Tucson, AZ – April 25, 2011

Every few years, a well-publicized list of the top fears cited by the public is touted on various media outlets. Public speaking nearly always tops the list, followed by lesser fears such as the fear of heights, illness, flying, and even death.

Starting in preschool and kindergarten, students are prompted to publicly share weekend news and items of interest through show and tell or sharing times. Students at many schools also regularly take turns in reading the morning announcements, and many K-12 class projects now include a public presentation component. The goal is clear: If students can become comfortable with public speaking at a young age, they are less likely to experience anxiety when presenting or speaking up in class in the future. The benefits of being at ease when speaking in public are many. Teachers cite increased student self-esteem and confidence, as well as the ability to demonstrate leadership, critical thinking, and preparation skills.

There are many ways to incorporate public speaking into the curriculum through the use of plays, classroom skits, role-playing, reviews, debates, the sharing of current events, science experiment debriefings, and other ideas. For homeschooled students, opportunities for public speaking can present more of a challenge. In such cases, local or regional homeschool groups can meet for student debates and presentations. If homeschool groups aren’t available, many students find opportunities for public speaking through their local churches or other places of worship (weekly readings, etc.), community theater, leading book discussions at the local library, and other ideas.

This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org is featuring resources on incorporating public speaking into the curriculum and honing student public speaking skills. Peggy’s Corner examines additional public speaking resources and Peggy discusses important things to consider when tackling sensitive topics like this in the classroom. Both columns stress the value of presenting topics throughout the disciplines. Additional resources on the topic are presented and discussed on the Gateway’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheGateway.org) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/Gatewaytoskills) pages. Be sure to visit those pages regularly.

Discussions continue on last week’s theme of the Holocaust on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.

Resources covered in this week’s columns include:

Daily Book Boosts
Subjects: English Language Arts, Public Speaking
Grade: 3-5
Each day at the end of their independent reading time, students give Book Boosts, which are one-minute raves about books they’ve read. These Book Boosts are easy ways to suggest a multitude of titles to students, and they act as a way for students to have something to think about as they read. It’s also a great way to get students used to getting up and speaking in front of their peers. This activity is a product of ReadWriteThink, which offers free reading and language arts lesson plans. Each lesson is peer-reviewed by teachers and members of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). This lesson is aligned to NCTE/IRA Content Standards.

Impromptu Speeches
Subjects: English, Public Speaking
Grade: 9-12
An impromptu speech is delivered without preparation or thought ahead of time. In this lesson, students will hone their quick-thinking skills as they formulate an impromptu speech about a given topic. This lesson was produced by Scholastic, publishers of trade books and educational titles, as well as lessons, teaching resources, and other products.

How to Teach Students to Present an Oral Report http://www.thegateway.org/browse/dcrecord.2011-04-04.7419507271
Subjects: English Language Arts, Public Speaking, Research Skills
Grade: 6
In this lesson, students will recognize how to research and present an oral report. Students learn about ways to capture their audience’s attention, report organization, and ways to support their main points. This lesson is offered by Hot Chalk, a free online learning management system designed specifically for K-12 educators. Hot Chalk also offers free lesson plans and educational activities for teachers and students.

About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills

The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.

About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks

Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.

About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner

Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!

About the GLRC

The Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) is a public-private collaboration which brings to fruition ongoing work between JES & Co., a U.S. 501(c)(3) education research organization, corporate sponsors and education agencies worldwide. Leading the initial corporate involvement are founding worldwide partners Microsoft, Cisco, Cengage/Gale, the National Education Association (NEA), and other leading corporations in process. The GLRC ties together several significant semantic web technologies developed through funding from the National Science Foundation and is designed to support cyber learning. The GLRC supports the implementation of the mapping of major collections of learning resources in systems around the world to the machine-readable expressions of the learning outcomes based on the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) modeling and technical framework. The work will implement the international linking of those resources through trans-jurisdictional mapping of learning outcomes by means of Semantic Web/Linked Data principles for teacher/learner access and use. For more information about the GLRC, contact Terry Smithson at TerryS@JESandCo.org or visit us www.JESandCo.org.
About JES & Co.

JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.

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