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Making Presentations Easier for Students

written by: lauraleemoss • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 8/2/2012

High school project ideas needn't incite student fear and dread. Presenting to their classmates combined with the assessment makes nervous high school students. Help high school students prepare and provide the assessment tool in advance for smooth presentations.

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    High school students need guidance and structure in preparation for presentations. Even if the presentation is short and and less serious than others, give students time to prepare. Review expectations and show them the assessment tool. Remind them of their past improvements to create a positive tone before the class begins.

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    Presentation Guides

    Presentation guides are helpful for any class that will speak in front of an audience. A presentation guide needn't be long, but should contain a few common parts.

    One, include expectations. Students should not chew gum, interfere with other presentations or curse. State simple rules such as these because not everyone may think of them. Two, include a basic assessment grid. You may have a rubric for each presentation, but when students give shorter presentations, you may want a standard "go to" rubric. This will also show students the basics of how you will always assess them. Three, provide a time-line for students. Although in high school, students probably do not realize that they should practice before presentations. Include how to practice timing a presentation and eliminating "fillers" such as 'um' and 'uh.' Address stage fright and tools for limiting nerves. Most importantly, students should prepare so they are comfortable presenting.

    Finally, include any other information that is helpful for presentations. This could include visual aid guidelines, ways to cite sources and other speaking tips.

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    Give students an assessment sheet before their presentations so they know what to expect. Several forms are online, but you can also make your own. Be sure to leave plenty of space beside criteria for writing constructive criticism.

    Also include students in the assessment before the rubric is made. Students should make individual goals and be graded if they worked to meet them. Such a goal could be improving on a certain area from a previous presentation.

    Criteria can include eye contact, hand gestures, volume, fluency, vocabulary and proper attitude. Evaluate the actual content as well. Another factor is behavior as an audience member. Part of class presentations is learning to listen and learn from other speakers. Part of the assessment should be proper behavior during other presentations.

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    High School Project Ideas

    High school project ideas can be simplistic or complex. Simplistic ones could be asking students to present information from a class discussion, homework assignment or group activity. Complex ones could be structured speeches with partners and visual aids. Use whatever components are appropriate for the assignment and class.

    No matter the project, high school students will be presenting and thus becoming more comfortable with their speaking capabilities. Structure the presentations so that students as presenters and audience members learn valuable life skills. Provide a realistic assessment tool in advance and provide feedback so students know where they might improve.