Public Speaking in the 1st Grade

Imagine being in the 1st grade and delivering your very first presentation in front of other people. The topic is you—sharing who you are, where you’re from, what you like, who is important in your life, where you’ve been and so forth. That’s exactly what 1st graders have been up to this week as they’ve begun their “Me I Am” presentations!

Each day this week and through the rest of the month in Ms. Veronica Wachter’s and Ms. Robin Campbell’s first grade classrooms, one lucky student stands at the front of the class for what some experience as their first public speaking appearance. Each presenter is paired with a poster they’ve created that includes photos and pictures that represent them. With wands and presentation pointers in hand, they talk about who they are in front of their attentive peers while pointing to the relevant pictures.

In the listening role, students are learning presentation etiquette. They’re reminded to quietly listen to respect the person speaking. Once the presenter completes their remarks, they ask for and respond to questions followed by audience members sharing about what they have in common with the fellow 1st grader while also stating some of their differences. “You’ve been to the ocean and I’ve been to the lake,” one remarked.

Ms. Wachter asked, “Can you still be friends?”

“Yes!” the students chimed. First graders are learning an important lesson: that we can still be friends with one another even if we have differences; we can celebrate and appreciate our differences.

The end of the talks offers a time for compliments for the presenter. As the speaker hears the positive feedback from their peers, they’re reminded to say, “Thank you.”

We can’t wait to hear from all of the first graders that are lined up to present through the end of the month. What a great first experience in public speaking for our young learners!