This year on Father’s Day, you’ll probably see lots of cards and flowers at the shop. But if you’ve got a third grader and a video camera, you’ve got the ingredients for an even better gift…one that builds your third grader’s speaking skills while you’re at it, too! So try this activity to honor Dad in a new, upbeat way, and to help your child develop an important skill that is covered this year and will be even more important in fourth and fifth grades: the ability to stand up in front of an audience and make a stirring, effective presentation.
What You Need:
- Video camera
- Curious third grader
- Small notebook and pen
- At least three other family members or special friends of Dad's
What You Do:
- Start by explaining to your third grader that Father’s Day is a time to step back and celebrate what makes Dad really great. At the same time, third grade is a time when kids are starting to do their own projects and present them to their classes—a process that can be pretty darn terrifying. So here’s a project that will give your kid real-life practice, while making Dad’s day.
- Your mission: to develop an Investigative Newscast for Dad, on “Why We Think You’re Such a Great Dad.” For inspiration, turn on a segment of your nightly news, and invite your third grader to take a critical look. How does the anchorperson use voice and gesture? How do reporters approach their subjects?
- Now, using the pen and notebook, have your child brainstorm. On one page, she will need to write an introduction for the newscast, as if she’s the anchorperson. This will be short…but, just as on TV, it should be punchy. Something like, “Good evening, this is Rachel Smith, reporting to you live from Anytown, New Jersey, on a subject of great importance to this community: “What makes our dad so great?”
- On the next page, help your child brainstorm at least three other family members or special friends who can help. If there are more than three folks easily available, don’t hold back, of course! And remember to use your creativity. A baby can “talk” if you put up written cue cards and “dub” remarks; so can a beloved pet.
- Finally, on a last page, have your child write a brief conclusion, reminding Dad how much everyone loves him.
- Now you’re reading for filming, and guess what, parents? While your child is the newscaster, get ready to be “key grip” cameraperson. Remember that this video does not need to be fancy, and it certainly doesn’t need to be long; it’s a video “card” that expresses your love and appreciation. Have your child leaf through the notebook and follow its sequence: begin with the newcast announcement; interview folks; and finish with a rousing conclusion!
- Of course, at the same time, it’s just the kind of practice that your child needs for effective presentations, and it’s great preparation for the challenges of fourth and fifth grade and beyond, when public speaking will be expected more and more in class. And no matter what, rest assured: you’ll definitely make Dad’s day.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.