SAIIER 2019:Transition School - Presentations for Learning and Sharing

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SAIIER 2018-19
Student Presentations for Learning and Sharing
A project of Transition School


Student presentations are an important part of the work at Transition School. Students of all ages give presentations of some of the work that they have been doing to their parents and to other students in the school. In studying this work, we have a few key questions such as:

  • How do student presentations benefit the children who are doing the presentation?
  • Do student presentations benefit the audience?
  • How can teachers help the students make a good presentation? How can we assess student presentations?

Description of project:

Students from grade 1 through grade 8 were taught and encouraged to present their work to classmates, the students of other classes and to parents. Often, after a group had studied a theme for some time individuals or groups were urged to choose some topic that they would like to explore further and do the research necessary to prepare to give a presentation. Students enjoyed learning more about ‘their topic’ and generally worked hard as they knew that they would be sharing with friends and family. They often made a visual display to make their presentation even more alive.

Through giving presentations children gain in confidence and in their ability to communicate their thoughts. Sometimes the presentations are done in groups and the children learn to act as a team. It is also a chance to challenge and expand on their understanding of the topic by having others ask questions. Presentation skills are likely to be useful in the future.

Presentations in Music (Grades 1-8)

         Performances are an integral part of music class from first to eighth grades. Learning to perform in public, both as an individual and as a group is an important skill to be developed. Students should feel challenged and enjoy the experience, yet they should feel safe that they can experience this kind of work without it becoming overwhelming.
         The youngest students perform often, and mostly within the presentations of their own classes. Short presentations to parents occur every term, and they frequently follow the theme of projects that they are studying during the year.
         At the older levels this is tailored to the needs of the class. Some classes work better in smaller groups, taking on projects in which they choose their own materials, and some prefer to perform as a group and sing songs and repertoire that suit that environment. Within classes, particularly with older children there are often students that play instruments outside the school. We try to encourage such students to come forward, to give them the platform to perform, as well as support the music of their classmates.

Presentations in Grade 1

         Poster making after doing research on a project was very popular with this group especially in the last term. We made posters to finalize both the ‘kNOw Plastics’ project as well to the ‘Sun, Moon and Stars’ project. The posters came out beautifully and the children presented the contents to parents and friends at the Open House.
         After ‘Sun, Moon and Stars’ we started to explore the Solar System and the children did research about the planets in small groups of 2 or 3. Each child wrote one or two facts on their posters. These were the facts that they were to present. This helped in memorizing and understanding what they had to say.
         Some children seem to have a natural knack for remembering their lines and saying them in a natural way. Some children have problems with their nerves: they know what to say but get nervous and ‘blank out’ in front of an audience. Others memorize well but sound like robots when they say their lines. We had a lot of individual practice to take the pressure off. The children also had a practice presentation for their 8th grade buddies.

Powerpoint presentations in Grade 5

         This year, the 5th grade students learned how to create a Powerpoint presentation. At the same time that they studied animal and plant collaboration in Science, each child chose one specific kind of collaboration and created their own powerpoint presentation on this topic. Some of the examples of topics were: shark and remora collaboration, fir tree and birch tree collaboration, how social insects like bees collaborate, and the symbiotic relationship of shrimp and goby fish. The students first gave their presentations to the full class and later to their parents. Through this project, the students not only learned about different examples of collaboration in nature and how important collaboration can be for the survival of different species, but also how to convey this information in a way that others can learn.

Presentations in History (Grade 8)

         In the eighth grade this year, the students worked on presentations for their history programme. After studying the Renaissance period, the students chose inspiring individuals and then researched their lives. This project developed from their discovery that the term ‘genius’, meaning a person of exceptional intellectual and/or creative power, originated during the Renaissance. Studying the lives of these great luminaries was inspiring for the students. Some of their chosen individuals were: Leonardo da Vinci, Queen Elizabeth I, Michelangelo, Mozart and William Shakespeare. In addition to their research, the students created posters which enhanced their written work with paintings, maps and other visual aids. The students then shared their learning with their classmates by giving oral presentations to the group.

Outcomes:

Teachers observed:

  • A growing confidence and self-esteem in children
  • Memory skills were worked on
  • Respect for self and others was reinforced
  • Improved vocabulary and speaking skills
  • Students valued the need to cooperate and collaborate
  • Different forms of literature and poetry were explored and appreciated by students
  • Students tried to write various forms of poetry
  • Children and teachers worked together to solve problems. Concentration, cooperation and communication skills were tested and worked on.
  • Students were given the opportunity to explore their own strengths
  • Additionally, as the children communicate information in simple ways and are helped to keep it interesting, the audience generally concentrates and listens to what is being said and learn from each other.