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Lesson plans for Term 2, 2021 (Part 1 of 2)

The seasons are changing (if the amount of leaves in my gutters are anything to go by). Term 1 is in the rearview mirror, and what a success it was. With over 800 students doing weekly Head Held High lessons, it was a super enjoyable term for all involved - both students and teachers!

As we launch into Term 2, this blog post focuses on what is in our lesson plans for the next 5 weeks. (Edit: for lesson plan content for Weeks 6 - 10 of this term, read here.)

Our bespoke lessons follow a consistent structure, which provides stability and continuity for students. This means they, and you, know what to expect each week!

Our speech and drama lesson plans are all carefully developed in-house, and take into account the age, stage and experience levels of individual students.

Week 1:

Juniors: Speak engagingly about a random object Intermediate/Seniors: Introduce the 4 speech formats

For Junior students, after getting warmed up with a couple of fun games and activities, the first lesson of this term is all about how to speak engagingly about a random object.

Students will be guided through a process of how to use a simple ordered sentence structure, in order to talk persuasively;

1) Have an opening and closing statement wrapped about a description. E.g. The amazing/simple/useful/interesting object in my hands is a…

2) Describe the object (colours, shape, texture), what it could be used for, where it might have come from, their association with it (have they seen one of these before, used one before, do they like it, dislike it etc)....

3) So now you know about the amazing/simple/useful/interesting object in my hands)...

For Intermediate and Senior students, our teachers will explain in the first 5 weeks of the term they are going to have fun working on public speaking skills. They are going to explore the 4 different speech formats commonly used in school speeches these days; rap, spoken word, prepared speech and flash talk.

Over the first half of this term students will be able to experiment with each of those different formats.

Please note we’re aware public speaking can be anxiety inducing and so the idea is “maximum fun and no stress.” As teachers we will read the room and make sure all your students feel happy and not anxious about their public speaking exercises.

Week 2: Juniors: Speak engagingly about a personal object

Intermediate and Seniors: Explore spoken word and discuss exams

Drawing on the skills they started to learn last week, Juniors will this week learn to speak enthusiastically and convincingly about a personal object they’ve brought with them to the lesson.

Juniors will also do a really entertaining activity to introduce the “spoken word” format of public speaking. Working together as a group, they’ll write, memorise and perform a spoken word poem.

In Week 2, the focus for Senior students is on spoken word poetry performance. They’ll be coached about performance points such as articulation, projection, eye-contact, posture, gesture and facial expression. But above all they’ll be encouraged to own their performance and speak with passion and conviction!

Also this week, all students Year 4 and above will be introduced to the opportunity to do Trinity College of London exams this year. We’ll explain that the exams are wonderful confidence boosters and can be really fun. They’re completely optional though and students should only do these if they feel excited about it.

Week 3: Exploring the “rap” form of public speaking

For all age groups Week 3 delves into ‘rap’ - using rhyme and rhythm when speaking or performing.

There are actually many similarities between poetry and rap; symbolism, personification, narratives, and social commentary. This week we’ll introduce these concepts in age-specific ways.

By being able to listen to and analyse familiar rap songs, students can learn an appreciation for the poetic structures rappers use.

And, we’ll have a lot of fun with the performance of rap this week too! Working individually, in pairs and in whole-class groups, students will get exposure to the basics of rhythm and rhyme. Lots of laughter is guaranteed!

Week 4: Exploring the art of the speech

Week Four continues on from rapping, by examining how to give a great speech.

Using a variety of games and activities which vary depending on the age and stage of the students, we’ll broach topics like; how to speak for or against a topic, how to be persuasive, how to structure a speech, and how to use your body to appear confident in front of an audience.

Despite a lot of people’s preconceptions about speeches, it really is amazing to watch children attack and enjoy them, when the concepts are delivered in safe and enjoyable ways! We encourage you to ask your children at the dinner table how they learned about speeches this week.

Week 5: Exploring “Flash Talks”

A Flash Talk is really just a speech with an accompanying Powerpoint presentation. This week, to warm up, students will play the following energiser activity…

In pairs or threes, students come up with an idea for a talk. It can be as simple for Juniors as ‘a day at the beach’ or for Seniors perhaps a more advanced topic ‘why we must look after the planet’. In each group each student must make at least one point – maybe two.

Once each group has done this, as teachers we’ll explain that a Flash Talk is what they’ve just done, but with a Powerpoint presentation with photos and images.

For today though, instead of using an actual Powerpoint we’ll use an acting game called “freeze frames”! For each point the speaker makes – the student(s) not speaking must act the image with their bodies! This can be very silly and fun – such as a person being an orbiting planet.

Afterwards the teacher shows or explains what a ‘proper’ Flash Talk is. This activity is a really good way to get shy students talking – as the fun with the images takes away attention from the person talking – and we often find they perform better and more confidently.

And that’s just the half of it...

At the end of Week 5 we’ll be halfway through the term. By that stage students will really be getting into the swing of things having understood and performed a few of the different ways one can “do public speaking.”

There’ll still be plenty of great lessons ahead of us though, in the second half of Term 2!

Be sure to check back for our next blog post, which will cover all of the teaching points that students will learn in the second half of term 2, 2021.

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