Getting it “just right” with Youtube.

For the Course 1 Final Project, my colleagues and I decided to take a previous unit we did for the Individual Oral Commentary (IB Literature) and jazz it up with a little something called Youtube.

The Goal:

Prepare students for the Individual Oral Commentary, an IB assessment which asks students to deliver a 10 minute analysis on an unseen poem.

The Rationale:

Students tend to see this particular assessment as the “hardest” of the IB assessments for Literature. They’re nervous partially because they don’t know which poem they’ll be discussing, but mostly because it’s pretty daunting to have a one-shot recording of your analysis. With a written exam, they always have an eraser, but with this exam, if they make a mistake, they have to accept it and keep going. No erasing.

The update for this unit was to add an element of technology (youtube) as a way to assuage anxiety and allow students a comfortable environment (their home) in which to practice the skills for this assessment. They get to erase and re-record as many times as they want. Essentially, the technology allows them to get it “just right”. We’re hoping that they’ll be so obsessed with getting it “just right” that they won’t even realize that they’ve been practicing their speaking skills the entire time.

The feedback element is key, too. In the past, we’ve struggled with figuring out how to allow all students the space and time to practice this skill in a crowded classroom. Using youtube takes care of that piece and now offers students the opportunity to listen to their classmates IOC’s and respond with constructive feedback.

We’re excited to see how the new and improved unit pans out. Keep you posted…

Course 1 Final Project: YouTube IOC Assessment

Miriam Morningstar, Lindsay Lyon, Mavis Wellington


IB Objectives:

3. Selection and use of appropriate presentation and language skills

  • Demonstrate an ability to express ideas clearly and fluently in both written and oral communication, with an effective choice of register and style
  • Demonstrate a command of terminology and concepts appropriate to the study of literature
  • Demonstrate an ability to express well-organized oral and written arguments


Standard 2: Communication and Collaboration

a. Interact, collaborate and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media

b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
Standard 6: Technology Operations and Concepts

a. Understand and use technology systems

c. Troubleshoot systems and applications

d. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies


Enduring Understandings:

  1. An organized, cogent oral commentary must have a clear introduction, thesis statement, topic sentences that connect logically, transitions between paragraphs, and a conclusion
  2. It is important to identify the basic “plot” of a literary text and then analyze its devices and meaning, if present
  3. Organizing oral commentaries using the Schaffer paragraphing organizational method and terminology results in clearer, more focused commentaries
  4. A more fluid, vast knowledge of literary devices can lead to a deeper understanding of literature
  5. In their oral commentaries, students should use a formal register, eschew judgmental language and generalizations, and be as specific and detailed as possible
Essential Questions:

  1. How should I plan and deliver an organized IOC?
  2. Am I using transitional phrases to direct my audience?
  3. Do I have a clear introduction with a thesis statement?
  4. What do the best oral commentaries do that I don’t yet?
  5. What poetic/literary devices should I always be on the lookout for?
  6. DId I make sure to comment on the effect of the structure of the poem?
  7. Did I say what I meant?


Students will deliver, via a Youtube video, an organized and analytical oral commentary based on a piece of literature. Students will be able to apply their knowledge of literary devices in order to discuss author’s meaning and purpose.This GRASPS Task will prepare students for the IB Internal Assessment task called the Individual Oral Commentary.


Educator, peer-evaluator, collaborator

Audience: Classmates, parents, and teachers

Students need to prepare for their upcoming IB IOC internal assessment. They need to understand how to plan & deliver an effective analysis of an unseen literary text and be able to self-assess and peer-assess accurately, offering constructive feedback to their peers.


Students need to plan and deliver an oral commentary on a piece of literature that they have studied in class. Students will not know beforehand which text they will be speaking about. As a part of the task, students will need to film themselves delivering the presentation and upload to Youtube. They will then choose another student’s oral commentary to watch and evaluate using the IB IOC Rubric. Based on the feedback they receive from a peer, students will complete a self-evaluation using the IOC Rubric and write a self-reflection on the areas of strength and areas for growth.

Six Facets of Understanding:

Students will use their school Youtube account as a tool to record and share their oral commentary with their peers.  This assignment provides students with the opportunity to directly practice the skills that they will be using for their IB individual oral assessment, and to receive timely, authentic feedback from their peers and teacher.  In addition, they will be able to review their own performance in order to self-reflect.  Using Youtube will enable students to receive these multiple layers of feedback, and have an authentic audience.


Students have to show their overall understanding of their chosen extract by successfully annotating the poem/passage, planning an outline and delivering a cohesive oral commentary that they record and post on youtube.

Students will apply organizational, analytica, and technologicall skills to produce their youtube video.
Have Perspective:

Students will listen to two of their peers videos and complete either a peer assessment  or comment directly on YouTube.  This will enable them to add perspective to their peer’s performance, as well as potentially identify missed ideas from their own analysis.

Speaking about a poem is a difficult task for everyone. Recording oneself is also intimidating, but since the students have the chance to do this alone, they are able to build their confidence for the “real” assessment. Students will begin to see that recording, sharing and having the opportunity to listen to others’ work is the best method for all involved to reflect upon their performances in order to improve.

Have self-knowledge:
Students will use the IOC rubric to self assess their performance, and will be able to identify their strengths and areas for growth in preparation for their IB Assessment.




  1. Instructions for Students on the requirements of this project
  2. How to use a webcam to record
  3. Discussion Board etiquette examples


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