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Selfish Syrie: Project 180, Day 148

Next week many of the kids will face their toughest challenge of the year. They will have to face an audience of their peers. I can’t wait. No, I do not revel in their anxious discomfort. But I will marvel in their moments to come. They will face their fears. They will grow. They will shine. And I will have the best seat in the house when they do. I live for it.

Yesterday, I revealed this in an unexpected way to my kiddos. Haley, Chromebook in hand, twinkle in her eye, came to me asking me to read her finished speech. She was obviously proud and pleased with the final outcome. I told her, “No.” Confused, crestfallen, she tilted her head and locked my eyes with a “What gives, Sy?” Noting her hurt, I quickly tried to explain.

“It’s selfish, Hale. It’s not that I don’t want to read your speech. I do. It’s just that…well, I live for your moments. I live for your opportunity to rise and shine next week, kiddo. If I read your speech today, it will diminish the experience for me next week. I want to experience it all at once. The first time. One time. Your beautiful moment. So, please understand my not reading your speech is not my being lazy or shirking my responsibilities. It is my selfish trust that you will rise to the moment, that you will face your fears, and in that, you will truly shine. Of course, if you must have me read it now, I will, but I am reluctant to do so, kiddo. I will help you with specific parts or answer specific questions, but please don’t make me spoil the moment.”

And, she obliged. We continued to talk. She did seek feedback on a few specific elements, but she did not cajole me into reading her full speech. Of course, by now, the entire class had heard bits and pieces of the exchange, so I saw an opportunity to make the same pitch to all my kids, explaining again my need for their moments next week.  And I used the same Haley-exchange to explain my selfish stance to all my other classes yesterday.

Today, we are going to engage in an activity to practice making eye-contact when speaking. ¬†Below, I have included the Speech Feedback form that I will use next week to assess the kids’ performances. Can’t wait.

Happy Wednesday, all.


Speech Feedback Self-Assessment


Teacher Assessment


3 = Confident

2 = Somewhat Confident

1 = Not Confident

3 = Hit the Target

2 = Near Miss

1 = Far Miss

Content Elements
Purpose: Achieve Identified purpose(s)
Tone: Convey Identified tone(s) 3 2 1 3 2 1
Introduction: First impression 3 2 1 3 2 1
Body: Compelling information 3 2 1 3 2 1
Conclusion: Last Impression 3 2 1 3 2 1
Time: Hit target time 3 2 1 3 2 1

Speaking Elements

Poise: Appear calm and confident, avoid distracting behaviors 3 2 1 3 2 1
Voice: Speak every word clearly, use the right volume for the space. 3 2 1 3 2 1
Life: Express passion and emotion with your voice. 3 2 1 3 2 1
Eye Contact: Connect visually with the audience, look at each audience member. 3 2 1 3 2 1
Gestures: Use hand motions, move your body, have an expressive face 3 2 1 3 2 1
Speed: Talk with the appropriate speed–not too slow, not too fast, use pauses for effect and emphasis. 3 2 1 3 2 1



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