6th Graders Give TED Talks!

by Michael Porter
The 6th graders have completed a non-fiction research project, and the culminating activity is a presentation to their classmates in the style of a TED talk.
TED talks are informative, sometimes inspirational short lectures on a variety of subjects. They are presented by people of all walks of life who are passionate about a subject, and seek a deeper understanding of the world. The website TED.com houses a treasure trove of such discussions.

Mr. David Sandlin, 6th grade Language Arts teacher, used this as a platform for students to flex some important skills.
In addition to basic research, students practiced collaboration and public speaking.
They also practiced indentifying central ideas and separating overarching topics into subtopics.
"We watched a model of a TED talk about starting a movement to give them an idea about how a TED talk can be slightly different than a regular presentation," said Mr. Sandlin. 

Mr. Sandlin pre-curated some research texts on the Titanic, Outer Space Exploration, GMOs, Atomic Bombs, Diseases and Illness, and Climate Change. Students were encouraged to choose from these topics and were grouped based on their interest in the topic. 
After that the students had two weeks for research and two class days to put their presentations together -- including slides and posters. Some students did some work from home and in the mornings during Smart Start.
"Students are working hard and have grown a lot in their public speaking skills since the presentations that they did in 5th grade," said Mr. Sandlin.