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September 8, 2016

How to Help Students Speak and Present With Confidence!

By Andrea Maurer
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Many students enter the early elementary grades with no problem being able to speak or present in front of the class. They are the reason that we use the rule: “raise your hand to talk or to ask a question.” Every class is different though. Some years it doesn’t take much to get your students to present confidently in front of each other, and other years you have students who are just not as comfortable. Even for adults, speaking and presenting in front of a group can be nerve-racking. The key is practice. Give your students plenty of opportunities to express themselves and make it fun! Here is how I get my students talking.

    We all know the oldie but goodie strategy, TPS (Think-Pair-Share). Students get into pairs and then discuss a given topic. I have each student share out what their partner said so there is accountability with the activity. I have also taken TPS a step further. I now call it, TALKING PARTNERS. Here is how I set it up. I take face shots of the students, print them, cut around their heads, and glue them to children cutouts. I place the cutouts in a pocket chart titled "TALKING PARTNERS" and create pairs by having the cutouts touch each other's hands. The students can see immediately from the chart who they are partnered with so there isn’t any complaining about wanting to be with a different student. I switch partners every week so students have an opportunity to talk with many different partners. I love talking partners because it gives students a chance to communicate with someone who they may not eat or play with at recess.
     
    Another fun idea to get your students to speak and present in class is to have a presentation mat. I came up with the idea of the mat in an unusual way. I thought it would be more comfortable to stand on an anti-fatigue mat when modeling longer lessons for my students. Little did I know I would use "The Presentation Mat" on a daily basis. I start by inviting students to come up and recite the poem of the week, sing a patriotic song after we say The Pledge of Allegiance, or present their share time item. I love the presentation mat because it gives the students a safe and comfortable place to stand when speaking, and in return makes them feel more confident to present.

    The students in this picture are standing on the presentation mat ready to rehearse their lines for our "Chicken Soup with Rice" Poetry Reading! You can find anti-fatigue mats at any of your local stores. I bought mine at Big Lots. Now I just need to find the time to make it kindergarten cute.


     

    The "I'm On TV" idea is a big hit in my class. Even the shyest, most reserved students can't wait for a chance to present a song, a poem, share their writing or drawing response, or even explain a math problem. Here is what I (well, my husband) did to make the television set. Ironically we had just bought a flat screen TV. My husband used the box it came in and cut out the front to make the screen, and used the bottom portion to create a stand. The students voted on a color and decided to paint it black. If you didn't just purchase a flat screen, any big box will do. Call your local Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sears, etc. to see if they have a box that would work. I find that businesses are more than willing to help out a teacher that wants to do something special for their students.  

    I hope one of more of these ideas help you this year. More to come on speaking and presenting in kindergarten in my next blog!
     

    Many students enter the early elementary grades with no problem being able to speak or present in front of the class. They are the reason that we use the rule: “raise your hand to talk or to ask a question.” Every class is different though. Some years it doesn’t take much to get your students to present confidently in front of each other, and other years you have students who are just not as comfortable. Even for adults, speaking and presenting in front of a group can be nerve-racking. The key is practice. Give your students plenty of opportunities to express themselves and make it fun! Here is how I get my students talking.

    We all know the oldie but goodie strategy, TPS (Think-Pair-Share). Students get into pairs and then discuss a given topic. I have each student share out what their partner said so there is accountability with the activity. I have also taken TPS a step further. I now call it, TALKING PARTNERS. Here is how I set it up. I take face shots of the students, print them, cut around their heads, and glue them to children cutouts. I place the cutouts in a pocket chart titled "TALKING PARTNERS" and create pairs by having the cutouts touch each other's hands. The students can see immediately from the chart who they are partnered with so there isn’t any complaining about wanting to be with a different student. I switch partners every week so students have an opportunity to talk with many different partners. I love talking partners because it gives students a chance to communicate with someone who they may not eat or play with at recess.
     
    Another fun idea to get your students to speak and present in class is to have a presentation mat. I came up with the idea of the mat in an unusual way. I thought it would be more comfortable to stand on an anti-fatigue mat when modeling longer lessons for my students. Little did I know I would use "The Presentation Mat" on a daily basis. I start by inviting students to come up and recite the poem of the week, sing a patriotic song after we say The Pledge of Allegiance, or present their share time item. I love the presentation mat because it gives the students a safe and comfortable place to stand when speaking, and in return makes them feel more confident to present.

    The students in this picture are standing on the presentation mat ready to rehearse their lines for our "Chicken Soup with Rice" Poetry Reading! You can find anti-fatigue mats at any of your local stores. I bought mine at Big Lots. Now I just need to find the time to make it kindergarten cute.


     

    The "I'm On TV" idea is a big hit in my class. Even the shyest, most reserved students can't wait for a chance to present a song, a poem, share their writing or drawing response, or even explain a math problem. Here is what I (well, my husband) did to make the television set. Ironically we had just bought a flat screen TV. My husband used the box it came in and cut out the front to make the screen, and used the bottom portion to create a stand. The students voted on a color and decided to paint it black. If you didn't just purchase a flat screen, any big box will do. Call your local Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sears, etc. to see if they have a box that would work. I find that businesses are more than willing to help out a teacher that wants to do something special for their students.  

    I hope one of more of these ideas help you this year. More to come on speaking and presenting in kindergarten in my next blog!
     

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