In The Footsteps of Giants: TED Talk Examples

Students will begin giving their TED-style speeches next week at Enrichment. Often, the best preparation for something like this is to really watch how others have done the same thing.  While our speeches will only be 3-5 minutes in length, the following TED Talks help demonstrate some of the best ways to use humor, visual aids, and even a script, for your own TED Talk.  (*Pay close attention to the eye contact of the speakers and the tone of voice used. Practice your speeches in a mirror to perfect these skills yourself!)

Former Vice-President Al Gore gives a humorous, but effective TED Talk using PowerPoint slides. Watch his speech HERE.

Author Isabel Allende demonstrates how to give a passionate TED Talk standing behind a lectern, with a script. Check out her speech HERE.

Journalist Stephen Petranek speaks from behind a lectern, with a script, and using slides. This is very close what most of you have suggested doing for your speeches. Check out his example HERE.



Book Club resources: To Kill a Mockingbird

My hsap book club members have been participating in some very insightful conversations about our current book, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.  For instance, this week, we took part in a “gallery walk,” looking at photos of people and places from the South during the same era.  Students watched a video depicting life under Jim Crow, and read essays about code-switching and life during the Great Depression.

Afterwards, students paired up to make character icebergs! We know that most of an iceberg lies below the surface, hidden to most people.  We took a closer look at characters like Boo Radley, Scout, and Calpernia to analyze which traits can be seen from the surface and which ones are kept below the surface, but appear throughout the novel.  We also used the iceberg metaphor to help better understand why some characters behave the way they do.

Lastly, students are finishing the novel this week! For those students who may be struggling to keep up with the readings, they can use free audiobook resources like the one here. Students can hear actress Sissy Spacek read individual chapters, or even the entire book!

Finish strong! This one is a page-turner, especially throughout the trial! And remember to picture Scout, going ahead of the group, watching it all and relaying the information back to us, in true first-person narrator style!


The Power of Their Ideas

WAY back in college, I read a fantastic book titled “The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem” by Deborah Meier.  This week, I was reminded of just how powerful students’ ideas can be, even if they don’t know how great their ideas are at the time. I hope these two links can help you stay motivated as we approach our second full workday for our Genius Hour projects.

Last month, one of my 6th grade writing students delivered a speech on hunger in America.  In his speech, he suggested that we could find a way to refrigerate leftovers and share those leftovers with the hungry people in our community.  That student might not have had any concrete ideas on how to go about solving the refrigeration issue at the time, but a community on the other side of the planet was busy at work devising a solution to the very same issue.  Check it out here. 

Sometimes, we stumble upon inspiration for learning in the most unlikely of places.  One young student was reading a magazine while in the waiting room of doctor’s office when a spark was ignited.  Another, was grieving the loss of her grandfather to cancer.  Check out these inspiring young women and their amazing TED Talk. They are a true testament to the power of everyday people (under the age of 18) who asked questions, sought answers and made a difference.

Stay curious!!