An Ignite about teaching with Ignites - LHRIC TechExpo 2018 - Chris Casal





Hello. I’m Chris Casal from Scarsdale NY. I’m the purveyor of geekery at the Heathcote School. These 5 minutes of Fame or Epic Fail are a meta 5 minutes. They are a meta story, told in the format of an Ignite about how we use the Ignite format to get students to tell their own stories. An Ignite about teaching with Ignites.

00:00 - 00:15

TItle slide


So, what is an Ignite? It’s a 5 minute talk, with 20 slides auto advancing every 15 seconds. This, right now, is an Ignite. It’s designed to engage and inspire the audience.

So, what is an Ignite? Officially “Presenters get 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation which lasts just 5 minutes.

Ignite events are held in cities around the world.” and now, classrooms!

00:15 - 00:30


So, the important question. Why? Why do this? Why use this format? I can’t answer that for you, but I’ll share my answers. The key, however, is to start with the why. If you aren’t clear about why you are doing it, your students won't be clear about why they should care.

00:30 - 00:45


For us at Heathcote, our why is the student's voice. Because you can’t hear them through a tri-fold board. Why do we choose this format? Because we want them to, literally, share their voice and their stories. To distill their learning down to what meant the most to them. And tell us.

00:45 - 01:00


And when we teach with Ignites we start with what they are. Stories. Students sharing their learning are stories. Synthesizing an idea, an experience, an opportunity. When we want to know what a student has learned we are asking them to tell us a story.

01:00 - 01:15


And yes, we can write stories. The essay is still valuable, there’s nothing wrong with a written story, they are awesome. But does every story have to be written? And the best stories usually aren’t glued to a board.

01:15 - 01:30


Sometimes the most powerful stories are the ones spoken, the ones so interalized they are best expressed with the author’s own voice. It’s one thing to write, edit, revise a story of learning, and have someone else read it in their own voice. It is very different to so interalize it you can express it in a limited time frame with limited visuals.

01:30 - 01:45


Creating a simple, well designed, visually engaging slide deck isn’t as easy as it sounds. It works in image search skills, photography for sourcing originals, graphic design in balancing the slide. And presentation skills that aren’t reading bullet points off a screen. It’s much deeper than a tri-fold board presentation.

01:45 - 02:00


So, how do we do it in elementary school? We start in the 4th grade. Yes, 4th grade. But we adapt and adjust accordingly. Instead of 5 minutes we start with 1:45, a much more manageable amount of time. Still 15 seconds per slide, just fewer slides.

02:00 - 02:15


The first slide is the burn slide, the settling in, the quieting of the rustling, it’s the introduction. It still counts, but it’s the Introduction, not the core story. It’s capturing the audience’s attention.

02:15 - 02:30


The last slide is the summary, the conclusion, just as you would have with any story. But it’s also when the classmates and parents, yes, we do this as parent shares and end-of year projects, are clapping and cheering.

02:30 - 02:45


The middle slides are the story. We start with 5 core slide. 7 slides overall, 15 seconds per slide. Intro and summary with the 5 core elements sandwiched between.

02:24 - 03:00


And what are those elements? The 2-5 main points of the story, the learning. That gives each key point 1 to 2 slides to visualize. You can even practice by starting with an Ignite about their 5 favorite places in school using, simply, 5 images from around the building.

03:00 - 03:15


5th graders use Ignites as part of their social issues unit. They are researching and writing about a social issue and then using that knowledge to give an ignite to inform their audience and inspire them to act. 4th graders gave Ignites, to parents, about what they connected to during the Colonial America unit.

03:15 - 03:30


For the 5th grade culminating project, Capstone, we ditched the tri-folds and created “CapCap! A capstone learning conference” where we put the kids front and center to tell the stories of their learning.

03:30 - 03:45


Let them think of their story. Write the story, Speak and rehearse their story, and then get the images. Those go last. The key is still the writing of the story. It can be the 7 slide, 1:45 second format we do with 4th graders or the 12 slide 3 minute format we use with 5th grade during Capstone.

03:45 - 04:00


It’s not easy, but it’s doable. There is writing, editing, revising, and rehearsal. For a 1-3 minute Ignite you can rehearse a lot. It’s worth it. And there’s precedent. On my YouTube Channel I have student Ignites. And Scott Burken. I start every student ignite unit with Scott’s Ignite on how to give an Ignite. Google it, it’s awesome.

04:00 - 04:15


I hope you are thinking about using this format with students, it pushes their thinking, writing, and synthesizing what they've learned. And it’s hackable, you can make it as long or as short as you’d like, However I do recommend staying with the 15 second timings

04:15 - 04:30


Students have stories to tell. There are no shortage of opportunities to write their stories. There needs to be more opportunities for them to tell their stories, to literally share their voice and tell us what they’ve learned.  Use the Ignite style to give our students that voice, to truly tell the story of their learning.

04:30 - 04:45


So, how do we do this?

  • Get excited about the why
  • Show them examples,
  • Focus on the story. Write, edit and revise the story.
  • Then share their story.

Let them be themselves and tell the world with their own words what matters to them.

Thank you

04:45 - 05:00