Author Archives: Erik Palmer

About Erik Palmer

The #1 language art is speaking. By far. I'm committed to promoting the teaching of oral communication in all of its forms.

Essays Muttered Aloud!

The annual convention of the largest association of English teachers in America. The president of the organization addresses the thousands in attendance. A keynote address? Not exactly. More like reading an essay at the audience. Listen to a piece of … Continue reading

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Talk First. Write Later.

“F9. Action” That was Mason’s response to the prompt “What’s your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite?” It was part of a Getting to Know You assignment at the start of the 6th grade year. I had to look … Continue reading

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Teaching Speaking, the Forgotten Language Art

What are the skills involved in effective oral communication? Nobody exactly knows. This is what I find out when I ask teachers the question. We all have some ideas, but no one knows for sure what is really involved. It’s … Continue reading

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Blame the messenger–Why Communication Fails and How to Fix It.

You’ve heard the phrase before. Someone brings you some bad news, and, as you begin to get upset, he says, “Hey, don’t blame the messenger!” In a school I worked at, our team leader said it often. He went to … Continue reading

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Give Students a Digital Voice First

You want students to speak to the class. Maybe they are sharing What I Did This Summer or About Me presentations to start the new year. Later, students will be reciting poetry or participating in a mock trial or presenting … Continue reading

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Can Numbers Be Biased?

We love statistics. Specifically, we love raw number statistics: number of students proficient or advanced, number of babies named Emma, number of hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes, and more. We also love percentage statistics: grades; batting averages in baseball, … Continue reading

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Fake Quotes: A lesson in how easily we can be duped

We all see the news: trolls are posting fake stories. We all think, “That’s terrible!” We worry that our students will be duped. Why do these falsehoods spread? Why do fake posts work? The answer to that can be found … Continue reading

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Student Voice! You don’t have it if you don’t speak well.

voice The sound produced in a person’s larynx and uttered through the mouth, as speech or song. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/voice Student voice. What a hot topic! I’ve seen educational conferences with themes such as “Raising Student Voice” (NCTE) and “Speak Up! Finding … Continue reading

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Instead of an essay

“What does democracy mean to you?” That was the writing prompt I gave to my class. I was expecting a three-paragraph essay about the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens. Ryan asked if he could make a video. Of course, … Continue reading

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Listen to the Rough Draft of the Talk. Yes, LISTEN…

Do you ever ask to hear the rough draft? Yes, you read that correctly. I want to hear my students’ rough drafts. Every day, students are speaking in class. Often, teachers assign some talks with higher stakes than the daily … Continue reading

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