SpeechCraft Class – Class Alpha

Today we finished our third group of SpeechCraft student introductory speeches.  We name our class sessions (there are 26 total) after the Radio Alphabet, so this was “Class Alpha.”  

 Class Alpha

For this class, we do the following activity:

Chairs are set up in a big circle, with about 30 “objects” positioned on the floor in the center.  The students first have to get into the circle and take a seat – but it’s not as simple as that!  They can’t talk, touch each other or any of the objects – they just get into the circle and sit down.  If they break any of the conditions, they start over.  Sometimes this alone takes a while.

Then, again without talking or touching anything or anyone, they choose an object that they can use to relate a story about themselves.  It has to be a true story.  This takes another few tries!  When all have an object, one at a time they move into the center of the circle, introduce themselves, and tell their story.  I ask that they try to make eye contact with everyone at some point during their speech.

I do this for a few reasons: 

  • I get to know the kids and see what interests them.
  • I get to hear them pronounce their names.
  • I see what the “class culture” is – whether they are generally chatty or quiet, if they relate easily to each other, if they respect each other while they are speaking, etc.
  • I see whether they are good at following directions.
  • I see whether they are competitive to the point that they will battle someone over an object.
  • I can see resilience in some students who do not get their first choice of object, but are able to connect to another object.
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About Paula Montrie

I am a Middle School Librarian at Friends School of Baltimore. I have been a librarian for 11 years, serving 6 years with the Howard County Public School System before arriving at my current school. I teach two classes: SpeechCraft (a combination of information literacy, public speaking and theater), and Media Literacy at the middle school level. I also collaboratively co-teach with a number of teachers at the school, including Music, Geography, and U.S. History. I love it! My professional interests are: information literacy, multiple intelligences and learning styles, teaching through movement, curriculum-writing, technology integration, and bridging the gap between digital natives and digital immigrants. My personal interests are: dancing, singing, knitting, sewing, art, living history, writing and of course - reading!
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2 Responses to SpeechCraft Class – Class Alpha

  1. ktenkely says:

    Fabulous beginning of the year activity Paula! Would you consider re-publishing this post as part of the @projectpln magazine for the Oct. Issue?

  2. Paula Montrie says:

    Thank you – I would love to! I’ll tweet it to to #projectpln

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