Thursday, May 09, 2013

Notables at Noon: The Elementary Night of Notables

I decided to create a Night of Notables event for our local homeschool kids. Having had no luck attracting the older homeschool kids, I created Notables at Noon for the elementary kids at our local homeschool support group instead.

Last Fall, we had four kids who presented their notables including Christopher Reeve (project details here), Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra and Harriet Tubman. It was a small group, but a good start.

This Spring, we had seven kids who presented their Notables including Emily Dickinson, St. Francis of Assisi, Angry Birds (not a Notable, but the little girl was adamant about presenting her passion and it was a wonderful addition to our event), Bruce Lee, William Shakespeare, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. It was, as another mother pointed out, EXCELLENT. All the children were passionate and therefore confident speakers and very persuasive in their presentations. In fact, after seeing the younger set present, some older kids now also want to participate in our next Notables at Noon this coming Fall.

My favorite part of this Spring's Notables at Noon was watching all the kids crowd around the presenter and become interested in a new person as they watched their peer passionately talk about their Notable. Here is one photo which shows elementary children enthralled by the William Shakespeare presentation. This is but one photo. I watched the children throughout the event and they all had the same reaction to all the presentations. Still days after, the children continue to talk about what they learned from each other.

Why Do It?

A friend told me about her son's Night of Notables school experience. She remembers it as "one of my proudest moments as a mom... I was shocked!! My normally shy child was transformed into this ball of confidence. I think I cried!" I immediately thought of my own normally shy son.

Night of Notables is usually a project for sixth graders and up, but I thought WHY NOT for the younger set?  Some websites charge $100 for instructions on "how-to's" but after a lot of research, I created my own simple guidelines for my five year old and allowed his imagination to run wild about what to include in his project.

What To Do:

1. Ask your child WHO he wants to learn more about. It is important that the Notable is a person your child is passionate about.

2. Offer your child guidelines on what needs to be in his/her display. I have handouts available here that are suitable for elementary children. I find that elementary children need some sort of structure so that they understand what is expected from a presentation.

3. Once he/she understands what the presentation is about, let your child take over the project.

4. Offer help only when needed.

5. You and your child will discover that this project teaches not only the biography of a Notable, but history, geography, copy work, typing, printing, drama, literature, and so much more.

6. The best thing about the Notables Project, it's all about STEALTH SCHOOLING: YOUR CHILD WILL WANT TO DO ALL THE WORK!

7. Each child will have their own way of presenting. Some will want to read a whole essay, some will want to ad lib, mine preferred note cards with short questions to guide him during his presentation. Mine  also wanted to make sure he was ready and asked to practice several times before the event.

8. WARNING: Notables at Noon is addictive. All the children in our past event are already looking forward to our next event in the Fall.

Some Examples: (note - the videos do not show how my son would have presented at the event, but rather what the presentation involved)

My five year old son loved every single minute he worked on his Johnny Depp presentation, as you can see here:

The same son almost a year later thoroughly enjoyed creating his Bruce Lee Presentation:

I am hoping to start a Notables at Noon homeschool movement!  Share some photos and videos with me if you have a chance!

1 comment:

  1. This is something that should be done in all educational aspects. And just how you did it! One in the beginning of the year, and another at the end.... To see how much each child has grown in confidence was incredible. You really get to see the inner beauty of the children!