Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Direct Express

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This language arts lesson is for Day 3 of the unit [Native Americans]. Students will explore speaking for different purposes (i.e., to inform, to express ideas, and to entertain).


The student speaks for different purposes (for example, informing, entertaining, expressing ideas).


-An interesting old shoe
-Creative story about the adventures of an old shoe
-Index cards, any size, enough for each student to have 3
-Speaking to Inform, Speaking to Express Ideas, and Speaking to Entertain charts (in associated file)
-Note to Parents (in associated file)
-Rubric for Speaking, one per student (in associated file), stapled to Note to Parents


1. Obtain an interesting old shoe.
2. Create an entertaining story about the adventures of the old shoe (Make sure to use effective speaking strategies).
3. Download and make copies of Speaking to Inform, Speaking to Express Ideas, and Speaking to Entertain charts, one of each (in associated file). You might want to mount these on construction paper and laminate them to make them sturdier.
4. Download and make a copy of the Game Cards (in associated file). It is suggested they be glued to an index card or construction paper and laminated to make them sturdier.
5. Cut out the cards.
6. Decorate a sandwich bag in a way that reflects your interests, hobbies, and personal life.
7. Collect 3-4 small objects that symbolize things that are important to you and place them in the sandwich bag.
8. Download and make copies of the Note to Parents and Rubric for Speaking, one per student (in associated file). Staple the Rubric for Speaking behind the Note to Parents.
9. Gather materials.


1. Review criteria for effective speaking and vocabulary words as stated in the lesson [Speak Up] on Day 2.

2. The teacher holds up an old shoe (use a moccasin if possible) and tells students she is going to speak with them today as if she is the shoe.

3. The teacher speaks to the class about her adventures as a shoe.

4. When finished, the teacher asks the students if her speech was similar or different to the speeches made previously.

5. Guide students in realizing that the speeches were different in that the other students spoke to inform the class about dinosaurs and killer whales, while the teacher spoke to entertain the class.

6. Tell students that there are three purposes for speaking. They are: speaking to inform, speaking to express ideas, and speaking to entertain. Discuss and post the Speaking to Inform, Speaking to Express Ideas, and Speaking to Entertain charts (in associated file) around the classroom. Discuss examples of each.

7. Explain that you want to give students some practice in identifying the purpose for speaking. They will play a game.

8. Give each student three index cards. Tell them to write the word “inform” on one, the words “express ideas” on one, and the word “entertain” on the last. Remind students they can use the charts you posted earlier as informational texts to know how to spell these words.

9. Tell them you have some cards, too. These are the Game Cards (in associated file). Examples of speaking for different purposes are on the cards. Show students your deck of cards.

10. When selected by the teacher, the student is to pick a card from the teacher’s deck, read it silently, and then read the card out loud.

11. Students at their desks will then be asked to decide if that person was speaking to inform, to express ideas, or to entertain. When the teacher gives the signal, students at their desks are to hold up the correct index card that identifies the purpose for speaking.

12. Play the game until all the cards have been used.

13. The teacher uses the game to formatively assess student understanding of purposes for speaking and provides formative feedback each time the cards are held up. Feedback should be both guiding (Think again. When he says, “The Plains Indians prayed to the Great Spirit before hunting for buffalo.” does he give you information about the Plains Indians or does he entertain you?) and positive (Terrific! You are really concentrating. This speaker is speaking to express her ideas about her favorite Indian artwork.)

14. Review the different purposes for speaking.

15. Tell students they will have opportunities in the next few days to practice speaking to both small and large groups. Explain that one project is called “It’s In the Bag.”

16. Explain the [It’s In the Bag Project]:

A. At home, students are asked to collect 3-4 small objects that in some way symbolize things that are important to them. Some ideas include: a symbol of their family, a symbol of their favorite food, a symbol of their favorite hobby or sport, a symbol of their favorite book, a symbol of their best friend, pet, game, or whatever is important to them.

B. Also at home, the student is to decorate a sandwich bag in a way that reflects him/her. For instance, if is an avid soccer player, he might draw and color soccer balls on his bag. Remind students to make sure they include their name.

C. The student then places the collected objects in the bag and brings it to school.

D. On Day 7 of the language arts lesson plan [Practice Makes Perfect] students will take turns speaking to the class. They will take one object at a time out of their bag and tell the class about the object and what it symbolizes. The Rubric for Speaking (see extensions) will be used to assess their performance.

17. The teacher then shows an example of a sandwich bag that she has decorated and models the speaking criteria on the rubric while sharing the importance of the symbols in her bag.

18. The teacher distributes the Note to Parents and the Rubric for Speaking (in associated file). He/she asks students to take them home so their parents will know about the project.


Formatively assess student responses during the card game to determine if students can correctly identify purposes for speaking. Formative feedback will be provided.


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. After the student says what is on the teacher’s Game Card, the class could discuss the purpose for speaking. Upon identifying the purpose, the card could be placed under the correct chart posted in the classroom.
3. Ask students to write an example of each purpose for speaking.
4. For extra practice, ask students to get in groups of three. Ahead of time, prepare three cards for each group. On one card, print a joke, on another card print a simple recipe and on the third card, print an opinion. All groups should have the same information on their cards. Students read their cards to other group members and decide if the purpose is to entertain, inform or express an opinion. Circulate as students work, noting those who have difficulty and might need more practice.
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