49 Practice Speeches: Activities and Resources
Fortune Cookie Speeches
Either bring in a bunch of fortune cookies, print a bunch of fortune cookie saying, or use this fortune cookie generator and have students draw two fortunes. They have five minutes to prepare an impromptu speech on that topic. (This idea came from a forum where teachers shared ideas at a state teacher’s conference)
Show and Tell
Give students five minutes to find an object near them and have them give a speech using that as a prop. It is best to ban keys and cell phones as the object.
My Junk Drawer
The teacher goes into their junk drawer and draws out about twenty items and puts them in a bag. Students have to draw items out of the bag and then they give an impromptu speech using that item.
Alternative: Do a progressive story where every person contributes a little bit to the story. To do this, give everyone a list of common transitions. The teacher starts a story using their object (yes, students like it when the teacher joins). “Once upon a time, a madman sat down at his desk and picked up his pen (hold up a pen)to write a fanciful story, however…”
Next student holds up their object to adds to the story. Whatever they say, they have to end with a transition.
After the story, everyone passes the object to the right. Do the game a second time where they have to begin with a transition.
Use Speech Prompts
to Advance Objectives
Thoughts on using speech prompts
Connect with a Lesson: Impromptu speeches should always follow a lesson. It could be a lesson on starting a speech strong, using vivid language, how to project your voice. Students will find them more meaningful and less like busywork if they are packaged in a lesson.
- Teach the lesson
- Let them practice the speech
- Talk about how the speech applied to the lesson.
Speak in Small Groups for Some of the Prompts: Let them speak in small groups to build confidence. Sometimes, practice speeches should be to the whole class, other times, they should be to small groups.
- Have students sit in circles and give their practice speeches.
- If online, you can put them in Zoom rooms.
- If it is a nice day, you can let them stand in different locations outside.
- Have them give their speech to a small group. Let the group give them feedback on how to improve and then have them give the speech again to either a different group or to the whole class.
-Getting to Know You
- What comic strip are you most like and why?
- Write a bumper sticker that describes your philosophy of life.
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
- Which are you most like, and why? Chameleon, Erasure, Paper bag, Tape, Comet
- How many hats do you wear? List at least four specific roles in your life and tell of the role and the hat that most fits that role.
- What was your worst home-decorating, fix it experience.
- Describe a time when “nature couldn’t wait”
- Tell me about a time that you won something?
- What was the wildest prank you were ever involved in?
- What was the best advice you ever received?
- If you were invisible for one day, what would you do?
- What is your nickname? How did you get it?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Describe the most unforgettable character you have ever met.
- What song could be your theme song and why?
- What place have you visited that you would never visit again?
All the Best
These make really interesting speech prompts. They make great prompts allowing students to use vivid language and to create word pictures. Give a lesson on vividness and then let them work on descriptions.
- The best teacher I ever…
- The best gift I ever…
- The best vacation I ever…
- The best food I ever…
- The best toy I ever…
- The most interesting car I ever drove…
- The most interesting food I ever ate…
- The most interesting thing I’ve ever seen…
- The most interesting animal I’ve ever encountered…
- The most unusual encounter I’ve ever…
- A time I was really embarrassed…
- A time I chickened out (got scared and couldn’t finish)
- A time I was really sad…
- A time I was really happy…
- A time I took at big chance and it paid off…
- A time I was glad to have friends…
- A time I nearly dies…
- The time I got this scar…
- The time I realized I had this unusual ability…
- A time I felt invisible…
- A time I put others first…
- A time I realized I’m stronger than anyone though I would be…
- A time I got lost…
Add an Element of Surprise
- Instead of just writing topics on the board, try one one of these.
- Draw the topic out of a bag, a hat, or a funny vessel that you bring.
- Have them use and object they have on their person and then pass the object to the right.
- Instead of just writing topics on the board for them to pick from, have a giant dice and they have to roll the dice and the number tells them what speech prompt to use.
- Bring in fortune cookies (you can buy them by the case) and have them crack open their fortune and speak for that.
- Have students each write three nouns and two verbs on pieces of paper and put them in the bag for students to draw out.
The element of surprise creates a level of excitement throughout the whole class. That sense of anticipation and uncertainty really feels like something interesting is happening.