20Time Project – Update #6

This post is part of an occasional series documenting my entry into project-based learning. This semester, my students are participating in a 20Time project, a 12-week experience where they choose a worthwhile project to complete (somewhat) on their own using 20 percent of our class time. You can read more about the path that led to this project here.

We’re a couple of weeks away from finishing our in-class work sessions and it’s time to start prepping students for their end-of-project speeches.

On Thursday, I’ll present my own 20Time speech to my classes, modeling what I hope to see in their presentations. After my speech, I’ll play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on my ukulele as I lead a full-class sing-a-long – yikes! Yes, I’m feelin’ some butterflies.

We spent some class time earlier this month studying public speaking skills from Chris Anderson and the TED Talk superstars, and I want to show my kids how to put into practice the lessons they’ve hopefully learned. (Click here to check out my public speaking lesson materials and here for a FREE handout that makes viewing any TED Talk a rich experience.)

After my Prezi-based wrap-up lecture (you’re welcome to make a copy and repurpose for your own classes, though you’ll want to swap out all of the ukulele stuff), I’m going to hand out this speech assignment and then assign speech dates via a lottery drawing. In a few weeks, students will each present their own three-to-five minute speech, explaining what they did and – more importantly – what they learned from the 20Time process. I’m definitely looking forward to those presentations.

In the meantime, fellow teachers who are considering their own project-based learning adventure might enjoy these resources:
Speech Assignment (PDF)
Speech Rubric (Excel spreadsheet) I’m required to use a specific, district-mandated rubric for my classes, which I don’t have permission to share. However, I really like the rubric I have posted. It was created by the turnitin.com folks and is made available here via the Creative Commons licensing agreement. Feel free to modify it to best suit your needs.

That’s all for now. After this last big push, I’ll be back in mid-to-late May with my final thoughts/reflections on 20Time. Stay tuned…

Teach on, everyone!

17 thoughts on “20Time Project – Update #6

  1. Francisca says:

    Hi, I’m a teacher of spanish in Chile, and I will start with your idea of the 20Time Proyect with my 10’th students next week. I translated your material to spanish, and I change the name of the proyect to “El proyecto de los 20Min”. In my school they believe that 20% of the class time was too much, so they allow me to use 20 minutes twice a week. Let’s see what happen!
    Thanks for your ideas and the awesome material you share.

  2. Muy bien, Francisca! I’m so glad you’ve been able to make the ideas behind this project work for your classes/school. Be brave and enjoy the ride!

  3. Margaret Willis says:

    Another fabulous idea😜

  4. teach supply store sells silver scratch off tickets. The idea is to write your message on a piece of paper (ie: presentation date) then cover it up with the silver sticker. Student scratches off to reveal his date. a little more effort, but does change it up. Teen brains can’t resist novelty, and I allow students 1 minute to trade among themselves after.

  5. This is super-clever! I can really see how the kids would dig the scratcher element. Great idea!

  6. Hello, Laura! I have a question: did you use the TurnItIn.com rubric for 20Time this year after moving to your new school? Is it a good rubric for your needs? Did you make any changes to the TurnItIn.com rubric in order to make it suit the needs of your classes’ speeches? Thank you! 🙂

  7. Hey Robert,
    Thanks for checking in with me! I didn’t use that rubric with my latest group of kids because I think it’s a bit cumbersome and my new school has a cleaner, more streamlined speech rubric for us to use. Unfortunately, the school’s rubric doesn’t belong to me, so I can’t give it away here. The TurnItIn.com one will work fine, but I’m always tempted to boil it down quite a bit. Hope you’re having a great summer! 🙂

  8. Alright… so how many points do you give the final speech, following your school’s rubric? I’m building a 35-point rubric for my 20Time End of Project Speech Assignment.

  9. The final speech is worth the same as a major exam or essay, between 100 and 150 points, depending on where we are in the grade book. It represents a lot of work, so I make it worth a major grade. Definitely alter everything to best fit your world.

  10. Crystal Webster says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for giving it away! I’m going to implement it with my 8th grade honors class this semester (if the snow melts and we ever get back to school–ha!). The state & our district released new standards with a more strong emphasis on “Read about it, write about it, talk about it.” THIS will fill that mandate, plus we’re moving to “Individualized Learning”–another check mark!

    Sorry if this is a dumb question: Am I correct in understanding that you gave students 1 class period per week? Did you do that the same day of the week for the 12 weeks or did you move it around to accommodate the rest of your teaching schedule?

    For students and classes that may not be ready for a whole period of freedom, (like my regular 8’s who are 1-2 grade levels below 8th academically AND behaviorally), how would you build up to the longer period? (We are on a 70-minute block schedule.) My gut tells me these students will thrive in such a project, but I don’t see myself just cutting them loose for a 70 minute work period all at once.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience and all your materials. I’m totally excited about implementing this for Spring semester–and a little apprehensive at the same time, especially about my own project, but I can’t lead where I won’t go, so outside my comfort zone is where I’m heading! 😀

    Thanks again!

  11. Absolutely, Crystal, this was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my classroom – and one of the best! Hold on for the roller coaster ride. 😉 And, to answer your question, yes, whenever possible, I keep our weekly 20Time work session day on the same day of each week. When I taught a traditional schedule, this was easy. I just hosted 20Time every Friday for our full class period, 45 to 50 minutes or so. On the A/B block schedule up here in Idaho, scheduling was a bit trickier last year. Our blocks run 90 minutes, so I just made the last 45 minutes of the last day I saw them each week (a Thursday or a Friday, depending on the calendar) our 20Time work session. You’re right to have concerns about your schedule. I think 70 min. is too long for my high school kids to maintain focus. I’d aim for closer to 45 minutes, instead. Hope this helps! And don’t forget to have fun with your own 20Time project – that’s one of my favorite parts of the whole project, modeling my own success/failure for my kids.

  12. Hi Laura! Do you have your students organize their speeches a certain way? Do they HAVE to follow a certain formula to a T, or do you have them develop their own style/outline and decide what will be most effective for their own speeches?

    Thanks! 🙂

  13. Hi Kelsi,
    For our end-of-20Time speeches, there’s a specific assignment I give students about two weeks before we begin those presentations. As long as students hit those requirements (3-to-5 minutes, visual aid specifics, etc.), they are welcome to build the speech however they feel will best convey the information. You can find a copy of that assignment and a scoring rubric in the free download here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-Project-Based-Learning-Materials-for-the-English-Classroom-20Time-Project-1918986 Hope this is useful!

  14. Thanks! And do you have students format their outlines a specific way (MLA format, etc…)?

    Do you require that they use roman numerals, then capital letters, then cardinal numbers, etc… or are you fine with bullet points or “Introduction:,” “Body #1:,” etc…?

    Do you have them print or handwrite their outlines?

    Also, do you have students wear formal attire when they present speeches?

    thanks again! 🙂

  15. Hey Kelsi,
    For the 20Time speeches, my district counts that one as an attempt as passing the “speech proficiency,” a graduation requirement, so I’m bound to a higher level of formality. That’s why my kids have to submit a formal outline (like the second one you described) and the outline needs to be typed. As for dressing up, I don’t require that, but I know that some of my colleagues do and I tell my kids that looking sharp never hurts. 🙂

  16. Thanks! Do you model exactly how students should outline their speeches, perhaps by presenting the outline of YOUR 20time speech?

  17. Hi Kelsi,
    Oh, it’s nothing as fancy as that. I just project my computer screen as show students the formal outline structure example from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20081113013048_544.pdf. I’ll also print a copy that I post on one of classroom bulletin boards and kids’ll snap a photo of that with their phones as reference. Keep it simple, I say. 🙂

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