Speeches give 8th-grade students the opportunity to express their opinions, argue their beliefs and practice the art of public speaking. By assigning 8th-grade students the task of composing and presenting a speech, teachers can help prepare these students for the challenges of high school. As the students successfully compose and present their speeches, they will become more comfortable with both speech composition and public speaking.

Vacation to Remember

Instruct students to select and gather information about a potential vacation destination. Allow students to research their selected destination and plan a speech in which they describe that tourist spot and what it has to offer. Ask each student to create a poster or slide-show presentation to go along with the speech as a visual demonstration of why the location is desirable.

New School Rule Campaign

Encourage your students to speak their minds about the rules that govern their in-school actions with a new school rule campaign speech. Ask each student to compose a rule that she feels should be added to the school's code of conduct. Have the students present their new rule in a speech, explaining why that rule would benefit the school and its students. At the conclusion of all of the speeches, allow the class to vote on which rule they would most like to see added to the school's code.

Ways to Help the Environment

Promote eco-friendly behavior with a "Ways to Help the Environment" speech. Ask each student to select a way in which he could help the environment, and compose a speech explaining this choice. Assign this project around Earth Day or another eco-friendly occasion to make it seasonally relevant.

My Favorite Hobby

Allow your students to talk about something that they care deeply about. Ask each student to select a hobby that she particularly enjoys. Instruct the student to compose a persuasive speech in which she both describes the hobby and tries to convince others that they should take up the hobby. Encourage students to bring in visual aids such as materials used to play a selected sport or packaging for video games featured in their speeches.

Future Career

Provide an opportunity for your 8th-graders to consider what they might want to do with their lives by assigning a future career speech. Ask each student to select a career that he may want to pursue in the future. Instruct the students to explore their selected careers and compose a short, informative speech about this occupation. Have the students present their prepared speeches to their classmates. Add some excitement to the activity by offering extra credit if students dress up in attire appropriate for their selected careers when presenting their speeches.