My ELL U.S. History classes are studying women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  As part of that unit, I had students make simple presentations on a woman of their choice from that era, along with talking about a woman who they personally know who reminds them of that person (the simple student handout is downloadable here).

As students made their presentations, using index cards and Google Slides, their classmates wrote a note saying one thing they liked about it.

I’m not sharing it here because I think it’s a brilliant lesson plan.

However, I do think it illustrates some key points that can facilitate the development of English writing and speaking skills, along with some higher order thinking requirements:

* Provide a simple reading task (in this case, the chapter in our textbook)

* Provide a short writing task that requires students to put something in their own words (in this case, explaining who the woman they chose was)

* Provide a question that requires them to do some critical reasoning (in this case, explaining why they chose the woman)

* Provide a question that requires some “knowledge transfer” in order to relate it to their lives (in this case, to a woman they personally knew)

* Make sure the assignment is short, both of prep time and for doing the actual presentations (in this case, just two-or-three slides, and we did ten presentations each day)


Using this kind of presentation protocol usually works well for both students and for me.

How do you think it can be made better?

Here are a few student presentation examples shared with permission: