As a teacher you want to showcase your students’ talents and as a new school year is beginning, it’s important to think ahead about what goals you want your students to achieve.
Of course, we all want our students to become more fluent in the English language by memorizing vocabulary, grammar structures, and sentence patterns. But how do you showcase how your lessons have practical uses?
As you plan your lessons, keep some of these showcase ideas in mind for the end of the year. They can be fun ways to motivate your students and allow them to show off their skills to parents, teachers, and public!
1.Science Fair/Invention Convention
Remember when you were in grade school decorating trifolds? Science fairs and Invention Conventions can be great ideas for your students to not only show off their creativity, knowledge, and communication proficiency.
Students will have to pick a science experiment or invent something new, explain how it’s done, why it’s done, and the uses for the experiment or invention to their visitors. You can also encourage visitors to ask questions for an extra challenge!
2. Talent Show
Along the same vein as science fairs and invention conventions, a talent show will showcase a talent of your students’ choosing. Talent shows can be more open, without trifolds or confined to tables.
Some of my students performed music with various instruments, cup stacking, or magic tricks. The students will give a little background on their talent and instruct the audience through the show. It can be a very fun and interactive showcase for both student and audience!
Plays are an excellent way to showcase students’ expressions alongside language proficiency—this can be quite the task for a student! Speaking with correct inflection, cadence, and expression can be a tall order for anybody.
Add movements, costumes, and other people to the equation and you have quite an impressive showcase! Have your students create their own plays for a very unique and impressive show!
4. Quiz Show
The questions can be on a subject of the students’ choosing or can be completely random, but this fast-paced showcase can be a challenge for both audience and student participants. The audience can merely watch as students battle it out or you can allow audience participation in a number of quiz show games.
You can create a Jeopardy-like show, Family Feud, or a random questioned pub-like scenario for students and audience participants. This is a tough showcase due to its quick pace, knowledge-centric translations and will impress speakers of any language!
Again, either you choose the topic or the students do, this can be a great way to showcase students’ passion, language proficiency, and knowledge on given topics and debate scenarios.
Students can also have a bit of fun creating posters for the event, pairing off into teams, and preparing their side of the argument. After debating a given topic, give your audience a chance to vote for which side they think won!
Maybe pairing off or preparing for a debate is a bit too time consuming for your classroom. Have your students prepare a speech on a topic they feel passionate about! Speeches can be just as passionate and powerful showcase for your audience.
They can be funny, serious, powerful, or informational! Get the audience involved with informational speeches by asking questions, or maybe your student will be charged with asking the audience questions!
Storytelling by memorization and movement or by simply reading aloud can be an amazing showcase of talent. It’s difficult to read in another language and students often feel very accomplished when they can do it successfully—add different voices, inflections, cadence, and actions to it and you have a real show!
Have your students pick their favorite book or story to share with an audience and they will have a blast! If you pick a story with a repeated theme, have the audience join in whenever the chorus appears. Or, have extra students help out in teaching the different parts of this particular story—the chorus, the characters, or incorporate a play behind the storyteller!
8. Craft Show
Have your students choose their favorite thing to make or choose crafts around a given theme, (think holiday craft shows), to showcase your students’ creativity with their new language. Students will be charged in teaching your audience to create their arts and crafts with them.
Not only will they be tasked with teaching, answering questions, but they will have to tell your audience a little background on the items and when/where to use them if the audience doesn’t know the theme.
This can be a very diverse showcase where your students can relay information to the audience and impart some unique new experiences. They will have a very unique souvenir to take home as well!
9. Show and Tell
Your students likely have something in their family that is very important and telling. By allowing your students to bring in an item and speak about it, this particular showcase will not only show a student’s personality and background but will bring about unique stories and experiences bringing families together as well.
Students will learn about what differences bring them together and audiences will experience a unique showcasing of culture, uniqueness, and real storytelling.
Maybe your students are more soft-spoken. A newspaper or a weekly/monthly newsletter home can showcase what your students are doing, what they care about, what is going on in their world, a little comic relief, and their creativity being put to good use in writing.
Your students can choose different roles like a newspaper would have, who will be a columnist for which sections, which articles to write, and editors/copywriters to proofread before sending it out. Your students will flourish with the responsibilities of writing their column and editing the newspaper to showcase what is happening with them!
Next time you step in the classroom, think and share some of these ideas with your class to get them excited and motivated to begin learning. They will have a unique showcase to look forward to after they have succeeded in learning their new vocabulary, grammatical structures, and sentence patterns!If you liked this article, please share!
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What Are You Good At?
(Yes, UC Essay Prompt 3 Can Be About Almost Anything!)
I believe all students who need to answer four of the new University of California “Personal Insight Questions” should seriously consider the third one, otherwise known as UC Essay Prompt 3.
If you’re a student who has focused on one special talent or skill in your life, and are recognized in that field as “among the best,” this is your chance to share that in detail.
However, you don’t need to be a star at your talent or skill to write an effective essay about it.
And your talent or skill doesn’t even need to be impressive.
Here is UC Essay Prompt 3 in full (the following three paragraphs):
What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
Things to consider: If there’s a talent or skill that you’re proud of, this is the time to share it. You don’t necessarily have to be recognized or have received awards for your talent (although if you did and you want to talk about, feel free to do so). Why is this talent or skill meaningful to you?
Does the talent come naturally or have you worked hard to develop this skill or talent? Does your talent or skill allow you opportunities in or outside the classroom? If so, what are they and how do they fit into your schedule?
UC essay prompt 3 mainly needs to feature something that you are passionate about.
As long as you can show why you love it and how hard you have worked at it, almost any activity could be a great topic.
If you are a star at ice-skating or drama or coding, again, this is your big chance to share your story about this passion.
Even if you have included this talent or skill heavily in your application (listing accolades and awards), you can still write about it for UC essay prompt 3.
This is your chance to go beyond your impressive status with this talent or skill and share how you got into it, what inspired you, how hard you worked and what obstacles you overcame to excel.
The most important part of this essay would be to explain why your impressive status matters—to you, to others and to the world.
Has it changed you? Does it define you? What does it mean to you?
How to Toot Your Own Horn in UC Essay Prompt 3
The biggest pitfall with writing about how great you are at something is that you can come across as bragging or full of yourself.
Even though the UC admissions page literally asks you to brag a little, it’s wise to watch your tone in UC Essay Prompt 3.
The best trick to walking that tone tightrope of talking about a talent or skill and remaining humble is to think of some type of problem you encountered as you developed it over the years.
This “problem” can be an obstacle, challenge, mistake, set-back; there are many types of problems.
If can be something that happened to you, or something within you, such as a fear, phobia, obsession, etc.
The idea is that you start UC essay prompt 3 by sharing a moment or incident that illustrates that problem, or one “time” that involved that problem, and go from there.
By starting at a low point in your journey developing your talent or skill, you can then go into how you handled the problem and explain what you learned and why that mattered.
This approach to writing about yourself helps keep your essay first-person “voice” humble and likable.
Of course you include how far you came with your talent or skill, and include details to show how good you are now, but you focus on how and what you learned along the way.
Even if you have a talent or skill that you are still working on, consider writing about it for UC Essay Prompt 3 —especially if it’s something unusual or unexpected.
If you excel at something that many students also could be good at, spend more time trying to come up with something unique or unexpected about your talent or skill to help you stand out.
Based on what I’ve seen my former students write about over the past eight years, I would say these activities would include these popular high school activities: playing band instruments, sports, acting, computer coding, etc.
It really all comes down to what you have to say about your talent or skill, more than how great you are at it.
If you have an unusual talent or skill, I would highlyencourage you to write about for UC Essay Prompt 3.
Are you the one of the best skimboarders in the world? Write about it!
However,iIf you mainly love skimboarding as a favorite hobby, then you need to make sure you have something valuable and unique to say about why that talent matters to you and the world.
RED FLAG (especially in California): Possible overdone topics: Skateboarding. Skiing. Surfing. Just saying.
Are you an excellent glassblower?
Or do you help with making floats for the Rose Bowl Parade?
Have you raised a family of ostriches?
Are you known for making an unforgettable grilled cheese sandwich?
Can you blow tiny bubbles through your nose?
(Okay, you get the point.)
These types of quirky talents and skills could make terrific topics for UC essay prompt 3.
Again, it’s all what you have to say about that talent—why it matters to you and the world.
Trust me, hundreds of students will be writing about their piano playing or singing or dancing or photography. And this is fine.
If you want to stand out with your essay, and write about one of these popular talents and skills, look for something unexpected, unusual or highly personal to say about it.
If you write about an offbeat talent or skill for UC essay prompt 3—skipping stones, hacking computers, lucid dreaming, knitting dog sweaters, etc.—make sure to include what you have learned from this ability and why it matters.
Like almost all personal essays, mundane (everyday/ordinary) topics often make better topics than so-called impressive ones.
I repeat—it’s all what you have to say about it.
More Brainstorming Ideas for UC Essay Prompt 3
The UC provided these extra tips in its Personal Insight Questions worksheet to help you brainstorm UC essay prompt 3:
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time? List three of your talents or skills:
Were these talents or skills the same a few years ago? What changed? What improved? Which one of the three talents or skills you listed is the most meaningful or important to you and why? Does the talent come naturally or have you worked hard to develop this skill or talent?
Learn all about The New UC Essay Prompts and also 21 Tips to Help Answer the New UC Essay Prompts.
If you need more help with these, I offer tutoring and editing services. Learn more on my SERVICES page.