Category Archives: Speaking

100 English Teachers Walk Into a Bar

Originally published in California English          One hundred English teachers walk into a bar. One by one, the bartender asks them why they became English teachers. The first one says, “I love poetry! I write poetry and … 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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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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But what about the introverts?

I get this question a lot when I do workshops. In my presentations, I point out that speaking well will benefit all students for their entire lives; I share a framework that makes the complex art of oral communication simple … Continue reading

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Never make a slide like this.

I show people how to be more effective oral communicators. Part of that job is to make the complex simple. What does it take to deliver a talk well? What are the essential skills? How can those skills be condensed … Continue reading

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Shortchanging Speaking

A student turns in this paper: many people think that we should not have ginetticly modifyed foods we could be having health problems in the future if we eat them, Some studys say that they cause cancer. we should pass … 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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What the Oscars can tell us about speaking

Are you going to watch the Oscars this year? In the Before Times,  I attended an Oscar party. As the guests came into the party, we were given an Oscar “ballot.”  Each of us marked off our predicted winner for … Continue reading

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Don’t hit record! Don’t turn on the Zoom mic! Don’t Flipgrid! First…

Fourth graders are learning about the Reconstruction. The teacher wants to test out his new green screen tools. He has students speak and posts the video on YouTube. A huge problem: he is so focused on the tech tool that … Continue reading

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Evaluating Speaking

Look around your building. You will see students speaking, sometimes informally, sometimes formally. Sometimes teachers grade those speaking assignments. Now look closely at the rubrics and score sheets that are being used. Each one is unique. No two teachers have … Continue reading

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