Student Presentations - the X-Factor format

Here's the problem: Student presentations are boring. One student is talking, and twenty-nine students are bored out of their skulls. The problem compounds itself as time goes by, and you need a class full of orators to avoid a riot by minute 45. It goes without saying that you should limit the number of student presentations per lesson, but the X-Factor format helps too. Here's how you do it: 

Pull a long table or three desks into the center of the room, facing the front. This is where your judges sit. Everyone else is audience. In front of each judge seat, stick a copy of the presentation rubric. In fact, every student in your class should have one. Give the judges a stopwatch, and a whiteboard or a big bit of paper and a marker for scores. 

The judges should be rotated out every couple of presentations, and it's a great way to give That Kid a place to showboat a little bit in a productive way. The judges have strict rules for criticism. They must be constructive, they must use language from the rubric, and they must offer helpful advice to the presenter. If they don't do that, swap them out and give someone else a chance. You can sneakily assess your judges (or get your audience to do so) using the discussion rubric

The format is simple. Student presents, and your three little Simon Cowells or Darcey Bussells or whoever offer cogent, gentle feedback using the rubric as a yardstick. As with any rubric, you will need to spend some time explicitly teaching the rubric so that students can identify the objectives you want to assess and recognise levels.  

At the end, kids spend five minutes journalling about what they learned, the feedback they gave or received, and what they would do differently and why. 


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