I can assure you that 1st graders are able to participate in oral
presentation. Over many years I have taught K-8 and use it in my
classes in all the grades. It is a pure pleasure to participate with
them as they develop their presentation skills. The students in my
school are very attentive with their peers. Actually I find that they
are more attentive with their peers than they are with me.
I think that teachers who are reluctant may be concerned that the
class might be bored or inattentive and it would create a difficult
situation - hard to gain control. It is so exciting to watch the
students mature and gain the skills that make them master presenters.
I have a carpet in the front (1/3rd) of the classroom and tables
(Studio) in the back (2/3rd) of the room. We gather on the carpet for
any presentation - teacher, visitor, and peer presentation. The
students take their presentations very seriously. I have the benefit
of a very open grading situation with a checklist so no one is
concerned about credit for what they do. (what an improvement was made
when we got rid of those pesky grades) They put their hearts
completely into what they do. Anyone may have sharing time.
Occasionally it is an assignment but I break it up so it is a
comfortable balance with production. It can be a group effort which
allows for support for any who are not comfortable.
Years ago the fourth grade teachers took 4 classes to the state
museum. The docent did not arrive on time and the teachers were busy
with the directors discussing what to do if she didn't arrive.
Someone noticed that the students were sitting in front of a painting
while 3 students were standing and "presenting", making a critique &
posing questions to the group. The teachers watched as the students
moved from painting to painting changing the presenters with each
painting. When the docent finally arrived she was very impressed and
felt guilty for taking over. Of course you know my reaction when the
teachers reported their amazement at the skills the students
I think that it is important to begin this very small and when a
problem develops I request, "Let me model for you a way you could
approach this difficulty" and eventually ask, " Who would like to
model a way this could be handled?" When the grade is eliminated it
also lowers the level of concern and there is no FAILURE.
Thank you for letting me respond to a subject I feel is very important
by writing a few words to support the use of peer presentations in the
elementary classes. It is way cool!
Please let me share one of my favorite Presentation stories. Two
sisters in 1st and 2nd grade were interested in Andy Warhol and wanted
to learn more than we had learned in class. They talked their mom
into taking them to his museum in Pittsburgh when they went to the
area to visit Grandma at Christmas. The docent thought they were too
young to benefit from a private tour. She had to eat her words! The
girls brought back everything they could collect for free and the
staff was so impressed with the girls that they gave them some very
nice prints for their presentation. They presented to each of the
classes in their grade level. Their Mom came back very impressed and
said that thanks to my guidance she could now enjoy long visits to
museums with her daughters.
The best part of the story was from the presentation by the 2nd
grader. She had told how many floors were in the museum and how long
it took them to see everything. A child asked how they could see all
those floors in only one day. I loved her answer!" Well yes, if it
was o museum of Impressionists it would take several days to see but
in my opinion Andy Warhol was mostly going for impact and you can see
impact a lot faster." Now that is a classic!
I am really selfish in selecting this method of teaching. When the
kids present I gain from their insight.
I would like to hear from more teachers who have experience with this.
>Subject: Re: Keep the report an a famous artist out of the classroom?
>Date: Sat, Mar 9, 2002, 5:29 PM
<snip> even 1st graders should be able to do an
> oral presentation. Woody in KC
> Kathleen Shilson wrote:
>> Huh.. presentation at that level.. sounds scary to me. You can talk about
>> artists and show the work of famous artists..but, to have the kids talk to
>> the class.. is very frightful. I would keep that (giving a speech) to the
>> classroom teacher. Kids come to the artroom to relax and to have fun
>> Wayne S