What is Minutes?

Minutes is a 3-5 minute presentation that each student gives to the class 2-3 times per semester.  It counts toward the class participation grade.

The goal of Minutes is to learn to take notes and to practice public speaking.  The online Minutes archive also serves as a record of class discussion to help absent students catch up.

Minutes that do not comply with the guidelines presented here will not receive full credit.

Minutes consists of the following:

  1. A typed and emailed summary of the previous day’s class events and discussion (based on your careful notes). Email your Minutes only as a Word attachment or as text copied and pasted into the body of the email–do not use Google Docs. Send to me at mswartz (at) schools (dot) nyc (dot) gov before class.  Failure to email minutes prior to class will result in the loss of one letter grade; failure to email them at all will result in half credit for your minutes assignment.
  2. Title your Minutes with the date of the class being summarized, and include the customary upper left-hand heading (your name, the class name and period, my name, and the date when you present).
  3. In your minutes, include a reminder of who (first and last name) has minutes the following day (Minutes calendars are linked at the bottom of this page).
  4. A literary gift of poetry, humor, art, or song.
  5. An engaging, audible, concise verbal presentation of 1 and 3 to the class (minus heading).

The following rules apply to Minutes:

  • Students who do not email their minutes on time according to the above instructions will not receive full credit for their work.
  • Students sign up for Minutes at the beginning of the semester on a calendar that is then posted in the classroom (and the bottom of this page).
  • Students are responsible for keeping track of the dates of their Minutes presentations.
  • Keep in mind that the date you sign up for is when you present; you are therefore summarizing the events of the class that precede the date you are signed up for.
  • Take good notes, including accurate attribution of specific ideas to specific students where possible.
  • Edit your Minutes for length (3-5 minutes) and to remove irrelevant details.  Focus on the deeper point of class discussion or the activity, rather than on the mechanics of an activity (such as moving desks or counting off to make groups).
  • Proofread your Minutes for spelling and grammar.
  • Be engaging, loud, and enthusiastic, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Make your gift interesting and thoughtful.
  • Good Minutes gifts include but are not limited to: Performing your own or someone else’s song, poem, or interpretative dance, perhaps with musical accompaniment (live or recorded); your own artwork; an amusing cartoon or graphic novel to pass around; sculpture, including creative Lego-building; a brief puppet show; a magic trick; a short-short story; a relevant diorama; hand-made bookmarks; origami; your baby pictures; other creative ideas you come up with that are not less than adequate.
  • Less than adequate Minutes gifts include but are not limited to: lists of facts from the internet read in a monotone; knock-knock jokes or riddles from the internet read in a monotone; anything else read in a monotone; racist or obsence humor with or without monotone; otherwise relevant Wikipedia entries read verbatim; quotes; someone else’s previously Good Minutes Gift; food; crumbs; socks; ant farm(s).
  • The poetry of Shel Silverstein and Robert Frost cannot be used for Minutes gifts until further notice.
  • Food of any kind, including homemade food, can no longer be used for Minutes gifts.

Password-protected Minutes calendars are linked below:

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