We’re Shooting for the Stars
It’s that time of year again where Shooting Star English holds its annual fall presentations. This year we decided to test out our limits, not only the students, but the teacher’s technology skills – we went wild and added a green screen and a mixer. OOOOOH, I hear you say!
Let’s get stuck into the process and let you know how it all went down.
What did the students do?
We felt like the format of last year went well; students choose a topic, brainstorm, edit, review, type – if they can – then practice, practice, practice. This year we focussed on four distinct areas:
- Foundation: Show and Tell
Students choose something from home and share with us.
- Intermediate: Characters
Students tell us about their favourite characters from stories that they’ve read.
- Advanced: Demonstration
Students demonstrate how to do something that they think is important.
- Beyond: The Past
Students choose an important topic about the past and bring us up to speed.
What did we do?
Now what did we do differently? This year we integrated different levels of technology into our repertoire. We decided to use a green screen (Chroma Key) which added a massive amount of challenge to our usual set up. From our first inception of presentations at Shooting Star, which included recording students on a cell phone in front of our white board, to now live streaming on green screens, we’re coming on leaps and bounds.
How we started.
The students started off with their concepts. We brainstormed our simple ideas and tried to bring life to them. We thought about expanding the ideas of our favourite characters, for example, and explained specific attributes about them, their personality traits, and whether or not these characters would be the type of person (or animal/insect) that we would be friends with.
Not all students started from the same point, however. We tried our best to give the students all the equal footing possible to help them share their ideas. Aside from the modelled writing, something that we would like the students to create, we differentiated the students’ presentations based upon their abilities, providing support at every step. From guided writing to those who were new to English, to allowing the students to share their ideas independently, without intervention.
Ready, set, practice.
You the reader probably already know that just speaking about either your favourite character or giving us a demonstration is only part of the battle. Being an engaging presenter is extremely important otherwise you will not keep the audience that you’re trying to capture. We took the important steps to provide students with the necessary skills that the likes of prominent presenters would be proud of.
This year the presentations were held much the same as last year. We streamed on YouTube. Personally, I love to be able to play around with the technology. There was a load of things that I learned along the way that I’ll summarise later. The students were superb. They came with bells on. Their performances were spectacular. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. According to their parents, they had been up all weekend rehearsing. It was easy to see. Let’s take a look.
This group was asked to think about their most valued possession at home for Show and Tell.
This group’s topic to introduce was their favourite character from a book that they had recently read.
Finally, this group of students were asked to demonstrate how to do something they thought was important. Thankfully, some students shared their presentations all the way from the UK.
Jerry’s Final Thoughts
We watched too much Jerry Springer on Saturday night TV when I was young, can you tell?
Anyways, back to the point. I had a blast with the presentations, and it looks like the students did, too. The reactions from the parents were all super positive and many of the YouTube streams are getting even more views than they did last year. From what I was told, parents were gathered around their smart TVs to watch the presentations. I’m thrilled to hear that level of enthusiasm, not only for the students, but also for the Shooting Star family.
My question to myself is, will I do it again this way? Yes, resoundingly. But there were many steps I learned along the way technically, unfortunately many of them last minute. Some of them in the audio and lighting department where I have little to no experience. It was great to give this a try and show what we were capable of. We took all that we learned from last year, making sure we arranged enough time for practice and structure of the presentation practice; then threw more at it this year. I think the results speak for themselves.
Thank you for reading and I hope to see you all again next year.