Spellane's blog about Student Talks Curriculum posted on TED-Ed

Los Fresnos CISD English/Language Arts Strategist's blog about the 6th Grade Honors Writing students was recently featured on the TED-Ed website, detailing how students held their virtual TED-Ed Showcase.

In the blog, Spellane discussed how students incorporated the program into the ELA curriculum, and how it helped students find their passion, organize their ideas, build their confidence, and share their own TED-style Talks.

TED-Ed has grown into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the world. – 3,800-TED Ed groups of 45,000 students in 133 countries.

At Los Fresnos CISD, 320 students participate in the TED-Ed program from five elementary and five secondary schools. Of the 320 students, approximately two-thirds are 6th Grade Honor Students at the middle schools.

"Preparing for a speech involves organization akin to that required in writing essays and compositions," Spellane wrote. "Therefore, it just seemed natural to incorporate the TED-Ed Student Talks curriculum in the writing classes.

"It was such a treat to watch their ideas snowball from their experiences in elementary school."

In January 2020, Los Cuates Middle School 6th grade Honors Writing students were told that their final project would be writing and delivering a TED-Ed talk. They left for Spring Break thinking they would be back to prepare for their Showcase.

Usually, TED-Ed Showcases are held in school stages before an audience of parents and teachers.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Students never came back to campuses to finish the 2020-21 school year.

But these 10 students were motivated to hold the Showcase.

Speakers were Eduardo Delgado, Vanessa Diaz, Nicole Garcia, Luis Gomez, Matthew Gomez, Allison Lopez, Luna Larrea, Judith Mire, Jessica Salazar, and Paola Solis, 

The LCMS showcase promo Is featured here and their 2020 Talk Showcase is featured here.

"The 6th grade ELA department is a pioneering group of eager educators willing to try innovative approaches to give students a voice and strengthen their writing skills," Spellane wrote. "We began by eagerly sifting through the TED-Ed Student Talks Guidebook and other TED-Ed resources."

Spellane and the teachers then reviewed the district’s pacing guide and important dates to establish a basic schedule for the project. Once the timeline was established, non-negotiable goals and checkpoints were set to ensure students had adequate time to complete and share their Talks. Teachers had a wide range of negotiable items that allowed them the freedom to make personal and classroom adjustments.

"One of my favorites was a student who originally identified her passion as 'Raising Show Cattle for Future Farmers of America,' " Spellane wrote. "After some extended conversation, she eventually discovered that her 'great idea' was actually about her feeling of empowerment when showing animals well over a thousand pounds. Her Talk then shifted to the idea of 'Girl Power in the Show Ring.' "

Spellane's blog included recommendations for teachers and students.

"I recommend that teachers work through the student guide book themselves first to develop their own Talks. If you are able to participate in TED Masterclass that would be even better! Having the experience first really helps you to understand the process and be able to assist your students. Be patient and expect your students to struggle, as this process is challenging and a novel concept for most kids."