Using Media to Improve Presentation and Oral Language Skills

 In Elementary, Lessons and Ideas, Media Literate Parenting, Neil Andersen, Professional Development, Secondary

Using Media to Improve Presentation and Oral Language Skills

by Sandra Germano, Grade 4/5, Toronto District School Board

The purpose of this lesson is for students to gain a better understanding of the codes and conventions of presentation and oral language skills by viewing and critiquing popular authors reading from their texts.  We viewed presentations by J.K. Rowling,  Rick Riordan, and Robert Munsch.Materials needed: data projector, computer, viewing guide pages (Appendices A & B)

Key Concepts addressed in this activity:

Each medium has a unique aesthetic that helps determine what is effective and pleasing.
Media texts’ form and content combine to communicate meaning.

1. Before: Pre-teach the codes and conventions of presentation and oral language skills to the students in advance. Review the codes and conventions with the students:

Presentation skills
* uses appropriate facial expressions and gestures
* uses effective facial expressions and gestures
* makes eye contact with the audience

Oral language skills
* speaks clearly
* uses expression in their voice(s) (inflection, pitch, pace)
* varies volume and tone of voice

Video record students making an oral presentation (individually or in pairs).  Tell the students that they will be watching the video and critiquing themselves and a friend using the codes and conventions of presentation and oral language skills.  These videos can them be used after doing this lesson on a different day.
Explain that the students will be viewing and assessing the skills of three authors as they read a selection from their books.  The students will be critiquing the presentation and oral language skills of the authors using a viewing guide.

2. During:

The teacher will begin by modeling how to complete the viewing guide.  This could be done using a document camera and data projector or by editing the viewing guide on the computer and projecting this with the data projector.  Make reference to the codes and conventions of presentation and oral language skills as you model completing the viewing guide.

Next, view one author reading and fill out the viewing guide.  View the video at least one more time to allow students to complete the viewing guide effectively.  View the remaining authors and have the students evaluate each author, allowing the students to view the presentations at least twice.

Once the viewing guides are complete, have the students rate the authors’ presentations from the most to least effective.

Ask questions such as:

Why did you like one author’s reading more than another reading?
Which codes and conventions did the authors use well?
Which codes and conventions could the authors improve on?
How could they improve their presentation and oral language skills?

3. After:

This lesson was very effective, as the students were easily able to connect the codes and conventions to the authors’ presentations.  They were able to identify which codes and conventions were used well and which were not.

4. Evaluation:

It is best to follow up on this activity by having the students then critique their own video-recorded oral presentations.  Use a similar viewing guide as the one they used during this lesson.  It is also effective for the students to critique a classmate.  For both the self-critique and the peer-critique, the students should reflect on what they did well and on how they can improve their presentation and oral language skills.


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