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4 Best Public Speaking Lesson Plans for High School

September 22nd, 2022 | 7 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Imagine yourself at the podium to deliver a speech that could change your life, but without a clue about how to be an effective public speaker and communicator. This is the situation your students face if they don’t learn the fundamentals of public speaking.

If you’re tasked with teaching communication to high school students, you know that you must find the best public speaking lessons for your classroom.

In this post, we’ll review four popular public speaking lesson plans for high school:

  1. Introduction to Public Speaking Lesson from Common Sense Education
  2. Public Speaking Lesson Plans Curriculum Bundle from Literacy in Focus
  3. Public Speaking Bundle from Secondary Sara
  4. Public Speaking and Communication Skills Lessons from Money Instructor

After reading, you’ll have a more complete appreciation of the lesson plans available so you can choose what’s best for your learners.

1. Introduction to Public Speaking Lesson from Common Sense Education

common-sense-education-public-speaking-lesson

Common Sense Education is a nonprofit organization that provides factual, trustworthy information to teachers, families, and students. On its website, Common Sense hosts resources designed by teachers for their colleagues.

The Introduction to Public Speaking lesson is a free resource for students in grades 5-12 written by Kacie S., a secondary teacher in Schenectady, NY.

The lesson includes a sequence of five parts:

  1. Hook: Students Will Reflect on Their Feelings About Speaking in Front of an Audience
  2. Instruction: Planning a Presentation and Presenting with Confidence
  3. Instruction/Group Work: How Can I Persuade?
  4. Group Work: The Challenge: Convince the Audience!
  5. Wrap-Up: Presentations and Reflection

Under each step, Common Sense Education provides detailed instructions and a list of free computer applications teachers can use to teach the lesson.

How Much Does This Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

This free lesson works well for a teacher who needs a single, well-organized resource to cover a few days or a week’s worth of classes.

The steps are clearly defined, making them easy to use. If students use class time to work in groups to create their presentations, you could extend the lesson over a week or longer.

As a standalone lesson, it isn’t for teachers who want to spend longer on public speaking or teach these skills as part of a comprehensive career readiness curriculum.

2. Public Speaking Curriculum Bundle from Literacy in Focus

public-speaking-curriculum-bundle

Literacy in Focus is a reputable seller on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), the online marketplace where educators can buy, sell, and share resources. One curriculum option they offer secondary teachers is the Public Speaking Curriculum Bundle.

Designed for students in grades 6-9, this bundle includes 314 pages of resources to cover an entire unit on public speaking as part of a career readiness course.

The bundle includes 11 resources you can use in your public speaking lessons:

  1. Listening Skills and Comprehension Worksheets
  2. Voice & Gestures Public Speaking Lesson
  3. Public Speaking Vocabulary Unit
  4. Speech Writing Lesson
  5. Stage Fright Worksheet and Questions
  6. Speech of Introduction Lesson
  7. Persuasive Speech Lesson
  8. Pet Peeve Speech Lesson
  9. Oral Interpretation Lesson
  10. Award Speech Lesson
  11. Quotes of the Day

Some of the units are longer and focus on overarching communication themes, while others focus more narrowly on specific skills or types of speech.

How Much Does This Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

The unit is available for $25, which is a reasonable price for the number of materials included. Teachers who plan to use content from many or most sections will likely find this bundle a good value.

However, if you’re focusing on types of public speaking other than those included in the unit, you may need additional resources to cover these content areas.

3. Public Speaking Bundle from Secondary Sara

public-speaking-bundle-secondary-sara

Secondary Sara is another noteworthy teacher offering communication lesson plans through Teachers Pay Teachers.

Secondary Sara’s Public Speaking Bundle is intended for students in grades 7-12 and includes 329 pages and presentation slides of lesson content.

This bundle is large enough to cover an entire semester of public speaking and includes 17 units:

  1. Intro to Public Speaking Mini-Unit
  2. Debate Unit
  3. Public Speaking Activity: “15 Minutes of Fame”
  4. Speech Unit: Mock TED Talks
  5. The Bucket List Short Research Project
  6. Dramatic Readings Project
  7. Humor, Comedy, and Storytelling Project
  8. Digital Poetry Slam: Listening & Performing Poems
  9. Grammar Video Project
  10. Literary Analysis Essay
  11. Rhetoric, Propaganda, and Fallacies Flipbook
  12. Public Speaking Awards
  13. Speaking Lesson on Posture and Movement
  14. Visual Aids Lesson
  15. Revision Read-Aloud Activity for Improving Student Writing
  16. Public Speaking Growth Tracking Charts
  17. Socratic Seminar Task Cards: Discussion Sentence Starters

The breadth and variety of material here ensure that most teachers have plenty of material from which to work. Some instructional units included are designed to cover 2 or 3 weeks of classes by themselves.

How Much Does This Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

While these materials are a bit more expensive at $65, they are an excellent value if you devote an entire semester to public speaking. In that case, you’ll have plenty to work with to cover more nuanced aspects of speaking, such as using gestures and rhetorical techniques and avoiding logical fallacies.

However, the advanced content and focus on literature might not be appropriate for every classroom. In that case, you can choose to purchase individual units of content from the bundle to fit your specific needs.

4. Public Speaking and Communication Skills Lessons from Money Instructor

money-instructor

Money Instructor is a popular instructional website designed to help teach students about the fundamentals of money management, financial literacy, career skills, investing, and more.

On the website, you’ll find 10 public speaking and communication lessons to help students master the fundamentals of effective communication.

These lessons are divided into sections that focus on five areas of communication:

  1. Making Effective Presentations
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Oral Communication
  5. Telephone Skills

Under each topic, there are numerous lessons and worksheets teachers can use to cover each subject area as it fits their course standards. The content varies from section to section, but there is enough here to cover a whole unit on public speaking.

Money Instructor also features resources on communication ethics, communicating through email, problem-solving, and more.

How Much Does This Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

Many of the materials are available for free on the Money Instructor site for anyone who registers. You can also purchase a full membership for $9.95 per month, which gives you access to every resource on the site, not just Public Speaking.

Overall, Money Instructor has enough material for most teachers to put together a unit on public speaking. However, you’ll have to fit the materials to your standards and may need to rely on additional resources if you want to dive into more detail with your students.

Teach Communication and Other 21st Century Skills

There’s no doubt that public speaking is one of the most desirable skills in today’s workplace. Being a compelling communicator can make a difference in a student’s career, so receiving information from the right sources can put each learner on a path to success.

Depending on the length of time you have to teach public speaking—and what topics you want to cover in-depth—any of these resources could be an excellent choice for your classroom.

However, communication is just one of the Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. To learn about the other three skills and why they are critical for students’ success, download your free guide. You’ll discover more about each skill and how you can foster them in your classroom.

Read Your Free Guide on Teaching 21st Century Skills