And one of these opportunities comes in the form of a public speech.
Sometimes it helps to give students something easy to talk about for this speech.
Usually I ask students to tell us about their day, or they might even just quote a familiar song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
For more developed speeches, students will explain a topic, but will include intentional mistakes with their formatting, organization, and verbal expression as well.
Finally, try this variation on the impromptu speech.
In Tokyo in 2003, Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein devised a new style of presentation for “Young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.” They called their creation (pronounced “puh-CHOCK-chuh”), which is Japanese for “Chatter.” If you’re tired of the same old Power Point speech, then this dynamic presentation style may spice up your class and allow your students to take advantage of a convenient, highly popular new form.
The concept works like this: The speaker creates exactly 20 slides, each of which appears on screen for exactly 20 seconds.
Once it’s time to speak, students have a convenient visual aid/outline to bring up with them.
Their speech will be as simple as “I cut out my poster in the shape of a triangle because I’m very nervous to come up here and give my speech.” And so on, explaining each of the symbols they chose to put on their GLYPH.
You can usually orchestrate this so that while one student is speaking, the next student is in the hall preparing their speech. Students can be encouraged to tell a story about their object, inform the class about the object’s uses, treat the object as a metaphor for some abstract topic, or just talk about what they like or don’t like about the object. While such speeches take the pressure off of students to formally prepare and rehearse a speech, the spontaneity and time constraints can prove rather challenging for many students.
Objects should be items you’d typically have available in your classroom or home: An Eraser, a protractor, post-it notes, a folder, toilet paper, a picture frame … With speaking and communication skills playing such an important role in our world, it’s essential we use public speeches as one avenue through which we help students develop those skills.