With all my focus (especially when it comes to this blog) going to my pregnancy, I really haven't taken time to write about work and some of the great moments I have experienced with my students. At the end of this school year, I will not be returning to Sunset Ridge Middle School. I am going to try this stay-at-home-mom thing out (not going to lie, I am actually VERY nervous about it, but more on that in a different post). I have been teaching for the past 6 years, and I really love what I do.
Yes, there are those crazy situations... like this week when the 7th graders decided to create water balloons from condoms, or when another student came to school intoxicated and threw up in my friend's classroom in the early hours of the day. But let's be honest, those just add to the spice that is the middle school life, and we just have to laugh about it (after we have put on our teacher faces and dealt firmly with the situation. haha).
But I want to especially remember the WOW moments. The moments when I was a small part in helping a student see their great potential and grow in ways they never thought possible. This last unit my honor's students completed brought many of those WOW moments, and I want to share the impact it has had on my kids and well as on myself.
What is TED?
Check out TED talks at ted.com. There are hundreds of posted videos on a wide range of topics.
As a class, we've watched many of the videos and analyzed various aspects of the genre. We looked at the content and how the speeches were written. We noticed how the presenters used elements of storytelling and information to instruct and captivate their audience. And we even discussed the presence of body language, voice inflections, and effective visuals/props in the videos. After all that, students chose a topic they felt was personally inspiring, and they got to work writing and practicing their own TED-type talks.
Wow Moments in the Process
It just brings joy to your heart to hear a student get excited about their topics and speeches.
I especially felt a sense of pride for those students who are naturally more reserved and nervous to present. One student who has social anxiety chose to research and present a TED speech on social anxiety. I saw her blossom! When I told students that they needed to write 1,000 words for their speech, this student came up to me and admitted that she had already written her ideas...and they were about 2,000 words! Haha. Researching a topic that was a personal difficulty helped her take control of her anxiety and conquer it. It was an amazing sight to see.
Another student came in one day and told me, "Mrs. Macey. I had my whole speech written, but I wasn't super happy with how it all flowed. Then last night I was having a sleep over with a friend and we were talking about our TED talks. Suddenly, it all clicked and I ended up rewriting my entire speech at midnight last night. I love it now!" Haha! Ok, let's just take a minute to realize how awesome this is:
TED day Successes!
And then the actual presentation day was AMAZING!
I can't lie, I had nightmares the night before, and I'm pretty sure my nerves even caused me to throw up in the morning (although, I guess I could blame that on the pregnancy).
But everything ran smoothly and my students ROCKED their presentations! Small groups of students (3-4) went to another classroom to present. I dropped by each classroom to snap some pictures and listen to parts of the presentation. Honestly, I wish I had been able to listen to them all. After they all finished, they returned to my classroom and we talked about our successes and things we learned. The big take aways were:
Finally, I was surprised to learn that a few students even volunteered to give their presentations again when it wasn't required. My friend who teaches Biology said that a few students later in the day offered to present, and she was really impressed with their preparation, especially since it was last-minute.
All in all, I left today with a full heart. It is nice to know that I am making a difference and leaving some powerful lessons as I end my career as a middle school teacher.
Andrew and Maichael
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