Every year, seventh-grade students at Harwood Union Middle School (HUMS) complete the Oratorical. The Oratorical is a public speaking event. Each student picks a personal topic of interest and then spends four weeks preparing a speech.
The speech preparation process is hard work. Students are tasked with creating a research question, collecting and citing valid sources, organizing and writing the body of the speech, adding an introduction, developing an engaging hook and a conclusion, practicing public speaking skills (eye contact, body language) and, finally, delivering the speech with confidence and clarity to an audience of peers and community members.
“This year, not only did the seventh-graders complete half the lessons while remote learning, they also needed an alternative form of address since live audience gatherings aren’t happening,” said HUMS English teacher John Potts. Thus, Potts’ class turned to an online tool called Flipgrid to host the 2020 Oratorical Celebration of Learning.
Some of the speeches that are online now include “Why are Americans reading less?” “What do we need to know about bullying among kids and teens?” “What makes Italian gelato so special?” “What it’s like to have anxiety and depression as a teen” and “Electronics vs. Your Eyes.”
HUMS is proud to invite the community to hear the students’ work in their own words. “We are still adding speeches now, but a visitor to our space can see about a dozen exemplary models that represent the work of the seventh-graders in their English classes over recent weeks,” said Potts. “We are very proud of our students, and we hope you enjoy hearing student voices!”
Want to watch these amazing speeches? Here’s the link: https://flipgrid.com/bf66ec22