Public Speaking & Writing by Michael (Q2)

The Young Public Speaker
Course Description:
Students will participate in six engaging lessons designed to stimulate self discovery, instill confidence, and build fundamental leadership skills. Topics will include verbal and non-verbal communication, persuasion, and techniques of oral presentation. Students will to deliver short, informal presentations as well as longer speeches.

Lesson 1: Students will discover their personality type and better understand their interests. They will share with the class a hobby they enjoy and what makes it enjoyable.
Reading: "Seventh Grade" by Gary Soto

Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Middle school can be intimidating, and is no exception. In the story, Victor falls in love with Teresa and tries to impress her with his non-existent French skills and avoids embarrassement from Mr. Bueller.

Write about a time you experienced something pleasantly unexpected.

Lesson 2: Students share their favorite toy and persuade the class to purchase it.

Reading: The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe
The narrator in Poe's famous poem is trapped beneath the raven's ominous shadow. As we progress through life, fears and obstacles abound, but it is important to understand and overcome our fears.

Write about one thing you are or were fearful of. Did you overcome it?

Lesson 3: Each student will run for class President or a different leadership position of another organization of their choosing. The rest of the class will participate in a mock election. Young speakers will be taught how to engage with their audiences and the art of being persuasive.

Reading: "Charles" by Shirley Jackson

Lesson 4: Each student will be given an unknown object in class. They will make a presentation describing what it is, how it may be used, and why others may find it useful or desirable. The class will review proper essay writing techniques and learn how professional writing goes hand-in-hand with excellent communication skills. Student evaluations will be provided by the instructor for specific public speaking criteria: clarity, flow, the ability to engage an audience, and depth.

Reading: "The Fly" by Katherine Mansfield

Lesson 5: Students will gain valuable middle and high school level writing approaches and learn the fundamentals of serious essay writing. Students will brainstorm several ideas for what they wish to be when they grow up and finally settle on one per student. Each student will persuade the rest of the class to pursue that profession and the rest of the class will indicate its interest level upon the conclusion of each speaker's presentation.

Reading: "The Fun They Had" by Issac Asimov

Lesson 6: Each student will open his or her own business and begin selling a product of their choice. The rest of the class will act as potential customers and score each presenter upon the conclusion of his or her presentation. Final evaluations for each student will be provided for each student, marking the end of the 2nd quarter.

  • Students describe their Winter Break and New Year celebrations following the Public Speaking for Leaders rubric, and are evaluated by their peers for: level of detail, cohesion, confidence level, and level of engagement.
  • Students are taught the elements of writing a cohesive opening essay paragraph and all of its components: the opening sentence (hook), thesis, and how to properly construct an argument. Also, pitfalls to avoid are discussed: usage of 1st and 2nd person (I, we, us, you), contractions, poor sentence flow, etc.
  • Students are taught what makes a good body support paragraph, and how to write one.