Even in Kindergarten, it is important that we allow our students an avenue to present their work to their peers. When students are able to present a piece of work, they take a lot of pride in making that work really good; this makes me want to allow students to present their writing as often as possible. Presentation is also the perfect avenue for students to be able to practice their speaking and listening skills! Overall, presentation time is an opportunity for students to present their knowledge, gain confidence and practice reading their own writing for meaning!
*This step is important at the beginning of the year. Once I have modeled this practice for students a couple of times, they will grasp presentation for themselves. I do, however, think it is crucial that I model this skill for my students; if I want them to live up to my expectations, my expectations for them must be clear and shown well.
To show students how a presentation should go, I will have them sitting on the carpet. I will be in front of them and will model for them how a presentation of writing should look.
"Boys and girls, today we are going to learn how to present our writing! Since we work so very hard on our writing, I think it is important that we have a chance to share it with each other! That is where presentations come in! Right now, I am going to show you how I expect you to present. So, watch and listen so you will know what to do when it is your turn!"
"When I present, I stand up in front of the class." (I stand up in front of the center of the carpet.) "I also stand straight and smart! See how my shoulders are back and my chin is up?" (wait time) "Now, I am ready to look at my writing. I have my final draft of writing in one hand. And, if I want it, I can have the microphone in my other hand." (I use one of those silly little plastic echo microphones from Dollar Tree; the kids love it.) "Now that I am up here and I have everything that I need, I am going to make sure to look at some of my friends to let them know I am ready." (wait time) "Now, I will begin reading my final draft, using inflection; so my listeners stay interested!"
At this time, I read my own pretend final draft. I make sure to look up when possible. I also make sure to use lots of inflection. I want my students to see my model and think of that as their expectations.
"Now that I am done, you can congratulate me with a round of applause." (wait time) "Thank you for listening."
At this time, I will walk over to my chair, so students know I am no longer modeling the presentation process.
"Did you notice how I presented with my 'speaker voice' so that everyone could hear me?" (wait time) "Did you also notice how I read with inflection, so that my listeners would stay interested?" (wait time) "Also, when I was done, I thanked my audience for listening." (wait time) "All of those presentation skills are very good and I expect to see those things from you as you are standing up and reading your final drafts to your friends!"
At this point, students have written their final drafts. Now, I like to have them present their hard work! We have a speaking and listening block built into our day between math and playtime, and that is where I like to fit these presentations into our schedule!
At this point, I have all of my students come to the carpet and sit on their spot with their amazing final drafts. I call one student at a time to present their work to the class. As each student presents, I sit close to them so I can help them if they have any difficulties reading their writing. They stand up and present and I encourage all of the other students to be good listeners and follow our rules for listening skills. After each student presents, I choose the student who was the best listener to be the next presenter. (This is an easy way to keep listeners engaged and actually listening; they want to go ahead and read their final draft, too!)
Here is a student presenting her work to her peers! And, here's another student proudly presenting!
In the end, it takes about fifteen minutes for all fifteen of my students to present. This time investment is totally worth it because it helps my students be confident, proud and good speakers and listeners!
Every once in a while, I like to complete a formal assessment of students' work by using this oral presentation rubric. This is a great tool because it allows me to conference with students about their presentation skills and it helps them plan on how to better present their work in the future. In addition to helping out the student, it also shows the parents a tangible assessment for their child's idea sharing skills!
It is crucial that all students see value in presenting. I can build this idea by allowing students to participate in grading themselves or grading others on a presentation rubric. I am a huge fan of this student self-assessment for presentations! Throughout the year, I really like to do this because it builds both understanding and responsibility. Also, I like for the listeners to be very engaged with the presenter- I look for that, commend it and try to teach it as often as possible.
It is also important that students not just present a couple of times per year; our students need to be presenting on a regular basis. When students present regularly, they build up their stamina to hold the attention of others, while also following the rules of a good speaker!
I love to see my students get excited about presenting. Presentation day truly is a joyous occasion in my classroom! My students really enjoy getting up and showing their classmates their work; it's always good to show what you know! This creates a culture of student ownership, as each student has a different take on the same assignment!