1. Before students enter the classroom, make sure you have
the TV/VCR set up if you are viewing speeches on video, or
have a tape player or online connection ready to play the audio
versions of the speeches. Also, have text copies of the speeches
available so that students can read along and refer back to
them for deeper analysis. On the board, write the starter activity
for the day: “Divide your paper into four quadrants,
writing one of the following names in each square- Martin Luther
King, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, and Winston Churchill. In
each box, write down everything you know about each man.”
Give the class 5-10 minutes to fill in their chart with all
the background information they know about these four speakers,
or the four that you have chosen (since this lesson will
take two days, plan to present two speeches on day one
and the others
on day two). Discuss with the class the information they
know about each of these men. Write this background information
on the board if you wish, and add any important details,
students may have left out. This is a good opportunity for
the teacher to evaluate the student’s familiarity with
these historical figures.
After briefly discussing the role each of these men played
in our history (in order to
place them in context), explain
to the class: We are going to be studying these men as
authors of great speeches. Over the next two days you
will view and/or
listen to their speeches and analyze what it was that made
them great speakers. Our goal is to learn about what great
speakers do to make such a persuasive impact on their audience
so that we can incorporate these techniques into our own
Pass out the text for the two speeches you have chosen
to listen to today. Ask students to watch
/ listen carefully
each speech and take notes if they wish. At the end of
each speech, ask the class the following questions to
analysis and discussion:
is the first thing you notice about this speech?
does the author’s speaking voice add or detract
from the message he delivers?
is the message of this speech?
persuasive appeals does the speaker use (logic, emotion,
do the facial features and gestures of the speaker
contribute to or detract from the power
of his message?
1. Begin the class period with the question of the day,
which you should have written on the board: “Think
about the two speeches we watched yesterday. Which did
you find more persuasive? Why?” Allow the students
about 5 minutes to respond in writing.
Briefly discuss student responses to the question of
the day. You may wish
to collect their papers for evaluation.
Ask the students to recall the primary persuasive appeals,
which were used in the two speeches from the previous
day. Students should keep the persuasive appeals in mind
they watch the two remaining speeches during today’s
Watch / listen to the remaining two speeches, having
the students answer the same 5 questions from
before for each speech. You may decide to have the
class do this
in writing, instead of during discussion, so that you
may evaluate their written analysis.
Discuss what persuasive techniques were most
commonly used in the speeches and how these techniques contributed
the success of each speaker.
Each day, the students can be evaluated during discussion
to see if they are correctly identifying the three persuasive
appeals. Also, the written responses to the discussion
questions may be assessed.
of the speakers we have studied and find another speech he
has written. Read the speech, and determine if the author uses
persuasive techniques similar or different from those in the
speech we saw in class. (optional)