- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
This lesson introduces students to the six steps of writing an extemporaneous speech, one that is prepared and rehearsed ahead of time: Choosing a topic, Researching, Writing, Practicing, Delivering, and Processing.
- Learn the four purposes of speeches: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, and for special occasions.
- Brainstorm and decide upon a topic that is interesting to both the speaker and the audience.
- Research using traditional and non-traditional sources.
- Write and outline the body of the speech.
- Translate the speech into simple notes.
- Write an intriguing introduction and conclusion.
- Practice non-verbal cues, such as smiling, eye contact, gesturing, etc.
- Deliver an extemporaneous speech for no more than 10 minutes.
- Evaluate other speeches and provide positive feedback.
- Steps to the Perfect Speech Topic (PDF)
from Oral Presentations Made Easy! by Paul B. Janeczko
- Index cards
- Speech Rubric from Lesson One
- Idea Web
- Chalkboard or chart paper
- Research materials and tools, such as a set of encyclopedias, nonfiction books, magazines, newspapers, CD-ROMs, and the Internet
- Video or audio taping equipment (optional)
Set Up and Prepare
- Copy the Steps to the Perfect Speech Topic printable for each student.
- Gather a set of index cards for each student to be used as note cards during his/her speech.
- Schedule computer lab time for research, if desired.
- After students have chosen their speech topics, provide as many research materials as possible using your school and/or local libraries.
Write the six steps on the board, chart paper, or post on a bulletin board: 1) Choosing a topic, 2) Researching, 3) Writing, 4) Practicing, 5) Delivering, and 6) Processing.
- If desired, prepare any AV equipment for Step 13 when students record themselves while rehearsing their speech.
- If necessary, preview this Idea Web (PDF).
Step 1: Begin the lesson by distributing a randomly chosen volume from the classroom set of encyclopedias and/or another type of research material to each student. Instruct them to use the resource to find an interesting topic. Tell them they have 15 minutes to gather as much information on the subject as they can and write the most important points on index cards.
Step 2: Upon completion, invite several volunteers to deliver a basic three-minute talk on their chosen topic.
Step 3: Process the activity by asking the students what differences they noticed between these types of speeches and those from Lesson One. Compare an impromptu speech with an extemporaneous speech. Share with the students that an extemporaneous speech is researched and rehearsed ahead of time. Note cards are permitted. The topics are likely to be assigned and the speech is usually intended to do one of four things: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to share on special occasions. The speech generally ranges between three to ten minutes.
Step 4: Share with the students that they will be writing and delivering an extemporaneous speech over the next few days. Introduce the six steps and briefly discuss the expectations.
PART II - You may want to spend at least one day on each of the six steps of writing an extemporaneous speech as you teach this lesson.
Step 5: Choosing a Topic — Distribute the Steps to the Perfect Speech Topic printable to each student. Remind the students of the six steps. Tell them that they will choose a topic today by brainstorming every idea they can think of, using specific criteria to narrow down the ideas, and creating an idea web to decide on "the perfect topic." Instruct them to read through the printable and complete the process.
Step 6: Researching — Remind students that they will need to disclose sources that they used during their research in the body of their speech, preferably one from a traditional print source such as an encyclopedia, magazine, or nonfiction book, one from an Internet or CD-ROM source, and one from a non-traditional source, such as a personal interview, a fiction title, or song lyrics. Therefore, they need to conduct a good amount of research.
Step 7: Distribute more index cards and tell students to write the title and other important data, such as the author, publisher, and date of publication, of each source onto the index cards. Remind them to share this information in the body of the speech.
Step 8: Allow ample time for students to complete the research phase.
Step 9: Writing —Once students have gathered all research and completed their index cards, they can begin writing the body of their speech. Share with them that the speech structure is similar to that of the essays that they have written in class and consists of three parts: Introduction - you tell them what you are going to tell them, Body - tell them, and Closing - tell them what you have told them.
Step 10: Instruct the students to first concentrate on the body of their speech. Decide on three main points to make during the speech using the information they gathered during the research phase. Then, create an outline with supporting details for each main point. Write out the speech using the outlines. Finally, they must transfer that information to bulleted points onto index cards. Remind them that they will not be reading their speech, but using the index cards to stay on track. Allow ample time for students to complete the body of their speech.
Step 11: When students are finished, help them craft an engaging introduction and conclusion. Briefly discuss the need to "hook" the audience when delivering a speech. Share the five audience-grabbing techniques and instruct them to decide which they will use for their introduction: Tell a story, Cite a statistic, Ask a question, Paint a picture, and Share a quotation. Provide examples when necessary.
Step 12: Share that the conclusion is like the introduction but in reverse order. Tell them to begin with a recap of what they discussed in the speech and end with a memorable closing statement. Provide examples when necessary.
Step 13: Practicing - Allow students to spend a class period rehearsing their speech. If desired, video or audio tape them so that they can critique themselves later. Encourage each student to practice out loud, practice making consistent eye contact with the audience while taking occasional glances at their note cards, and write any last minute notes of encouragement or final details on their note cards. Remind students that they will be graded according to the rubric standards, so they should review it at this time.
Step 14: Delivering - Students are now ready to deliver their extemporaneous speeches. Instruct them to hand you their rubric prior to beginning. Tell the audience to refrain from talking or distracting the speaker and to make mental notes of each speech in order to provide feedback at the end. Upon completion of each speech, ask a few volunteers to share some positive feedback with the speaker.
Step 15: Processing - The day after, instruct students to write a self-reflective assessment of their experience in this process. Encourage them to write freely about what worked, what needed improvement, and any other thoughts or or feelings they had during the process. Invite volunteers to share, but do not make it a requirement. Collect the assessment.
Supporting All Learners
Work closely with struggling students throughout the process or pair them with helpful partners
Address the common occurrence of stage fright. Have students or groups brainstorm strategies that can reduce anxiety.
Send a note home to parents, informing them of the "big day" when the speeches will be delivered in class. Encourage them to rehearse with their child.
- Research and deliver a "quick" three-minute speech.
- Write an extemporaneous speech following the six-step process.
Conduct a similar self-reflective assessment about your teaching experience of this unit on oral presentations. Answer the following questions: What were the high and low points of teaching this unit? What seemed to flow smoothly? Why? What did not flow smoothly? Why not? What would you do differently next time? Do you have any other observations, insights, thoughts, or feelings relevant to teaching this unit?
Written Outcome: Formally assess each speech according to the rubric. Read each self-reflection to understand students' experiences.