Idea 206: Simultaneous Show and Tell


Show and tell is a common classroom activity (particularly with early primary) where children can bring in something from home and then tell the class about it. I found recently that due to having so many things to fit in, show and tell was getting postponed again and again until I had quite a ‘stack’ of children with things they wanted to show.

Solution: Simultaneous show and tell!

I had 7 children with something to show. They were each sent to a different area of the classroom with their object. The rest of the children split up and gathered around their choice of ‘presenter’. I checked that every ‘presenter’ had at least two ‘listeners’.

I gave the presenters 1 and a half minutes to talk about their object and told the listeners that if there was time left on the clock when the presenter had finished, then they could ask their presenter questions.

Once time was up, the children cycled to a new table and we repeated the steps.

Result: In about five minutes, I was able to achieve what would have usually taken 30-35 minutes (at least!) of class time.

PLUS each presenter got to present twice which gave them a chance to improve on their first presentation.

PLUS more children were able to ask questions to the presenters and were being held accountable for listening; it’s much harder to get away with having a day dream in a group of 3 or 4 compared to a class of 31!

PLUS children were given an element of choice in who they wanted to listen to, which they enjoyed.

Another little bonus is that I could theoretically have extended this activity again and again until each ‘listener’ had heard every ‘presenter’. This makes the timing of this activity very flexible, as you could do a simultaneous show and tell lasting from 5 minutes all the way up to half an hour.

I found that this activity worked particularly well because the children had already had plenty of experience of a whole-class show and tell and so knew what was expected of them (asking interesting questions to the presenter and listening) which meant I didn’t have to spend time modelling what I expected before we began.

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