Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Speak Up!

Four Categories of Speeches

Adam Yeargin, Matthew McDonald | Published: November 8th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course Composition, Creative Writing
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
  • Duration More 120 minutes


This lesson will serve as an introductory unit covering four major types of speeches: informative, demonstrative, persuasive, and special occasion (extemporaneous). Students will watch videos demonstrating these four types of speeches, then collaborate to create a brief presentation on one type of their choice. Students will share their presentations and engage classmates to add additional examples. Finally, given a rubric, students will outline a short speech on a topic of their choosing, and they will then evaluate their own outlines before evaluating those of their peers. This lesson includes optional modifications for distance learning. Resources for use in Google Classroom are included.

Essential Question(s)

How does speechmaking apply to the real world? What makes a speech “great?”



Students match speakers from history with their famous speeches.


Students watch videos exemplifying the four major types of speeches: informative, demonstrative, persuasive, and special occasion (or extemporaneous).


Students choose groups based on the type of speech that most interest them, collaborating to create a brief presentation.


Students share group presentations. The class responds to each presentation by suggesting topics and situations in which the presented type of speech would be most appropriate.


Referencing a rubric, students select a type of speech and topic. Then, they outline this speech and evaluate by self-assessment with a partner.


  • Kick Me Activity Labels (attached), sticky notes, or adhesive paper

  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Magnetic Statements posters (attached)

  • Note Catcher (attached; one per student)

  • Speech Outline Rubric (attached; one per student)

  • Blank posters or paper

  • Poster-making supplies (markers, pens, etc.)

  • Internet-enabled devices (Chromebooks, iPads, etc.) (optional)


Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the instruction, beginning with slide 3. Share the lesson's Essential Questions: How does speech-making apply to the real world?What makes a speech great? Ask students to consider these questions as they explore the main ideas presented in the lesson. Consider also sharing the lesson's Learning Objectives displayed on slide 4.

Move to slide 5. Introduce students to the Kick Me learning strategy, which calls for labels to be attached to students' backs. Affix one of the prepared Kick Me Activity Labels to each student's back, making sure students cannot see their own labels. Share with students that each of them has been labeled with either a speechmaker (for example, Abraham Lincoln) or a speech fragment ("Four score and seven years ago ..."). Ask students to stand and move about the room, speaking with classmates to find out: 1) which speechmaker or speech fragment they are, and 2) their speechmaker's matching speech (or vice versa). Students should comply with the rules detailed on slide 5: they can ask two "yes" or "no" questions per partner before they must move to a new partner, and they cannot tell any other students who or what they are unless answering "yes" or "no" to a direct question. Allow about 10 minutes for this activity. Have students sit with their partner for the next phase of this lesson.


Pass out a copy of the attached Note Catcher—Types of Speeches to each student. Invite students to watch the prepared videos selected to exemplify four types of speeches: demonstrative, informative, persuasive, and special occasion (or extemporaneous). Ask students to record the main characteristics of each speech type and what they notice about it on their Note Catchers as they watch. After each video, give the students a short time to finish writing their thoughts and discuss their notes with their partner from the Engage activity. Allow about 40 minutes total for this activity.


Move to slide 14. Ask students to think about which type of speech most interests them. Then, ask students to move to stand beside the Magnetic Statements poster labeled with the type of speech they find most compelling. Once students form groups this way, invite students to collaborate with their new group members and create a brief presentation. Each group's presentation should include the purpose and major characteristics of their chosen type of speech. Allow about 10 minutes for this activity.


Move to slide 15. Have each group nominate a representative to share with the class a few hallmarks of the type of speech they chose. Have each group present, displaying the poster they created as their representative speaks. Ask the representative to then solicit the class for examples of situations or topics where this type of speech would be appropriate, and have the group add these examples to the poster. Repeat this process for all groups. Allow 15–20 minutes for this activity.


Move to slide 16. Ask students to work individually and select one style in which they could prepare and present a speech. Have them then select a topic that they could write or present about that is suited to that type of speech. Hand out the attached Speech Outline Rubric to students. Invite students to outline a 1–2 minute speech, in accordance with the expectations for the outline noted in the Speech Outline Rubric, as follows:

  1. Clearly indicating the topic, which reflects the content of the speech

  2. Clearly stating the speech's intentions and purpose, and then achieving that purpose

  3. Following a framework including a labeled intro, body with points indicated, and conclusion

  4. Fully developing well-organized points

  5. Achieving generally accurate spelling, punctuation, and capitalization

After giving the students time to complete their outlines, invite them to find a partner and self-evaluate using the rubric. Then, have them trade outlines with a partner for peer evaluation. Allow 20–25 minutes for this activity.