Tina Schuster Chavez, humanities teacher, defines presentations of learning and explains the steps to creating one that fosters students growth all while showcasing their hard work.
[INTRO SOUND] Presentations of learning, or PLLs, as we call them, are really a rite of passage for students. They happen either at the end of a semester or at the end of an academic year or sometimes at the end of each semester. And they’re a chance for students to showcase their learning, and also to say that they’re ready to move on to the next stage of their academic career.
Because of the audience being family members or community members or teachers, it’s all people who really care deeply about the students’ learning. And as a result of that audience, the quality of students’ presentations really goes up because it’s not just something where it’s an audience for one person. It’s an audience for a group of people who really care about them in a public way.
When planning a presentation of learning, the first thing to do is decide on a date. Then you schedule for the panel to come in. So the panel is between two to five people. It consists of parents, teachers, community members. And often the students will also have other student peers in the audience as well.
The presentations of learning themselves can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. So they need to select which work they’re proud of over the semester over the year. And then they’ll need to pick the evidence that they’re going to bring to the presentation that will help really highlight that work. You want to build the time into the schedule so that students can practice in front of their peers and receive critique from their peers, as well as the teacher on the presentations.
And then the students are ready to actually present their work. So in the presentation of learning, the students end up sharing their evidence. They share their growth. They share what they want to work on. And then at the end, the panel, as well as the student, celebrates the work that they’ve shown.
As the students are personalizing their presentations, you can encourage them to highlight their key learnings and focus on their goals that they had set for themselves over the semester, as well as their experiences that they’ve had. And then the last thing is really a logistical piece of advice, which is a way to avoid PLL fatigue.
The day can seem really long if you don’t schedule in breaks. So I recommend scheduling breaks– having food available, maybe water– and then also preparing your students in the audience, as well as the panelists. So letting them know what the schedule looks like, how you want them to ask questions, when that’s going to happen. Or if it’s going to be a discussion, what that discussion looks like afterwards.