Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Let's Give You Something to Talk About!

Daniel Schwarz, Mary Braggs, Sherry Franklin | Published: October 14th, 2022 by K20 Center


Students will listen to an engaging speech and record their thoughts. Students will then choose a topic of their interest and write down all they know about the topic in a two-minute paper. Students will learn more about preparing a speech and discuss their learning with their peers. They will create an outline for a speech along with cue cards over their chosen topic. Students will record themselves delivering the speech in Flip and complete a self-reflection rubric.

Essential Question

How can you find ways to speak clearly and confidently to large groups?

Learning Goals

  • Students will construct outlines and cue cards to prepare speeches.

  • Students will practice delivering their speeches and critique their own speeches using a self-reflection rubric.







Materials List

  • Activity Slides (attached)

  • Speech Outline handout (attached; one per student)

  • Speech Self-Reflection Rubric (attached; one per student)

  • Computers, tablets, or smartphones with internet access

  • Pens/pencils

  • Paper

  • Index cards

  • Highlighters

  • Business attire for final speeches (optional)


15 Minute(s)

Begin by displaying slide 3 from the attached Activity Slides. Inform students that they will watch a speech by a graduating high school senior and complete an I Notice, I Wonder exercise. Have students take out a piece of paper and divide the sheet into two columns labeled “Notice” and “Wonder.” In the appropriate columns, have students answer the questions on the slide:

  • What are some positive things about the speech that you noticed?

  • What are things you noticed that could be improved in the speech?

  • What do you wonder you might need to do to prepare a speech for a large audience? 

Go to slide 4 and play the embedded video of North Penn High School student Kaelan Daly delivering her valedictorian speech.

After students have filled in their “I Notice, I Wonder” charts, have a few students share their responses.

Transition through slides 5–6 and introduce to students the essential question and learning objectives of the activity. Explain to students that, by the end of this activity, they will deliver speeches of their own. Let them know there is no need to panic, as this activity will help them learn to write and deliver speeches with confidence.


40 Minute(s)

Display slide 7. Ask students to think about a topic they enjoy talking about with others. The topic could be relevant to subjects they are passionate about or to the particular club in which this activity takes place.

Ask students to write a Two-Minute Paper in which they list everything they know about that topic and explain why it interests them. Let students know that they do not need to worry about spelling or grammar as they write. You may use the two-minute timer in the slide to moderate the exercise.

Once students are finished with their papers, display slide 8 and have students share their papers with an Elbow Partner. You may use the five-minute timer in the slide to moderate the discussions. 

Once students finish sharing with their Elbow Partner, have students share anything unique or interesting they may have learned from their partner’s paper. You could take a moment to point out when students showed enthusiasm as they shared their topic with their peers. Encourage students to harness that enthusiasm as they craft and deliver their speeches. 

Display slide 9 and have students navigate to an article link embedded in the slide. Provide students with a few minutes to read the article. From the article, students will learn the steps they need to take to prepare to speak in front of an audience.

Proceed to slide 10. This part of the activity will engage students with an exercise that merges two strategies: Fold the Line and S-I-T. Have students form one long line. “Fold” the line in half by having the students in the front walk down toward the students at the end of the line. The rest of the line follows the leader, so when the leader reaches the end of the line and stops moving, each student stands across from the classmate who was opposite them in line. The students facing each other will be paired as Elbow Partners. Within each pair, students will take turns answering the three questions on the slide, which ask them to consider the most surprising, interesting, and troubling aspects of speech preparation. 


60 Minute(s)

Display slide 11. Take a few moments to go over each portion of the outline with students. Let students know that they will write an outline to prepare a 2–5-minute speech that they will record for themselves later in the activity.

Distribute a copy of the attached Speech Outline handout to each student. On a separate sheet of paper, have students work alone or in groups and write their outlines for their speeches using the outline provided on the handout as a model. Walk around the room to check on students and make sure they have a clear idea of what they want to share with the audience in their speech. Make sure that they know how to convince the audience that their topic is important.


45 Minute(s)

Display slide 13. Inform students that they will write speech resources in class using cue cards. Let them know that they should have a cue card for each of the following:

  1. Introduction

  2. Main idea 1

  3. Main idea 2

  4. Main idea 3

  5. Closing

Students will use highlighters to color-code main ideas, supporting details, and transitions.

You may display slide 14 if you wish to share an example of a highlighted cue card with students.


10 Minute(s)

Display slide 16. Let students know they will record their speeches using an app called Flip (formerly Flipgrid). Let students know that they will be able to read from their cue cards as they record their speeches, although they should try to look at the camera when possible. 

Afterward, distribute the attached Speech Self-Reflection Rubric to each student. Ask students to read through the rubric carefully as they watch the recordings of their speeches. Encourage students to keep the following questions in mind, which they will answer at the bottom of the rubric: What did I do well? Where can I improve?

Research Rationale

Regardless of the focus of the extracurricular activity, club participation can lead to higher grades (Durlak et al., 2010; Fredricks & Eccles, 2006; Kronholz, 2012), and additional benefits are possible when these clubs explore specific curricular frameworks. Club participation enables students to acquire and practice skills beyond a purely academic focus. It also affords them opportunities to develop skills such as self-regulation, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking (Allen et al., 2019). When structured with a strong curricular focus, high school clubs can enable participants to build the critical social skills and "21st-century skills" that better position them for success in college and the workforce (Allen et al., 2019; Durlak et al., 2010; Hurd & Deutsch, 2017). Supportive relationships between teachers and students can be instrumental in developing a student's sense of belonging (Pendergast et al., 2018; Wallace et al., 2012), and these support systems enable high-need, high-opportunity youth to establish social capital through emotional support, connection to valuable information resources, and mentorship in a club context (Solberg et al., 2021). Through a carefully designed curriculum that can be implemented within the traditional club structure, students stand to benefit significantly as they develop critical soft skills.