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Fear Factor: Morning Minutes, February 8, 2016

So, among seemingly a million other things soon to be going on in room 219, we are beginning a project today for which the kids must select a moment of injustice–past or present–that truly matters to them. Some have selected injustices on a smaller, more personal scale.  Others have selected injustices on a grander, more global scale.  Most have settled somewhere in between. This is the simpler part of the project.  The work is to follow as they prepare speeches in response to the injustice.  The real work will then come when they have to muster the courage to deliver their speeches. Yes, the dreaded public-speaking experience, the number one fear among many.  And while I would like to help my students avoid such anxiety, such fear, I know in the end, it is a necessary step in their development.  Thus, here, I will seek to play the growth-mindset card, hoping to draw my kids out of their comfort zones, helping them grow.  And though it will be no easy task for any of us, I believe in the end, it will be a worthwhile endeavor, and some–perhaps distant–day in the future, they will thank me for helping them face their fears.

But before we get too carried away and place the cart too far in front of the horse, we have a lot of work to do before the factor of fear comes into play.  Here is their general task description.

  1. Select an injustice (some wrong that needs to be righted) that truly matters to you.  It may be past or present, big or small.
  2. Identify, research, and explain the occasion or context of the injustice, including when and where you are delivering the speech.
  3. Determine the purpose(s) from the Big-Six Purposes that you are seeking to achieve (Inform and Explain, Inquire and Explore, Express and Reflect, Evaluate and Judge, Analyze and Interpret, Take a Stand/Propose a Solution).
  4. Identify who you are as the speaker.
  5. Identify your target audience.
  6. Determine tone(s) that you wish to convey.
  7. Consider and include appropriate rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos).
  8. Begin and progress through the writing process.
  9. Practice and prepare for speech.

We will spend a number of days working on this in class over the next several weeks. My hope is that by the time we get to the end the kids have gained some confidence and are less fearful of the delivery.  In addition to all of this, we also have to get to a performance-task argument for injustice, begin a Holocaust unit by reading Night, and navigate through the world of complex sentences.  This month.  We will be busy.  Oh, and the kids will get their task instructions for the next independent learning project as well. Busy, indeed.

Happy Monday, all.  If you have not had a chance to check out the Monthly Topic, here is the link (  Please join the conversation.  Your words matter.


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