

8. And finally something fun: take a getaway to Chicago and spend more time with friends. Since we got our dog and then family issues arose a few months ago, we have hardly seen our friends. We have a wedding June 7 where we get to see some of them and I want to try to plan more fun activities with them. We also can't afford a big getaway this summer, but I would like to take a few days to go to Chicago (about 3 hours from us), since it is one of my favorite cities and there are many things we still have not done there.

So that's it! It may be a tall order to accomplish all of these, but I want to try. I always have such high expectations for summer and then end up being lazy, so I want to make sure I am productive this summer, with some relaxation still in the mix.

What's on your summer bucket list?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May currently

Eep! Sorry it has been a month since posting. We have had some family stuff going on with my father-in-law's health and it has been very chaotic and stressful. So needless to say, my blog wasn't my first priority.

I will hopefully be getting back into regular posting soon. Tomorrow I am headed to a two-day Common Core conference and won't be back until Tuesday, so maybe after that! I miss all of you and posting regularly. But for now, I'm linking up with Farley for my May currently.

Listening: My husband and I have HGTV on in the background, which is a usual occurrence around here.

Loving: That the weather this weekend and into early next week is in the 70s and sunny

Thinking: It is midnight and I have a long day tomorrow with traveling to this conference in Chicago, packing, doing some yard work, etc.

Wanting: It to be summer vacation! One more week with my seniors and a few more weeks total to go!

Needing: A REAL vacation that involves a beach, fruity drinks, and lots of books

Summer bucket list: Because of my FIL's health situation, work around the house, and lack of moola, we won't be taking a "real" trip this year. I hope we can at least do a weekend getaway for our anniversary in July. Besides that we have two friends' weddings, and I have a bunch of CC Committee meetings to attend, as well as maybe some department meetings. Besides that (I forgot to include this above), we're starting Roxie in group classes and hope to get involved volunteering for the animal shelter where we adopted her.