Saturday, April 12, 2014

The poster presentation

   End of the year event for my young learners

                     The poster presentation project

So, it is that time of year again. The end of the academic year is right around the corner and you may be thinking, "what can I do at the end of the year with my students?" How about holding a poster presentation event?
I did this with my students two years ago and they loved it.

What is a poster presentation?
If you have been to a conference or taught on a pre sessional English course, you probably know what it is, but for those who haven't, a poster presentation is when somebody makes a poster and then talks about it. I first attended a poster presentation when I was working at Newcastle University as a pre sessional EAP tutor. My postgraduate students had to make a project based on an idea related to their research project, they then presented their projects to their classmates, and finally answered questions related to their posters/projects.

Making the poster presentation suitable for my young learners.
After seeing how this works in the EAP context, I thought, "Why not try it with my younger learners?" and I did!Here is what happened!

STEPS before the end of the year poster presentation event.
1.Each class chose a theme. My students chose to write projects with the following titles:
  • the things I like
  • music
  • chocolate
  • space
  • the sea world
  • the hip hop culture
2. After choosing a group theme, my students had to find pictures and information about something related to their theme. For example, in the sea world project, each student had to find information related to a sea animal.
3. When they each wrote their own texts and found pictures, we looked at their texts and made any corrections that were necessary. My students then rewrote their texts on colourful paper which they then stuck to a bigger cardboard sheet. The end product was a colourful poster full of students' contributions and pictures (scroll down to view some images).
4. Once the poster projects were ready, the students prepared little mini presentations based on their texts and they all collaborated so as to be able to give a whole presentation based on their theme. Each student spoke for about a minute and they decided on when each of them would speak. They rehearsed their presentations quite a few times until they felt comfortable presenting.
5. A few days before the event, the students were given invitation cards to give to their parents.

On the day of the event.
The parents came to my language school and went to all the classrooms and heard all the students presenting their projects. The students got lots of rounds of applauds and there were a lot of smiles going around. All the parents voted for the best two presentations and at the end of the event the project with the most votes got a toy cup. All the students got a certificate of participation and a little present. We ended the day with drinks and snacks.

Why will I do this again?
First of all, the students and parents are asking me if we will do it again because they really enjoyed it. So, that's one good reasong to hold such an event again.
I also appreciated the fact that my students researched themes they liked, were able to talk a bit about them, did group work and prepared a project with a lot of enthusiasm.

What would I change?
I would make a little map of the language school and write down which group is in which class.This will make it easier for the parents to know where their kids are. I would change the voting system to three votes (cause with the previous system, all the parents voted only for their children. Now, they will have one extra vote). At this point, I would like to say that I asked the parents to vote for the best projects so the whole event could be a bit more challenging for the learners and it does serve as some form of assessment. I had a group that was not very motivated last time, but this year they are already telling me," Miss, we are going to try harder because our project was not well-prepared last year." I would also get the students to ask each other questions about their projects so they feel more comfortable talking about their projects. I will ask my learners and the parents to give feedback about the event and my stduents to reflect on the whole process as well. I am really interested in seeing what they think of the whole process, the stages and so on.

This is a great end of the year event (you can even do it with just one class). I really think you should give it a shot!

 Till next time...
EAP poster presentation. Newcastle University 2012

                                        2012 Poster presentation at my language school


  1. Excellent idea!!Many reason behind that idea..! First of all, it keeps energizing students after a long time spent in class, they are approaching the end and may be feeling a bit tired, the anticipation of the Summer may tick them off balance a bit.. Second it involves the student and motivates him/her to express their potential..! Third the teacher can really test what language the students have internalized so far..! And last but not least they link the classroom to real life, a thing which is our call!! Thanks Jo for sharing this!

  2. Thanks for reading Ang! I find projects a great way for my sts to express themselves about sth they like. Even shyer sts enjoyed the project presentation cause they were encouraged by their classmates and heard lovely comments.