Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Political Speech

Brian Rowland


Students listen to a variety of speeches and analyze their purposesand how well the speaker achieved that purpose. Students analyze methods used by the speaker and their effectiveness. Students present their analyses to the class.


The student selects and uses appropriate listening strategies according to the intended purpose (such as solving problems, interpreting and evaluating the techniques and intent of a presentation, and taking action in career-related situations).

The student uses effective strategies for informal and formal discussions, including listening actively and reflectively, connecting to and building on the ideas of a previous speaker, and respecting the viewpoints of others.

The student understands specific ways in which language has shaped the reactions, perceptions, and beliefs of the local, national, and global communities.


-Recordings of famous speeches
-Historical background of speeches
-Student copies of Assessment Rubric
-Graphic organizer
-Tape players


Gather recordings of the speeches and primary source material.


Authentic Context:
You are running for class president and must present a speech to the student body. Your teacher has suggested that you listen to some famous historical speeches to help you prepare for your own speech. Select and then listen to a famous political speech; for example, a presidential inaugural address or Martin Luther Kingís 'I Have a Dream' speech. Analyze the speech for its effectiveness. Create a plan to write an effective speech.

1. Facilitate a discussion of famous speeches that the class can analyze. The discussion should center around both the speaker and the historical context.
2. Have students listen to a few minutes of each speech and then select one speech to analyze as a class.
3. Give students a graphic organizer that analyzes the speakerís audience, purpose, and methods.
4. Provide students with additional information about the speech so students can evaluate the speechís effectiveness, i.e., Martin Luther Kingís 'Dream' speech. Disseminate information to the students about the dates, places, crowd estimates, atmosphere, current events of the time.
5. Provide the class with a list of techniques good speakers use; for example, repetition, emotional and logical appeals, figurative language.
6. Discuss these techniques and give examples of each.
7. Listen to the speech and have students take notes on the graphic organizer.
8. Listen to the speech again. This time, individuals will listen for specific purposes. One (or two) students will listen for and analyze the speakerís purpose and how well it was accomplished; one will listen for and analyze how the speech might affect the audience; and one will listen for and analyze the methods used by the speaker.
9. Present findings to the class through an oral presentation.
10. Assess the presentation using the rubric.


Assessment Rubric

4 = Superior; 3 = Good; 2 = Average; 1 = Needs Improvement

1. Student recorded and organized information
gathered on a graphic organizer. 4 3 2 1
2. Student has analyzed the speakerís purpose and how well it was accomplished. 4 3 2 1
3. Student has analyzed how the speech might affect the audience. 4 3 2 1
4. Student has accurately identified the methods used in the speech. 4 3 2 1
5. Student has analyzed the methods used in the speech.
4 3 2 1
6. Student presentation was accurate. 4 3 2 1

How did the listening strategies you used help you to understand the speaker's purpose? Why is it important to use different listening strategies?


Students compose, prepare, and deliver a speech to the student body on an issue of their choice.
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