What does a creamed-nut, sugar-induced fruit paste, and puffed-wheat square have to do with this blog post? Everything. Well, almost.
This week I was given the opportunity to introduce the “How To” Speech. There are two sections of this course that I have been “co-teaching” with Mr. Menghini (my cooperating teacher.) He usually models instruction during the first section and then tosses the reigns on my shoulders for the second section. This method has been extremely helpful, encouraging, and successful for me. On this given Tuesday, Mr. Menghini was unable to be in the classroom due to proctoring the NESA writing assessment. Needless to say, I was lucky that I missed the “proctoring” opportunity….which consists of reading bold lettered instructions to a group of Juniors then allowing them to tackle a persuasive essay…for 90 minutes…four times in a day.
Anyways, the classroom….
The class began with a prompt addressing the school dress code and whether or not it should be kept, eliminated, or modified. The opinions and debate were bountiful but professional. The students have so much passion within their arguments and beliefs. Overall, they believe that the freedom of expression is allowed throughout their current dress code but they do not appreciate being “targeted.”
Anyways, the speech….
Students were given an instructional handout to guide their topic selection and preparation. The “How To” Speech encourages the students to demonstrate something they are interested in or proficient at. Students can arrange to present the speech in a conducive facility as well as provide materials for the purpose of the speech. The purpose of this speech is to emphasize the importance of step-by-step instructions.
I decided to demonstrate the importance of instructions. I gave the students three minutes to write down step-by-step instructions on “how to make a PB&J.” Three minutes later, I pulled out the ingredients for a PB&J and called upon a random student to read their instructions “WORD FOR WORD.” The demonstration went a little something like this:
Student: “Take out two pieces of bread.”
Miss Busch: Rips open bag (does not use zip tie) and takes out two pieces of bread.
Students: “NO NOT LIKE THAT!”
Miss Busch: “That’s not what the instructions specified…next step?”
Student: “Open jar of peanut butter”
Miss Busch: “How?”
Student: “Twist the cap off the jar of peanut butter to open it.”
Miss Busch: “Oh, okay, now I understand…”
Student: “Put peanut butter on one slice of bread.”
Miss Busch: Places peanut butter jar on piece of bread.
Students: “NOOOOOO, use the butter knife!”
Miss Busch: “Oh, the knife? You didn’t say the knife…”
A few steps later….
Student: “Use the butter knife to get the jelly out of the jar and put on bread.”
Miss Busch: “Okay…”
Student: “Now spread the jelly on the other piece of bread.”
Miss Busch: Uses jelly jar as a rolling pin to spread jelly on bread.
Students: “NOOO! WITH THE KNIFE!”
Instructional demonstration = successful…and entertaining…to Miss Busch at least.
After this messy and marvelous demonstration, the students began brainstorming topic ideas for their speeches. They used the remainder of class time to practice writing step-by-step instructions demonstrating their activity.
I used the remainder of class time to prompt and help the students….and also relish in my personal enjoyment from the flawed PB&J that occupied a desk in the front of the room.