Thursday 11th May 2006
Today started a little bumpy with some relational issues that needed to be sorted. For those involved we stopped all activities and plans and walked it through. For those not involved, they continued on with independent activities. Once you get to little childrens hearts and they acknowledge their wrongdoing and they decide they want to do right . You cant beat that! How easy it is to get wrapped up in the activities for the day and not give the time that is necessary and just short change this process by a quick lecture and move on.
Our next plan was to go to town and buy the few things that the girls needed as props to be mad-scientists at a dress-up party they are invited to on Saturday. We dropped Josh off at the library (he really dislikes shopping!). He wanted to get a book out but he also took along his math and chemistry to complete todays lessons.
Once we got home everyone had to recuperate with a reading rest; I did some pottering around the house listening to on of Cindy Rushtons Podcasts. (If you havent signed up for these audio files they are fantastic!)
The next project the kids had to work on was their oral presentations for the Co-op tomorrow. We discussed that it wasnt to be a large project it was to be a 2-minute talk where they could practice saying what they mean. My goal for them is to be able to stand up and speak in front of people, speak clearly and informatively. My goal is for them to be able to be put on the spot, either publicly or one-on-one, and give good reason for the hope inside of them! This is practice, building block upon building block.
There is an element of public speaking where they need to do fancy presentations etc but I am taking the co-op as an oral opportunity; they get opportunity to make great presentations whenever they do a great notebook page! As they are only beginning in this public speaking I have observed that the props actually get in the way rather than assist them in their speaking. It is something for them to be aware of.
Before they went to write their speech I reminded them of the lesson we had with Art of Eloquence Say what you mean yesterday.
We need to use words that our audience understands limit the jargon.
We need to use interesting and descriptive words.
We need to be well informed and have our facts right and at hand.
Joshua has written about his favourite battle. He is using a previously made lapbook as his prop. Jess has written a small biography piece on CS Lewis. She has made 2 notebook pages one based on a picture of CS Lewis and the other on the characters of Narnia. Nomi has dictated (Jessica typed and helped her piece it together) a book review on Narnia Chronicles. Her prop is the set of Narnia CDs they have been listening to. Daniel wants to talk about a plane he made and a movie we saw about Mount St. Helens. (Jessica, once again, typed his dictation.) He has drawn a picture of a volcano he wants to share as well. (I tried to limit him to one subject, the volcano, but he really wants to do the plane too!)
As the evening grew on I got the children to practice then they gave their presentation to me. I gave them some pointers and they went off and practiced some more. Some of the things we worked on:
- Now Ive got this prop how do I manage to hold it, plus my palm cards, plus not let it hide my face? This is a very tricky thing for them. Considering most public speaking Ive ever had I either used electronic projectors etc to manage visuals or had a table etc to hold things. They came up with a few suggestions that work so that is good.
- They are reading their presentations (even their greeting/opening comment!). So I sent them away to familiarise themselves with the text. Joshua needed to double-space his so he could glance up and down and not lose his place.
- The danger with practicing is that they feel self conscious about smiling to no-body so they skip that bit while practicing and therefore get used to hearing their presentation in a fairly monotone voice and blank face. I got them to practice in front of a mirror so they could see these things (and maybe seeing themselves look so sombre would make them smile!)
By the time they went to bed they were all feeling fairly confident that they had it under control (even though they all want to be woken up early so they can practice some more!)
Over dinner we watched a TV Show that I had previously taped. Those who lived to tell the tale Mt St. Helens. This was very timely as Daniel has just recently been fascinated about volcanoes and I have planned a few activities for him. Josh got a book out with various activities and experiments out for Daniel and we will work through that next week. Because of the deadline in completing the kids oral presentations we didnt discuss the volcano afterwards other than in Daniel wanting to talk about it tomorrow he really gave a narration.
Our other big excitement today our computer man (very affectionately called so by everyone!) came and fixed our computer problems. Actually it was very frustrating as I could not get a computer to turn on, when I moved it to a different location it turned on but looked like its contents had disappeared and our computer man comes and turns it on and it works fine! What is that with electronic things!!! But we are very excited to have our full component of computers back it has been hard going this year with us all working on one computer as we all type so much of our work.