Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April already?! Speeches!!!

It has been a month and a half since my last blog update!! Time is flying!

As your child may have told you, I was away the last two weeks due to my father's death right after spring break. I am happy to report that I got very good TOC notes about how hard the students worked in my absence, and how helpful many of them were. As parents, you should be proud.

Unfortunately, while students were working on speeches these past weeks (and we did begin planning out speeches long before spring break), some students are not on track. I want to share with you the due dates we've agreed upon in class so that you can help your child either stay on track or catch up!

Outlines are due no later than this Friday (the 13th). Tomorrow is preferable so that I can mark them and hand them back Friday. The outline comes from work we did previous to spring break, brainstorming and coming up with sub-topics. I suggested they choose three sub-topics to focus on (thus creating a five-paragraph essay), but some have chosen to do more. This is fine as long as they keep in mind that there is a time limit (five minutes).

Rough copies are due Thursday, April 19th. I will NOT collect and mark these as I usually do, because I unfortunately planned many months ago to attend a conference on Friday the 20th, so I am away again that day and won't be able to return the rough copies. I therefor ask that you please take some time over the weekend of the 21-22nd to read the speeches with your child and help them make any necessary revising and editing changes.

Their good copies should be done by Wednesday, April 25th because Thursday, April 26th is a pro-D day. This leaves us just Friday the 27th do speeches in class and decide who will represent each grade in the gym.

Then grade 4/5 speeches will happen in the gym on May 1st.

So--this is a VERY tight timeline, and not what I wish we were facing. Some students will breeze through (some are already finished their speeches!), but others will struggle--please take time each night to spend a little time working on the speech. The easiest thing to do will be to save the writing using Google Docs so there is no "I left it at home" issues.

I have given students a choice about using cue cards (and also whether they hand-write or type their good copies). However, those who are serious about competing for the gym or district need to use cue cards. They should also work as much as possible on memorizing their speeches. I will not take marks off for not having memorized, but eye contact will help their mark, and if they make it to the gym, it's essential that they give the judges lots of eye contact.

If you have any questions or concerns about speeches, feel free to email me, call, or see me in person. Some students have expressed anxiety about speeches, and we will be talking about working through that anxiety and I have assured them that nobody will be forced to compete in the gym if they are not comfortable with that. However, it is my experience that it is important for all students to give their speeches in class or by grades 6 and 7, a phobia can develop. Therefor, any student who misses school on April 27th will still need to do their speech at a later date.


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