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TED Talks Middle School Style

TED Talks video

Madeira Middle School (MMS) seventh graders recently produced their own TED Talks, incorporating new oral language and research skills along the way.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas and sharing information in the form of short, videotaped dialogs. MMS seventh grade teachers showed their classes Tim Urban’s Ted Talk “Inside the Mind of a Procrastinator” to help them understand the informative talk format. Students researched a topic they were interested in, then selected and read an informative book on the subject to prepare for their presentations. Ideas about what they wanted their audience to learn were written on their individual ‘Ted Talks Organizer’ pages.

Using the Tim Urban video as a model, students then wrote, recorded and uploaded a 2-4 minute verbal report on their school provided Chrome books. Classmates viewed each other’s videos and provided feedback in the form of positive comments. Students could also create a visual info-graphic on their topic for extra credit.

Seventh-grader Maxwell James read The History of Money by Martin Jenkins. He compared what he learned from the book with information he discovered in a YouTube video on the history of money. Maxwell explained his book choice saying, “I wanted to learn more about the people who first thought of using paper money – how they used it and what they thought.”

Ella Garza read about rescuing rhinos and Luke Spencer read survival stories. MMS seventh grader Iris Katz selected the book People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression by Laura Scandiffio. “I like reading and writing about history,” Iris explained. “I knew about Rosa Parks but I learned about a lot of other people who stood up for what they believed – like Andrei Sakharov who earned the Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against the Russian government.”

Seventh Grader Maxwell James said the most important thing he learned from the unit was how to organize and include all the things he wanted to say about a topic that’s important to him – a skill he will be able to use his entire life.

Pictured above: Iris Katz displays her completed TED Talk on people who stood up for their beliefs.
Pictured below: Maxwell James explains his info-graphic on the history of money.

Maxwell James


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