Friday Freebie

As part of my own development, I decided that I wanted a place to store resources in a central place that I could easily access from any location, irrespective of whether I was in my own classroom, someone else’s classroom or at home. I like the convenience of Google Drive, however, I did not want to have to go through the process of signing into my own account on someone else’s computer.

This line of thinking led me, in part, to set up my website and add a link on the homepage to my public resources folder within Google Drive that is set so that anyone can view and download the resources contained therein. The resource I want to draw attention to in this article is called Powerpoint Karaoke. I must acknowledge that this is not an original idea. I first came across Powerpoint Karaoke at FlipConAus in 2015 when Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann ran it as part of the Social Dinner.

Essentially, it is about delivering an impromptu speech. The catch is that as the speaker, you do not know your topic until you walk into the room (speakers wait in a separate from the audience). The second catch is that not only do you need to present an impromptu speech on an unknown topic but that you need to weave into your speech six images, each of which appears on a separate slide and you do not know what the image is until you move to that slide. I put myself down to take part for some fun and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have taken that premise and modified for my current Stage Three class. I have pasted below the overview/instructions within the Powerpoint Karaoke slide deck I have made available to anyone.

Powerpoint Karaoke is a short way of encouraging students to practice their public speaking skills and their ability to think on their feet in a fun situation. I explicitly tell my students that this is a fun task with no marks or pressure attached to it and that it is simply to give them more chances to practice speaking in front of a crowd. There are currently two Cycles of speeches, with students selected at random for both.

Cycle A
The topic of their speech is not revealed until they stand up and come to the front of the room. They have thirty seconds to think about the topic. Then they are shown the first of three random images that must be included contextually into their speech somehow. The format of the slide deck is a blank slide, the topic slide followed by three images, one on each slide. Students do not know what the image is until it appears on the screen.

Cycle B
Cycle B is a series of persuasive speeches, with the speaker required to speak for or against the topic, as designated by the teacher, that appears on their slide. There are no images for this cycle, only the topic. The format of Cycle B is blank slide, topic slide, blank slide, topic slide etc.

The vast majority of students love this task and are always asking if we can do some more of it. I have also asked students to prepare powerpoint karaoke slide decks for me, to show that I am willing to take part as well and have delivered an impromptu speech using all of the images in the first ten sets using a random topic provided by a student at the time. I set an expectation of speeches of one minute in length when introducing this activity to my class. You can adapt it to suit your context.

I use this every day with my students and it has fast become a favourite. I have also introduced it to the stage as a time filler when appropriate such as waiting for a presenter to set up, or when waiting for another class to arrive for a whole-Stage event. There are, at the time of writing, twenty-nine sets of Cycle A speeches and twenty-four persuasive topics, though I do plan to continue to grow and expand the slide deck.

Feel free to share the joy of impromptu speaking with anyone. The activity can be adapted easily for different age groups and can be a lot of fun.

View and download the slide deck from my Google Drive Public Resources folder or from this article by clicking here.