Listen Up! Speak Up!
Adapted by Mark Rounds
|California Language Arts Content Standards|
|Standards Addressed in this Unit|
Teacher Background Reading
- Oral Language Development Across the Curriculum
- Effective Communication
- Oral Language - English Exemplar Project
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIESSelect and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:
- Introduce the idea of speaking in a formal and informal context. Students
are given the Rate Yourself As A Speaker Sheet and
are asked to fill it in. Discuss the idea of informal and formal speaking
and explain that in this unit we are going to speak both informally in
groups and formally in a prepared speech to the class.
Teacher explains that the first half of the unit is to practice informal speaking in groups but that we are going to gain in confidence and skills so that we can present a formal speech to the class.
- Students are paired by the teacher. They are given the
Interview Sheet. If
appropriate, vocabulary is discussed.
- Students write the answers to the questions on the sheets and then share the
information by speaking to their partner. One member of the pair is the
listener the other the speaker, then they swap over.
They then use the other side of the Interview Sheet to record their partner's answers. They ask their partner questions if they can't remember.
The pairs then join into groups of four. Each person uses the Interview Sheet about their partner to introduce their partner to the other three people. They stand when they do this.
Then groups of four join another group of four to make groups of eight. Students practice introducing their original partner to the larger group, standing and using their Guideline Interview Sheet.
- Teacher gives students
the rubric so that they
know what interviewing and reporting skills are being assessed.
- The teacher then presents an example of a prepared speech, with a
written copy of a prepared text.
Watch a video of the speech if possible.
- Teacher presents/revises the SEXY structure
for writing expository writing.
Y Your response
- In their original pairs, the students see if they can find this structure in
the text of the prepared speech, or from a speech the teacher prepares and
Teacher models the breakdown on an overhead transparency,
with input from student discussion. Students note the breakdown on their
copy and put into their books/folders. (For other speeches - both spoken and
written - visit
- Students choose one question from the
Guideline Interview Sheet that they
are going to expand into a prepared speech. They
brainstorm and mind-map
ideas that they can talk about. Then they share these ideas with their
partner and see if they can add more. Inspiration software is a tremendous tool for mind mapping.
- Students write the draft of their speech, using the SEXY structure for
- Teacher returns to original text of prepared speech. Students listen to it
again and read it again, this time looking for
distinctive features of a speech.
Discuss with partners, then teacher-led discussion about features
of oral language eg. repetition, rhetorical questions, strong opening
statement, strong conclusions, simile, metaphor, use of humor. Teachers may
wish to provide another contrasting example.
List these with examples from original text on overhead transparency.
- Students return to draft of speech. They now write a 2nd draft, keeping the
SEXY structure but adding 2
features of oral language
from the list. They
share this with their partner and the partner offers the suggestion of one
more feature. This is added to the speech.
- Students write a 3rd draft of their speech and show it to their partner.
If both are agreed that the speech has a SEXY structure and that it has at
features of oral language,
student writes their speech on to cue cards.
- Teacher discusses delivery. If possible show a video - for example, of school
A useful technique is to show the video and then turn the television around
and listen to the speech. Ask the students what they saw when they looked at
the speech. Playing a clip from
City Hall (rated M
for mature audiences) works well here.
Discuss and take note of
- Voice, change of inflexion
- Tone, pace
- Gestures and body language
- Variation: Teacher delivers a speech in a monotone deliberately avoiding using any delivery features
which might animate it. The class are asked to rate the teacher using this
Speech Delivery Checklist.
- Students then practice delivering their speeches to their partner and then to their group of four. They use their Speech Delivery Checklist to assess their own performances and to offer constructive feedback to each other. Finally students deliver speeches to the whole class, and assess each other using the Speech Delivery Checklist. From the Speech Delivery Checklist they then look back to their assessment rubric. The teacher does too and there is a quick discussion of the assessment at the end of each speech. It can be useful if the students are videotaped, so that they can be used for future exemplars and/or to allow for student self assessment. They can also use it as part of the peer assessment process.
Self, Peer and Teacher.
- I used a videotape of part of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream Speech' and a tape of the text in conjunction with an extract from this speech.
- Speeches from the History Channel
- Basic Public Speaking
- Virtual Presentation Assistant
- Speeches and Speechmaking
- American Rhetoric
It became apparent that the pupils wanted to find more information both for their speeches and about Martin Luther King. However, their information skills were pretty limited and more work needs to be done in this area. Because there is so much information on Martin Luther King on the web, this lends itself to a comparative trash or treasure exercise where different Web sites are compared for their usefulness. See the Thinking Critically about Research Sources unit from English Online New Zealand as a useful guide for this.