impacting our environments...one conversation at a time

Day 1:  Tuesday, January 6, 2015

1.) Students, upon entering class, were given Welcome Handout.  Students were asked to complete front side of handout before bell rang.

2.) Ms. Price discussed differences between Speech I & II

  1. Bullet Speech I = what NOT to do / Speech II = what TO do

  2. Bullet Speech I is like writing a complete sentence / Speech II is like writing poetry

  3. Bullet Speech I is like learning to play scales / Speech II is like learning to play a symphony

3.)  Ms. Price discussed what it will take to “write poetry” or play a “symphony” in Speech II

  1. Bullet Step #1:  YOU are capable of poetry/symphony.  You must believe it.

  1. Bullet Step #2:  Allow your teacher to be your TRAINER, not your “babysitter”.  (Ms. Price read a portion of The Last Lecture - pg 112) to explain what this will mean in Speech II.

  2. Bullet Step #3:  Wage War on Mediocrity.  With each other.  (Don’t wait for the teacher to tell you you’re being mediocre.  Challenge each other...as iron sharpens iron!)

  1. Bullet Step #4:  PLAN for success.  Assume you WILL succeed.

Homework:  None

Day 2:  Wednesday, January 7, 2015

1.) Turned in Welcome Handout / Ms. Price passed out Syllabus this semester’s Speech Assignments

2.)  Watched and discussed clip:

3.)  Ms. Price introduced unit (ENVIRONMENT) & Unit Question:  How can environment impact human response?

  1. Bullet  Discussed past environment by doing a writing activity (“I come from...”)

  2. Bullet  Discussed present environment by determining what classroom/school environment we want for eachother

  3. Bullet  Discussed future environment (i.e. What you’d want your life to look/feel like...and what you’re doing NOW to create that.)

4.)  Played a game “Superhero Rock/Paper/Scissors”.  Discussed.

Homework:  Read Syllabus / Have Parents fill out Parent form (due by Monday)

Day 3:  Friday, January 9, 2015

1.)  Reviewed “Superhero” game / Discussed.

2.)  Listened to story by Steve Zimmer entitled “Stars, Rockets, Moons”.  You can hear the story HERE.

3.)  Discussed how/why “old labels die hard”.

4.) Played a game with “old labels”.  Discussed.


1.)  Write a 1-2 sentence story about an “old label” that was assigned to you.  Be ready to share. 

  1. Bullet EXAMPLES of one-sentence stories (that DON’T have to do with your assignment) are on my website HERE...scroll all the way down to title “One Sentence Stories”)

  2. Bullet  MY EXAMPLE (that does have to do with your assignment):  “I remember what ‘feo’ means...because it was yelled down the hall at me in 9th grade by a boy whose face and name I no longer remember.  Which makes me wonder...why is the ugly word the only thing I clearly remember about that day?:

2.)  Challenge (not required):  Share a meaningful compliment or “label” with someone you know in the next 24 hours.  Pay attention to response.

3.)  Read Syllabus / Have Parents fill out Parent form (due by Monday)

Day 4:  Monday, January 12, 2015

1.)  Talked about homework “challenge” and shared one-sentence stories. / Collected Parent Forms

2.)  Watched a video:  “To this Day”

3.)  Reviewed unit:  ENVIRONMENT (Unit Question:  How can environment impact human response?”) 

4.)  Discussed what society VALUES in environment and why.  Also discussed what our school VALUES in environment.

5.)  Talked about how you CHANGE long-time environments.  One example - Google:

6.) Ms. Price introduced the idea of changing environments by shifting our perspective of leadership:  A leader is simply someone who impacts their environment enough that others want to follow. 

7.)  Discussed appointed vs. emergent leaders (appointed are “assigned” leadership; emergent leaders arise out of occasion or situation - ANYONE can be an emergent leader!)

8.)  Discussed the difference between a leader and a manager.

9.)  Ms. Price asked the question:  Who are the LEADERS in this building?  How do you know?  What QUALITIES do they exhibit?

Homework:  None

Day 5:  Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1.)  Warm up/Team activity:  Musical Bags.  Debriefed.

2.)  Discussed how leaders need good role models too.  Then, Ms. Price asked “If you were to choose a ‘Board of Directors’ for your life, who would you choose?” (Did an activity:  Who is at your table? - did as individual then as groups)

3.)  Discussed MENTORS...what they are, qualities important in a personal mentor, how you ‘find’ a good mentor, and if they have value in the digital age.

4.)  Discussed “servant-leadership” - how it is one of the best ways to impact your environment long term.


Day 6:  Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1.)  Opening Activity: “Follow the Leader” (an activity that illustrates different styles and effectiveness of leadership)

2.)  Reviewed:  A leader is simply someone who impacts their ENVIRONMENT enough to make others want to follow.  (Also reviewed the idea of “servant-leadership” and how it related to opening activity)

3.)  Listened to a story by Tim Manley entitled “A Superhero Gets Sick” (to listen, click the title to the left, then click “Add” then “Play”)

4.)  Discussed stories AND also big idea of expectations we have on mothers, teachers, schools, ourselves, etc.

5.)  Discussed ways in which we can shift expectations to a NEW reality.  Example:  Discussed the 4-minute mile (how it was believed this record could never be broken...then how after it was broken, MANY people broke the record).  Belief or science?  (Introduced science of “Reticular Activating System” (a part of our brains that helps decide what information to FOCUS on and what to delete).

6.)  Learned about the importance of a “First Follower”.  (click to watch)

HomeworkWrite a 1-2 sentence story about your mom.  Be ready to share.

  1. Bullet  EXAMPLES of one-sentence stories (that DON’T have to do with your assignment) are on my website HERE...scroll all the way down to title “One Sentence Stories”)

  2. Bullet  MY EXAMPLE (that does have to do with your assignment):  “My mother sat silently by his bed...strangely comforted by the knowledge that God, too, had watched his only son die.”
    Challenge (not required): Who is at your [lunch] table?  Sit in a totally different spot at lunch (can bring a friend).  Engage in a conversation with someone outside your comfort zone.

Day 7:  Friday, January 16, 2015

1.)  Talked about homework “challenge” and shared one-sentence stories.

2.)  Reviewed unit:  ENVIRONMENT (Unit Question:  How can environment impact human response?”) and discussed observations from last class:  Expectations (of others vs. self) and Belief/Focus (can we create our own realities in our environments?)

3.)  Watched a video about belief/focus:

4.) Question:  What will YOU focus on?  Ms. Price challenged the class to each set SPECIFIC, BIG, and MEASURABLE goals.  In Developmental Workbooks:  “Write down one main goal/focus/mission you have for yourself this semester that could have an impact on your environment.”  (Ms. Price shared one of hers.)

5.)  Discussed “Friday Forums” (on Fridays we will have topics of greater focus/interest to discuss in Forum style.  Today’s Friday Forum = “Greatness”

6.)  Often great moments & movements in history where individuals have impacted their environments often start with “ordinary” people, not appointed leaders.

7.)  Watched a clip from “Freedom Writers” and discussed:  Do most teenagers BELIEVE they have the potential to affect change or be a “hero”? 

8.)  Watched a clip from “Coach Carter”:

Quotation from “Coach Carter” clip: 

  1. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”  Actually, who are you not to be?  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do...It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.  And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  (Source:  Marianne Willamson, A Return to Love:  Reflectionson the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” - commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela 1994 inauguration speech)

9.)  Discussed:  Why are High Schoolers often “afraid” to be great? (in school/life)  Why is it more appealing to be, and remain, inadequate?  Who/what in your environment “teaches” you that this is okay?


Day 8:  Monday, January 19, 2015

1.)  Collected Parent Forms then discussed semester schedule (Mondays = Speech Assignment given & work on “Ideas” / Tuesdays = TEDtalk Tuesdays / Wednesdays = Organization of Ideas  / Thursdays = (off) / Fridays = Friday Forum OR Speeches (on speech weeks)

2.)  Discussed first speech assignment:  LIFE PHILOSOPHY SPEECH (INTRODUCTORY SPEECH)

3.)  Watched a talk by Sam Berns:

4.)  Discussed: What is a “philosophy”?  (An overall VISION or ATTITUDE toward life or the purpose of life.)

5.)  Discussed how you arrive at deeper meanings/ideas by thinking about QUESTIONS more than you do ANSWERS.  Ms. Price led students through a series of questions and activities that helped students to discover their current driving life philosophies.

6.)  Watched a video (in the words) of Steve Jobs:  “Three Stories”.  Discussed Steve Jobs’ life philosophy of “Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish”.


Work on IDEAS for “LIFE PHILOSOPHY” (INTRODUCTORY) SPEECH (Due Friday, January 30th)

Day 9:  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1.)  Reviewed process for “discovering” your life philosophies (ask the questions / get ideas on paper / find repeated ideas, patterns, & connections / summarize)

2.)  Discussed “Tedtalk Tuesdays” Requirements:

  1. Bullet  You must sign up for TWO times to give a TEDtalk commentary speech

  2. Bullet  EVERYONE watches a TEDtalk of their choice each week (and fills out front of this HANDOUT).

  3. Bullet  If it is a week that you are required to speak, you must prepare a commentary speech as described on the handout (above).  The list of speakers’ dates is HERE.

  4. Bullet  Note:  We learn by watching examples of greatness (speakers AND ideas).  This is the REASON for this weekly assignment)

3.)  Ms. Price gave an EXAMPLE TEDtalk speech, and we discussed.  (For a draft copy of the speech she wrote for this TEDtalk, click HERE.  (This speech draft is provided merely as an EXAMPLE of the flow of a commentary speech NOT as an example that you should READ to your audience...remember this is public speaking, NOT public reading class!)

4.)  To find a TEDtalk to watch, go to www.ted.com - SEARCH, then filter results by “Talks” (on the left) or just browse...

Homework: Start perusing TED talks for next week’s speech (see #4 above)

Day 10:  Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1.)  Reviewed TEDtalk requirements for this class (also explained on my website)

2.)  Reviewed Unit Question:  How can environment impact human response?

3.)  Ms. Price showed students how to browse TED website (www.ted.com) then showed a sample TEDtalk on a topic she’s interested in:  Improv

4.)  Discussed:  What was the speaker’s point? (the one that you would share with audience and expand upon / i.e. provide commentary for) AND What clip would you show? (90 seconds or less)

5.)  Reviewed purpose of TEDtalk handout provided on Ms. Price’s website and how to use

6.)  Ms. Price provided students with help on their Introductory Speeches (due Friday, January 30).



Day 11 & 12 : Friday, January 23 & Monday, January 26, 2015

(Worked on preparing “LIFE PHILOSOPHY” SPEECH...Ms. Price helped students as a group - organizing ideas - and individually if needed.)


1.)  “LIFE PHILOSOPHY” (INTRODUCTORY) SPEECH DUE FRIDAY, JANUARY 30 (Have speech finished by Wednesday in order to be ready to rehearse!)

2.) Don’t forget to choose, watch, and fill out handout (page 1) for a TEDtalk of your choice from www.ted.com! - due Tuesday, January 27!  Be ready to discuss...

Day 13:  Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TEDtalk Tuesday! (no TEDtalk speeches due today - just handout & discussion of videos watched)


“LIFE PHILOSOPHY” (INTRODUCTORY) SPEECH DUE FRIDAY, JANUARY 30  (Have speech finished by Wednesday in order to be ready to rehearse!)

Day 14:  Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  1. 1. Students who were absent yesterday, turned in TEDtalk assignment.

  2. 2. As a class, students watched a complilation video of some of Will Smiths’ “life philosophies” and discussed.  (Students turned in “Slight Edge” as ticket out the door.)

  1. 3.Students worked on rehearsing “LIFE PHILOSOPHY” SPEECH” - both alone and with a partner.  Ms. Price helped students individually if needed.)



Day 15:  Friday, January 30, 2015



Prepare for TEDtalk assignment (or speech) due next Tuesday.

Day 16:  Monday, February 2, 2015 = SNOW DAY (this day moves to Wednesday)

Day 17:  Tuesday, February 3, 2015 = SNOW DAY (speeches move to NEXT Tues.)

TEDtalk Tuesday!  (TEDtalk speeches start today!)

(Day 16):  Wednesday, February 4, 2015  (Monday’s lesson - moved to today)

1.) Students finished INTRODUCTORY SPEECHES

2.) Discussed how we impact others’ environments with our words (debriefed speeches)


Prepare for TEDtalk assignment due on Tuesday.  (Remember, EVERYONE watches a TEDtalk and completes front side of this HANDOUT.)  If speaking, bring pages 2-3 (rubrics) also!  Speaking schedule for TEDtalk can be found HERE.

Day 18:  (no lesson due to snow day on Monday/Tuesday)

Day 19:  Friday, February 6, 2015 (Friday Forum)