Speakers can Influence Their Audiences Through Their Words and Actions

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SWBAT...evaluate the "I Have a Dream" speech made by Martin Luther King, Jr. to determine author's perspective on an audience.

Big Idea

Our words are a powerful resource for teaching values to others.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I want to relate great speakers in students history to this lesson to help them see the importance of speaking to their audience rather than at them. I feel that Martin Luther King Jr. did a great job of this and showed people his emotions and belief in his topic through not only his words but also his eye contact and his voice levels. I'm hoping students come away with the feeling that their words can influence others if they hold these same beliefs and skills.  

I gather students to the carpet in front of the board and share that today we are going to watch a video of a famous speaker from their past history. I project the video on the board and instruct students that they will be watching Martin Luther King Jr speak to thousands of people about a topic he believed in.

I explain that the expectation for the lesson is that they will listen silently, complete the note taking sheet and write down any questions they have during the video to discuss when it is over.

I share that they will also complete the T chart at the bottom assessing the strengths and weaknesses of his presentation to see if there are any suggestions we can give him that would improve his speech or speaking skills.    

Watching the Video

20 minutes

Students complete the worksheet while they listen to the speech - defining the audience, the purpose of the speech, the use of visual displays (pictures) to support the main ideas, the call to action in his final words and their connection to the speakers actions and topic and finally their questions. My purpose is for them to gain skills both from watching a great speaker in action, and secondly from assessing a speaker to become more aware of the components of a good speech.

Martin Luther King Jrs connection with his audience really influenced them and I saw pencils flying all over their pages. Not so much because it was new information, but rather because they really claimed ownership of the critique part. Great to see them applying their skills as peer editors to this lesson.


Sharing the Learning

20 minutes

I have students share their thoughts on each section of the worksheet and to rate him on their Ropes Presentation rubric.

I ask them how his words affected the audience in the video? I then ask them how his words affected them and what connections they had to the topic he was discussing? 

After students share I ask why they feel his speech became so famous? You may need to prompt with having them make a connection to what was happening in history at the time.

I ask them "Was he an intelligent or smart man?" Why? How could they infer this about him? Although the speech topics are a lesson in themselves, I want to get them back to being focused on the effect a good speaker can have on an audience.

We then evaluate his skills as a speaker  - words, voice, knowledge of materisls, posture, eye contact, etc. and how doing all this well helped him share his perspective on racism / and how it made a stronger influence on the viewpoints of his audience.

I then read the influence his speech had on the nation and share that our words can affect not only our audiences but everyone else they share our story with.