Public speaking can strike fear in the heart of anyone. When middle school teachers start the process of learning how to create and give speeches in a public setting, middle school teachers can help lessen those fears. By assigning 8th grade students assignments in speech writing and presentation, teachers also help prepare students for high school challenges and future public-speaking opportunities. Speeches can give 8th grade students an opportunity to express their opinions, argue their beliefs and practice public speaking. As students successfully write and present their speeches, they will become more comfortable all aspects of public speaking.
Vacation To Remember
Instruct students to select and gather information about a dream vacation destination. Allow students to research their selected destination and plan a speech in which they sing the praises of that tourist spot. Ask each student to create a poster or slide show presentation to go along with the speech to serve as a visual representation of why the location in question 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 they feel should be added to the school's code of conduct. Allow the students to 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 students 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 speech that focuses on the student's beliefs or ideas about the environment. Ask each student to select a way in which they could help the environment and then compose a speech explaining this selected means of environmental preservation. A potential option to strengthen the environmental significance is to 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 he particularly enjoys. Instruct the student to compose a persuasive speech in which he both describes the hobby and tries to convince others that they should take up the hobby. Encourage students to bring in visual aids that might include materials used to play a selected sport, a musical instrument or art tools like paints and brushes.
Provide an opportunity for your eighth graders to consider what they might want to do with their lives by assigning a future career speech. With many high schools offering career and technical path options, 8th grade speeches on career interests can also help students choose high school classes related to their interests. Ask each student to select a career that she may want to hold in the future. Instruct the students to explore their selected careers and compose a short informative speech about each occupation. Allow the students to 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.