Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Vicky Nichols
Bay District Schools


No matter how good a written speech is, the delivery is what the audience remembers. Learning about and practicing volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation helps students to deliver an oral presentation effectively.


The student evaluates classroom presentations according to volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation.

The student uses a rating sheet to compare and contrast effective and ineffective presentations according to volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation.


-Internet connected computer with speakers
-Speaking Behaviors Checklist (See Associated File)
-What Makes A Good Speaker? rubric (Extensions)
-Student speeches written in a previous Beacon lesson, entitled, Attracting An Audience with Purpose (See Weblinks)
-Student Folders
-Audio of Nolan Ryan's speech (see extensions)


1. Listen to the speech by Nolan Ryan. Note any examples of pacing, volume, stress or pronunciation--good or bad.(see extensions)
2. Duplicate the Checklist. (3 checklists per person) If duplicating is an issue, make one copy per student. Have each student take 3 sheets of notebook paper and put a group member's name at the top of each and sign his/her own name at the bottom. Students should list these words on the paper and can then just write a number after it according to the criteria on the checklist: Volume, Stress, Pacing, Pronunciation. Students should keep the checklist with criteria handy as they rate group members. Students should share their rating with the speaker along with the helpful comments.


Note: This is the fifth lesson in the Beacon Unit, What Makes A Good Speaker?

1. Review yesterday's Great Speeches Question #4: Why should you take the time to organize an oral presentation with an introduction, body including support and transitions, and a conclusion? Allow students to share answers and make corrections as needed. This should be placed in the students' folders to be used on a summative assessment later in the unit.

2. While students have their folders out, have them take out the rubric What Makes A Great Speaker? Remind students that they have chosen a great leader to make an oral presentation about. (Beacon lesson, What Makes A Good Speaker? See Weblinks.) Discuss the rubric (see associated file) including today's topic of speaking behaviors of volume, stress, pacing and pronounciation. Make sure students understand these words as they pertain to public speaking. These rubrics will need to be placed back in the students' folders to be used to assess their oral presentations later in this unit.

3. Distribute the Speaking Behaviors Checklist found in the associated file. At this time students listen to the acceptance speech of Nolan Ryan when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Weblink for this as well as backgound for the Hall of Fame are listed below. The speech is about 8 minutes long. Stop it after 3 or 4 minutes--there are several good stopping points--if time is short. Discuss each of the speaking behaviors-volume, stress, pacing, and pronounciation, as it applies to this audio speech. Students can refer to the checklist. The class should come to a concensus that Nolan Ryan's public speaking behaviors are good, and that he employs each of these behaviors during this speech.

4. Instruct students to look in their folders and retrieve their short speeches written during the previous Beacon lesson, Attracting An Audience With Purpose. Specifically use the speeches from the activity, Who Are You Talking To? Divide students into groups of 4. Each student should choose one of the four speeches he/she wrote to deliver in the group. The other 3 students will rate this student on his/her speaking behaviors using the Speaking Behaviors Checklist in the associated file. They take turns until all group members have orally delivered a speech and rated the others. Tell them to share NICELY in the group how each person can improve his/her oral delivery according to what was noted on the checklists. (i.e., Slow down, you talked so fast that I couldn't understand or you need to stress a couple of important words.) Allow about 15 minutes.

5. Bring all students back together and collect the checklists for assessment purposes. Allow discussion of what students discovered.

6. Write on the board the Great Speeches Question 5: Why should a speaker pay attention to the volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation when making an oral presentation?

7. Inform students that they will be taking a graded Summative Assessment the next class session. They will be able to use their Great Speeches Questions and notes on the multiple choice assessment.


The Speaking Behaviors Checklist is used for formative assessment purposes. Check to see that each student rated those in his group with understanding. Students who rated all others in the group with a very low score or a very high score may need more instruction on how to rate speaking behaviors. It may also be beneficial to provide formative feedback for those students who received poor scores on their speeches.


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 unitís 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. Nolan Ryan's speech (an audio version) can be accessed by going to the unit, Speak for Yourself. (See Weblinks) The speech is one of the attached files.

Web Links

Information about the Baseball Hall of Fame
Baseball Hall of Fame background information

A previous lesson in the unit
Attracting an Audience with Purpose

This is the entire unit including files and instructions.
Speak for Yourself

Attached Files

The Speaking Behaviors Checklist.†††††File Extension: pdf

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