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Beginning Speeches and Impromptu Speech Topics

 

Submitted by:  Ellen Mize 

Beginning Speeches:

Near the beginning of each school year, I do a speech activity with my 6th grade students.  I teach English in a middle school situation. (Six 40-minute classes each day)  Students may come from 5 public and 2 parochial elementary schools. This serves as a get-acquainted activity, and it also seems to be a nonthreatening way to get students to speak in front of their classmates.

The purpose of the speech is to introduce the partner to the class.

 

Day One:

1.  Assign or have students draw for partners.

2.  With students, brainstorm and record possible interview questions. (Birth date, siblings, elementary school attended, favorite singers, favorite color, etc.)  I usually require some of these questions and leave the rest open.

3.  Have students record the questions that they intend to ask.  Discuss framing questions in order to obtain more information.  Discuss avoiding "yes" or "no" questions.  Discuss follow-up questions and suggest that they include a few.

 

Day Two:

1.  Complete interviews.  (Start with the person with the shortest hair or the longest,  or the person closest to the door, or the person with the most blue on......)

2.  Begin writing introductions. I tell students:

        a.  Think of a creative way to start

        b.  Do not use--"This is ....," or "I am going to introduce....."

        c.  Do not end with "That's all I know about......"

3.  Speeches are to be 2-4 minutes long.

 

Day Three:

1.  Allow a little time for follow-up questions, finishing interviews, absentees, etc.

2.  Draw for speaking positions.

3.  Allow a little time for finishing and practicing.

 

Day Four:  (or more)

1.  Have both students in pair come to the front of the classroom.

2.  Each introduces the other to the class.  (Applause is mandatory!)

 

Depending on the class size, I may try to include other instruction or activities while we are finishing or preparing for the introductions.

 

Variations:

1.  Pretend that the partner is actually a guest who is going to speak to the class.  Include their topic in the introduction.

2.  Pretend that the partner is much older.  Introduce them as an award winner in their chosen career.

 

If desired, keep the written copy of the introduction for later use in a writing activity. I sometimes have students write their own introductions, make corrections, choose a different name and explain why, etc.

 

IMPROMPTU SPEECH TOPICS:

These were generated by students.  Students draw topic.  Prepare for one minute and speak for one-two minutes giving answers and explanations.

 

1.  If you could have one wish, what would it be?

2.  If you could take a cruise for a week, where would you go?

3.  If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?

4.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

5.  If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

6.  How would you define courage?

7.  What subject do you think you're best at in school?

8.  Who is your role model?

9.    Describe the best vacation place you've gone.

10.  What do you like to do more than anything in the world?

11.  What is your favorite sport?

12.   What is your favorite book?

13.  If you could be a farm animal, which one would you be?

14.  What is your favorite day of the week?

15.   Tell about your favorite hobby.

16.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

17.  What is your favorite song and who sings it?

18.  What do you like to do in your spare time?

19.  What is your idea of a perfect job?

20.  If you could be rich or famous, which would you choose?

21.  If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?

22.  If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be?

23.  What is your favorite possession?

24.  Who is your favorite teacher? (besides Mrs. Mize, of course)

25.  What is your favorite school subject?  (besides English, of course)

26.  What is the scariest event that you've ever experienced?

27.  If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?

28.  If you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 

I keep a collection of these available at all times.   We may use them for a Friday activity, an after-the-test activity, or for a sponge activity at the end of a period.

 

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