Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Speak Up

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This language arts lesson is for Day 2 of the unit [Native Americans]. Students will watch two fifth grade students role-playing an effective and an ineffective speaker. They will then brainstorm and discuss qualities of an effective speaker.


The student uses volume, phrasing, and intonation appropriate for different situations (for example, large or small group settings, sharing oral stories, dramatic activities).

The student uses eye contact and appropriate gestures to enhance oral presentations.


-Microphone, to be used as a prop It does not have to be functional.
-One piece of chart paper
-Marker to write on chart paper
-Instructions for Speakers, one copy of each for role-players (in associated file)
-Sample Scripts for Role-Players, one copy of each for role-players (in associated file)
-Picture of Tyrannosaurus Rex (in associated file)
-Language Arts Sunshine State Standards for the unit (in associated file)
-Vocabulary Quiz (in associated file)
-Vocabulary Quiz Key (in associated file)
-Rubric for Speaking (see extensions)


1. Several days in advance of this lesson, make arrangements with a fifth grade teacher for two fifth grade students to role-play an effective and ineffective speaker. (You could even use second grade students if you feel they are capable.) Arrange for the two students to be allowed to conference with you several times before their actual performance so you can give them feedback on their performances and ensure that they perform effectively.
2. Download and make copies of Instructions for Speakers and Sample Scripts for Role-Players (in associated file).
3. Download and make a copy of Tyrannosaurus Rex (in associated file).
4. Download and make copies of the Vocabulary Quiz, one per student and Vocabulary Quiz Key, one copy for the teacher (in associated file).
5. Distribute the Instructions for Speakers, Sample Scripts for Role-Players, and picture of Tyrannosaurus Rex to the fifth grade students who will do the role-playing.
6. Conference with the fifth grade role-players several times in advance of their performance to allow opportunities for them to practice. Provide them with formative feedback so their performances will be effective.


Note: This lesson is an introductory lesson on effective speaking skills. Students will later use the effective speaking skills introduced in this lesson to complete Summative Assessment 1 on Day 8 and Summative Assessment 3 on Day 14. Both of these Summatives should take place during the designated language arts time.

1. Grab a microphone (doesn’t have to be functional, just use one for a prop), put on a hat or jacket or some other piece of clothing to make yourself look different, and ask the question, “What makes a good speaker?” Allow time for discussion.

2. Explain that because there is so much information about Native Americans you need the students to help you be the teacher. Tell them that over the next couple of weeks they will learn many interesting facts about Native Americans. You are counting on them to share these facts with each other.

3. One way of learning a lot of facts about Native Americans is to read informational texts. Define informational text as printed words that tell information or facts about a subject. Explain that students will then use this information to speak to the class and share what they have learned about their subject.

Note -If the teacher has not already added this word and its meaning to the Big Word display, do so at this time.

4. Therefore, students will need to learn how to speak to inform. (Set purpose).

5. Explain that when we speak to inform we speak to tell others information or facts about a subject.

6. Pose the question “What makes a good speaker?” again. Allow time for additional comments.

7. Tell students you’ve asked two fifth graders to come in and speak to the class. Ask them to listen to the speakers and try to figure out which one does the best job of speaking and what he does that makes him a better speaker.

8. The two fifth grade students role-play an effective and an ineffective speaker. One student includes proper volume, phrasing, intonation, eye contact, and gestures, while the other turns his back from the audience, speaks in broken phrases in a low, monotonous voice and does not include any gestures.

9. When the role-playing is finished, students discuss effectiveness of each speaker and the criteria for being a good speaker.

10. Together the teacher and students devise a list of key criteria for effective speaking. The teacher records these on chart paper.

11. The teacher will use the student-generated list of criteria to formatively assess student knowledge of effective speaking criteria and provide feedback. Feedback should be guiding (Actually, tone means the sound of your voice.) and positive (Yes, great thinking! We do need to speak with more volume when we are speaking to a large group.).

12. Share the Second Grade standards for speaking and the Rubric for Speaking.

13. Compare the students’ list of key criteria with the criteria on the rubric. Define volume, tone, phrasing, eye contact, and gestures.
· Volume – the loudness of your voice
· Tone – changing the sound of your voice when you say different kinds of sentences
· Phrasing – grouping words you speak in a way that makes your speech easy to understand
· Eye Contact – Looking at the people who are listening to you while you speak
· Gestures – Moving your hands or body to make your speech more interesting to those who are listening.

14. Add these words and their meanings to the Big Word display established earlier in the unit.

15. Tell students the criteria on the rubric are the qualities of speaking they will be learning about in the next few weeks. Post the rubric in an appropriate spot for future reference.

16. Throughout the remainder of the day, the teacher will make a conscious effort to point out evidence of good speaking when the students speak.

17. A few minutes before dismissal distribute Vocabulary Quiz papers. Explain that students will not receive a grade on the quiz. Read the directions to the students. Have students complete the quiz and turn in their papers. The teacher will use the quiz papers to formatively assess student understanding of the vocabulary and to guide instruction. Feedback should be both positive and guiding. Positive feedback might include “Great job! You remembered all the words and their meanings.” Guiding feedback might include, “You got a little confused. See me so I can help you.”

Note: The teacher will need to cover the Big Word Display before the quiz is administered if the students can easily see it.


Use the students’ lists of criteria for effective speaking to formatively assess student knowledge. Provide feedback to student responses.

Prior to dismissal for the day, students will complete a Vocabulary Quiz to match the new vocabulary words with their meanings. The teacher will use this instrument to formatively assess student understanding of the terms volume, phrasing, tone, eye contact, and gestures and to guide instruction.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL:
Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
2. Securely fasten a full-length mirror to a wall or other surface in the room so students can stand in front of it and practice their speaking skills throughout the unit.
3. For added practice with gestures, have students write a sentence that lends itself to gestures, such as: Shhh, the baby is sleeping. The door is over there. Allow students to practice and discuss their sentences and gestures to make sure they are appropriate and enhance the communications.
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