- Education and Science»
Easy to Implement Class Projects: Newspaper Project & Speech Contest Project
An effective way to capture students' interests is with class projects. Projects can be novel, fun, and engaging ways to reinforce learning or demonstrate mastery.
Here are two easy project ideas that can be adapted to a wide variety of subject matter.
Sample Newspaper Project
After teaching students how to write a newspaper article, a newspaper project can be a fun culminating activity.
Required materials: newspaper pages (as models), chart paper, pens and markers, glue.
Here is the information for your students:
You and your group-mates have become newspaper reporters! You will be creating a newspaper.
What should you include in your newspaper?
You have each already written a news article, and this will be your forum for displaying it to the class! You will also be adding additional articles and graphics to your paper.
Each group's finished paper should have all of the following:
- A Title (such as Times Picayune or Hannibal High News)
- An attractively presented copy of a news article (previous class assignment) from each group member
- One additional article from each group member chosen from the following list of types of articles (each type may only be used once within your group):
- Pictures (hand-drawn or printed photos – if printed from the Internet, you must include the address of the website where you obtained the photo)
- You may also consider using charts, graphs, or other visuals to enhance your stories and improve the visual look of your newspaper.
- National or world news (current news stories)
- Local news (topics may include local weather, education, community, or political issues)
- Entertainment & the Arts (such as movie reviews, information on television, celebrity news, music, and art exhibits)
- Editorial or Letter to the Editor
Finished newspapers will be displayed in the classroom, so make sure your newspaper is neat, attractive, and eye-catching!
How should you begin?
First, plan the how the finished project should look with your group using scratch paper to sketch the layout of your newspaper. Remember that, before you neatly hand-write or type a copy of your finished news articles for your paper, you will need to know how big the print should be in order to fit into your newspaper’s layout!
Decide what type of additional article each of you will write for your paper.
Write your articles and create any graphics you will use.
Glue the news articles and graphics to your newspaper when you are ready to publish it.
Public Speaking How-To
Another project idea that is suitable for a variety of subjects is to conduct a speech contest.
Required materials: note cards
Here is the information for your students:
Congratulations! You have been chosen to participate in a speech contest!
Can you persuade an audience to your point of view?
What will you need to do?
Review the speech you wrote. Revise and add to it as necessary for presentation to your class. If necessary, do additional research to become an “expert” on the topic.
Create note cards with the main points of your speech. You will be able to quickly refer to these when you give your speech.
Your speech to the class will need to be 3-5 minutes in length with a short Q & A session following afterwards.
How should you go about giving a speech?
When presenting, remember to:
- Start strong. Catch your audience’s interest.
- Speak clearly. Make sure to speak loudly enough for everyone to hear and slowly enough for everyone to follow.
- Make eye contact with your audience.
- Be organized.
- Use hand gestures and move around. Body language helps convey your meaning and also makes your presentation appear more natural.
- Explain unfamiliar words. If you use new vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to your classmates, make sure you explain it and write it on the board.
- Invite your audience to participate. As audience members, we can daydream when someone else is talking. Use creative ways to include your audience so they are involved in your presentation. Consider asking members to stand up or clap if they fit into a category about which you are speaking.
- Hold a Q & A. Allow the audience time to ask relevant questions at the end of your speech.
- Try not to read directly from your speech. Reading directly from your speech will look unnatural and can make it difficult for your audience to follow. Create note cards ahead of time, but only refer to them as needed as you speak.
- Practice! Practice in front of a mirror or with a partner so you know what you will say and have confidence when you present.
- Thank your audience when you finish.
If possible, allow time for students to practice their speeches in pairs.
Encourage students to dress up, be formal, and “look the part!”
Use a short handout to keep students focused on their classmates’ presentations. A sample handout is shown below. After, you can compile a list of positive comments about each student’s speech to give to him or her.
Consider recruiting parents, teachers, or administrators to sit in as a panel of judges.
Consider offering a cool or interesting prize to the winner(s)!
- Zombies Ate My Lesson Plan! Teaching Strategies that Will Increase Student Engagement
The biggest obstacle to learning in the classroom is lack of student engagement. This pedagogical article offers research-based strategies for getting students interested in lessons.
- Effective Strategies for Teaching Writing to Struggling Readers
This pedagogical article discusses characteristics of struggling writers, the 6 Traits of Writing, using writing scaffolds, and other strategies for improving student writing.
- How to Increase Scores on State Tests: 8 Easy Tips that Will Improve Any Essay's Score
This article explains the most common ways that students lose points on the writing portion of standardized tests and offers simple ways to avoid these pitfalls and improve scores.
- DEVELOPING WRITING WITH 5 BASIC QUESTIONS - TeachersPayTeachers.com
This lesson teaches students to ask themselves 5 basic questions in order to improve the quality of their writing by adding details and developing voice.
- Public Speaking Tips for the Socially Awkward
Not cool with public speaking? Yeah, I wasn't either, especially because I exude awkwardness. Thankfully, I've overcome my presentation/speech-giving fear. Here's how I did it!
© 2013 Alisha Adkins