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Career Readiness | Middle School | Public Speaking

3 Best Public Speaking Lessons for Middle School

July 28th, 2022 | 7 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES curriculum system.

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Middle school career readiness classes often focus on skills like professionalism and communication.

But public speaking is one of the areas many teachers find challenging to teach!

That’s because there are tons of resources out there for adults to hone their public speaking skills, but it’s tough to find resources that are age-appropriate for middle schoolers!

To make your life easier, we pulled together a list of the three best places to find middle school public speaking lesson plans:

  1. Introduction to Public Speaking Lesson Plan from Kacie S.
  2. Public Speaking Lessons from Money Instructor
  3. Public Speaking Bundle from Secondary Sara

In this article, you’ll learn about each public speaking curriculum resource to help you decide which one(s) will work best in your classroom!

Let’s start with an introductory lesson developed by a middle school teacher.

1. Introduction to Public Speaking Lesson Plan from Kacie S.

kacie-s-introduction-to-public-speaking

Kacie S. is a Certified Educator EdTech Mentor on Common Sense Education -- an organization dedicated to teaching 21st Century skills like digital citizenship and media literacy.

As a member of the Common Sense Education community, Kacie S. has shared a number of public speaking lessons to help others in the classroom.

One of her most popular lesson plans is Introduction to Public Speaking, which teaches students how to plan a group presentation and speak confidently in front of an audience to persuade them to purchase an item. 

To help students meet these objectives, the lesson plan is laid out in five steps:

  1. The Hook to Introduce Concepts
  2. Instruction on Planning a Presentation
  3. Instruction & Group Work on Persuasion
  4. Group Presentation
  5. Wrap Up & Reflection

The Hook to Introduce Concepts starts things out by asking students how they feel when they think about presenting in front of an audience. After a few minutes, the teacher guides a short class discussion based on the most common answers.

Instruction on Planning a Presentation then transitions into showing a video that gives tips on how to prepare a presentation and deal with nervousness when presenting in front of others.

This also includes leading a discussion asking your students about the main ideas presented in the video, such as maintaining eye contact and keeping the main points concise.

After the discussion, students will work through online activities on BrainPOP to reinforce the concepts you discussed.

Instruction & Group Work on Persuasion goes on to introduce students to using persuasive techniques when presenting to an audience.

This portion of the lesson involves a lecture followed by students working in groups to brainstorm examples of persuasive techniques in media and advertisements.

The Group Presentation has students implement what they’ve learned by creating and presenting a pitch that convinces their classmates to purchase an item assigned by the teacher.

Depending on how in-depth you want students to go, this portion could fill a few days of class time.

The Wrap Up & Reflection finishes things up by having students vote on which presentation was most effective.

Students will also partake in a reflection activity to see if their perspective of public speaking has changed now that they’ve gone through the lesson.

Overall, the Introduction to Public Speaking Lesson is an excellent way to help students learn the basics of persuasive speaking.

The only downside to this lesson is the author references the use of many different ed-tech resources, including BrainPOP, AnswerGarden, and Mindomo.

If you’re unfamiliar with one (or more) of those tools, you’ll experience a steep learning curve to implement this lesson. While you can find ways to adjust the lesson to fit your comfort level, it may take you extra planning time.

If you’re looking for a resource that has less of a learning curve, try the next option on our list!

2. Public Speaking Lessons from Money Instructor

money-instructor

Money Instructor is a membership-based organization dedicated to teaching basic money skills to students.

In addition, they have a section on the website focused on career, work, and business lessons -- including communication and public speaking lessons.

Specifically, you’ll find six lessons to teach public speaking, titled:

  1. Making Effective Presentations
  2. Importance of Public Speaking and Dealing with Fear
  3. The Communication Process
  4. The Importance of Ethics
  5. Understanding Audience Psychology
  6. Word Choice, Imagery, and Rhythm

Making Effective Presentations teaches students the importance of good presentation skills. It also gives them tips on how to stay focused, keep an audience interested, and answer questions.

Importance of Public Speaking and Dealing with Fear introduces students to the importance of public speaking. In addition, students will learn the causes of stage fright and how to overcome them.

The Communication Process teaches students about the communication process and how to apply it to public speaking.

The Importance of Ethics gives students an overview of ethical behavior in public presentations. As part of the lesson, students will identify ethical and unethical behavior in speakers, so they’ll know the behaviors and language to avoid when speaking.

Understanding Audience Psychology helps students understand the psychology of an audience and how to use those principles to make a speech more effective.

Word Choice, Imagery, and Rhythm shows students how to incorporate effective word choice, imagery, and rhythm into speeches.

Each lesson contains everything you need from start to finish, including:

  • Teaching materials
  • Student worksheets
  • Lesson procedures
  • Follow up activities
  • Evaluation methods

Overall, these lesson plans from Money Instructor can help you teach a variety of lessons related to public speaking -- from the basics to more advanced concepts!

The only thing to keep in mind is that some of the lessons are geared more towards older students or adults. That means you’ll want to comb through every detail to make sure you pick the most relevant and age-appropriate information to include in your public speaking curriculum.

If you’re concerned that these lessons may not be age-appropriate for middle school students, you can find an equally robust resource in the next item on our list!

3. Public Speaking Bundle from Secondary Sara

secondary-sara

Secondary Sara is a well-known publisher on the Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) online education marketplace.

Secondary Sara has more than 230 products available on TpT, including a bundle of public speaking lesson plans.

This bundle costs $69.39 and has more than 325 pages of resources to help teach public speaking.

public-speaking-bundleThis includes a diverse range of topics like:
  • Introduction to public speaking
  • Posture and movement
  • Using visual aids
  • Rhetoric, propaganda, and fallacies
  • Conference talks
  • Class debates
  • And more!

Each lesson includes resources such as class discussions, lecture notes, student activities, and assessments.

Together, these lessons and activities can fill an entire semester of classes while teaching students the intricacies of speaking publicly.

This lesson plan bundle is an excellent option for any teacher looking for a ready-to-use public speaking curriculum to teach a speech class.

However, if you aren’t teaching a full semester class on public speaking, this resource may be too in-depth (and too expensive)!

Need to Teach Your Middle School Students More 21st Century Skills?

Despite how valuable public speaking is in the modern workforce,  finding materials to teach it to middle schoolers can be a hassle.

In this article, however, you've discovered some of the most reliable lesson plans out there to teach your kids the ins and outs of public speaking. If you use these resources right, your students will be able to shrug off stage fright and go on to be rhetorical rockstars. 

But public speaking isn't the only valuable 21st Century skill out there. If you want your kids to succeed in the workforce, they'll need to learn the three other "C's" that every modern professional uses daily: creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration! 

To that end, check out our guide to teaching the Four C's of 21st Century Skills. This in-depth guide will go into the details of each of these skills, why they matter, and how you can bring them into your classroom:

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