Impromptu Speech Activities

Oral Presentation Topics for Elementary Students

Speech bubble on chalkboard over student
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Learning how to deliver an impromptu speech is part of meeting the oral communications standards. Use the following activities to help students practice their presentation skills.

Activity 1: Speech Fluency

The purpose of this exercise is for students to practice speaking clearly and fluently. To begin the activity, pair students together and have them choose a topic from the list below. Next, give students about thirty to sixty seconds to think about what they are going to say in their speech. Once they have gathered their thoughts, have students take turns presenting their speech to one another.

Tip - To keep students on track, give each group a timer and have them set it for one minute for each presentation. Also, create a handout that students must fill out after their speech to give their partner feedback on the positives and negatives of their presentation.

Possible Questions to Include in the Handout

  • Was the message clear?
  • Were the ideas organized?
  • Did they speak fluently?
  • Was their audience engaged?
  • What can they do better next time?

Topics to Choose From

  • Favorite book
  • Favorite food
  • Favorite animal
  • Favorite sport
  • Favorite school subject
  • Favorite vacation
  • Favorite holiday

Activity 2: Impromptu Practice

The purpose of this activity is for students to gain experience delivering one to two-minute impromptu speech presentations. For this activity, you can put students into groups of two or three. Once the group is chosen, have each group select a topic from the list below. Then allow each group five minutes to prepare for their task. After the five minutes is up, each individual from the group takes turns delivering their speech to the group.

Tip- A fun way for students to get feedback is to have them record their presentation and watch (or hear) themselves on tape. The iPad is an excellent tool to use, or any video or audio recorder will work just fine.

Topics to Choose From

  • Any of the above
  • Good news
  • Explain the rules of your favorite game
  • Explain how to make your favorite meal
  • Explain your daily routine

Activity 3: Persuasive Speech

The purpose of this activity is for students to gain knowledge on how to give a persuasive speech. First, use the list of persuasive language techniques to give students examples of what should be included in their speech. Then, group students into pairs and have them each choose a topic from the list below. Give students five minutes to brainstorm a sixty-second speech that will persuade their partner to their point of view. Have students take turns delivering their speeches and then fill out the feedback form from Activity 1.

Tip- Allow students to jot down notes or key words on an index card.

Topics to Choose From

  • Any current event
  • Convince listeners why you should be the president
  • Try to sell the listeners the clothes you are wearing
  • Convince the teacher to not give homework for a week
  • Try to convince the school board why they should have better food in the cafeteria

Persuasive Language Techniques

  • Emotional appeal: The speaker plays on people's emotions, can manipulate the reader by triggering an emotional response.
  • Descriptive language: The speaker uses words that are lively and vivid and engages the reader by inducing an emotion or producing a picture for them.
  • Emotive language: The speaker uses language that plays on peoples feelings. There is a deliberate use of words to provoke an emotional response.
  • Inclusive Language: The speaker uses language that engages the audience and sounds friendly.
  • Alliteration: The speaker uses the same letter in two or more words to persuade by adding emphasis and reinforcing the meaning. (ex. cruel, calculating, and crooked)