Sunday, December 4, 2016

Creating the Pitch Presentations

It is important for kids to learn presentation skills. They don't get nearly enough opportunities to refine those skills in school. Kids are deathly afraid of public speaking as are most adults. In order to get kids more comfortable with presenting their ideas, they must do it often. Pitch Day is the perfect opportunity to work on those skills. Our Genius Hour Pitch Day is on December 13. While it will not be a life and death situation, it is a high stakes event. The very fact that kids will be presenting their own ideas to adults and other students increases the degree of difficulty.

One thing that these kids need is confidence. I am a firm believer that learners who are confident learn more because they are more willing to take risks. These kids are becoming more confident and that is a beautiful thing to see. We have had several class activities during which kids share their ideas with peers so they have already had their ideas validated by other students. Now they have to crystallize their ideas into a 3-5 minute presentation that speaks to the origin of the idea, the plan and the desired result. These kiddos will be ready.

To that end, we spent a block in the computer lab creating our visuals for Pitch Day. Our conversation before beginning was to make sure that the visual was engaging and to limit the words on each slide. After all, we are going to want each student to talk to us, not read slides to us. The art of presentation is to use the visual as a springboard for conversation and not lean on it like a crutch.

The skills that kids will work on while creating and delivering these presentations are many and they are just as important as the curricular skills that we teach them. Proper social interaction, creativity, public speaking, appropriate audience behavior, organization, and showcasing important information are all skills that they will use at some point in their lives outside of school. We have to focus on them as much as we do reading and writing. Our kids will be better for it.

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