All Good Things

A few years back, I was grousing with colleagues about an upcoming week of fourth-quarter speech evaluations when a friend in the history department gave me one of those duh-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments. (Thanks, S.W.!)

Instead of scheduling a full week of student presentations (8 speakers per day x 4 days = all 32 kids done but I’m wrung out), he wisely suggested I spread the speeches over a month. His obvious fix worked like a charm.


Call me weird, but I now enjoy student speech assignments. It’s fun to sit in the audience and have a student educate and entertain the class for a few minutes – not to mention, I love not having any prep work on the night before speech days. Just keepin’ it real, folks. But, as with that divine pink box from the Donut Shop, there’s only so many sweet treats I can consume before I start to feel ill. By sliding to a once-per-week serving of student speeches, I’m now able to enjoy each fresh batch and the audience members, who have sat through more than their share of pained student presentations over the years, also seem to appreciate this rationed approach.

Facing presentation fatigue? Just slide around that calendar until it works for you.

Teach on, everyone!

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Angela Houston
Angela Houston
8 years ago

I love this idea. We would have a few students speak every Friday. This made Fridays more enjoyable and broke up the monotony. The students in the audience would write down three things they learned from the presentation and critique the speaker using a rubric. After the speaker was finished speaking, the audience would have to tell one thing they learned and give one thing the speaker did well according to the rubric. The audience would then give one item for growth evoking feedback. This helped the students in the audience and the speaker know what to do and what not to do when giving a speech. Spreading the speeches out over a month also helped the students retain the skills instead of just doing all of the presentations in one week.

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Angela Houston

Thanks for commenting, Angela. I agree! Much better to chew on a few each Friday, which allows for reflection and feedback, instead of turning and burning through everyone’s presentations so quickly that the comments are lost/too thin to be helpful. Love that you do this, too!

8 years ago

Hi Laura,

Let me start by saying that I love all of your posts and products on TpT! I am a veteran teacher of over ten year who stepped out of the classroom this year to be a district ELA coach, and I might be going back next year to teach high school, which I have never done. Any tips on what to do during the first week of school? I know I can handle all the teaching, but I was wondering what you do to break the ice and get into the groove of the year. Since my experience has always been with elementary students, I feel a bit lost. Thanks so much!

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Hey Stephanie,
Thanks so much for reaching out to me. From elementary to high school? That’s quite a change! For the first day, I like to set a fun, but focused tone, using the memes that I discussed in an earlier post here: https://laurarandazzo.wpengine.com/2014/08/01/meme-me-up-scotty/

The memes get laughs while giving me talking points about how I like to run the show. Also, that first week is all about setting up my daily routines, with the M.U.G. Shot Mondays, Lit. Term Tuesdays, Words on Wed., and Sustained Silent Reading (S.S.R.) on Fridays.

My teens have five other classes and are pretty much burned out on the name games and typical ice-breakers. They’re ready to work in that first week and I like to set a clear, rigorous bar right from the start. By the end of that first week, we’re well on our way into Colonialism. This pedal-to-the-metal approach works well for my classroom, but other folks will want to start with a different plan. Whatever best fits your personality and helps set the tone you want is the right move for you.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your summer because Fall 2015 will be here before we know it!
🙂 Laura

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