Questions Stems Used to Teach Famous Speeches Gr 7-12: PART II

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Determine What the Speech Says

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A speech needs to be heard through either a read aloud or a recording.

The post "8 Steps to Teach a Famous Speech" outlines what teachers can do after having students in grades 7-12 listen to a famous speech. This post provides the stem questions associated with each of the eight steps.

Stem questions to determine a speech's meaning include: 

  1. Which best (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) supports the idea that _______? 
  2. What evidence from the text clarifies the author’s claim in (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.)  ?               
  3. The overall purpose of the description in the (first, second, third, etc) paragraph is to  _______?
  4. All of the following statements support the author’s claim that _______ except the statement  ___________?                                           
  5. The details describing _______ suggest that _______?
  6. What does this (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) reveal about __________?
  7. Which of the following is NOT revealed in (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) ?     
  8. Based on this (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.)  we can infer that _____    
  9. Which of the author’s main points is supported by facts ?
  10. Which of the author’s main points is supported by opinion?
  11. Based on the information in this (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.), the audience can tell that________.
  12. Which of these statements is most correct about _______?                                   

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Determine the Central Idea of the Speech

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Students need to understand the central idea or message of the speech. 

Stem questions to determine central ideas or themes of a speech and analyze their development include:      

  1. How does (paragraph, sentence, line) reflect the speech's message that  _______ ?  
  2. What is the purpose of this (article, passage, story)?
  3. If the following statement was added to the (paragraph, statement, passage), how would the point of view change?
  4. Which line best summarizes a message of the speech?
  5. How is the message in this speech best revealed?
  6. Why does the author include ________  in this speech?
  7. Given this information, what conclusion can you draw about the speechwriter's  purpose?
  8. With which of the following statements would the speechwriter most likely agree?
  9. What does the speechwriter want the audience  to learn from listening to this speech?
  10. What is an underlying or secondary message in this story?
  11. At what point in the speech is the speechwriter’s message revealed?
  12. The main point the speaker is making in this (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) is ______.
  13. The speechwriter uses_______  to teach the audience  that______.
  14. Which event in history is most important to expressing the speechwriter's message?

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Research the Speaker

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When students study a speech, they must consider who is delivering the speech as well as what he or she is saying. 

Stem questions to research the speechwriter or speaker's point of view or purpose in shaping the content and style of a text include:

  1. What can be learned from who is speaking and what is his or her role in delivering this speech?
  2. What is the setting for the speech (time and place) and how might this influence the speech?
  3. Which of the following best describes the speaker's view of  ________.
  4. If the following statement was added to the (paragraph, passage), how would the speaker's point of view change?
  5. Based on  (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.), the speaker’s tone towards  ______ can be described as_______.          
  6. Based on this (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.)  we  (audience) can infer that (the speaker ) is feeling                        
  7. Based upon (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) all of the following can be considered a part of (speaker’s) agenda except _______?  
  8. Which sentence from the selection explains the speaker’s primary conflict?    

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Research the Context

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Students need to understand the historical context that has generated the speech.

Stem questions that focus on the role of civics, economics, geography, and/or history include:

  1. What is happening -(in civics, in economics, in geography, and in history)—that is reason for this speech?
  2. Why are these events  (in civics, in economics, in geography, and in history) being addressed in the speech?
  3. How does this speech impact events (in civics, in economics, in geography, and in history)
  4. According to the speech, all of the statements below are reasons why _____ exists (in civics, in economics, in geography, and in history)  except _____.                                           

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Consider the Audience Response

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Students must consider the audience for whom the speech was intended as well as the audience response in class.

Students can locate the textual evidence based on the following stem questions:

  1. Based on _______ the audience's mood towards _______ can be described as _________.                         
  2. Based on this  (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.), we can infer that audience is feeling __________.   
  3. Which audience would probably relate most to the speech's central message?   
  4. What is the historical context that best contributes to the audience's understanding of (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) ?    
  5. After reading  (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) what is a reasonable prediction of action by the audience?
  6. At the conclusion of the speech, what was a reasonable prediction of action by the audience at this time?

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Identify the Speechwriter's Craft

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Students examine the ways the author uses rhetorical structures (literary devices) and figurative language to create meaning in the speech. 

A focus questions for students might be “How do the author’s choices help me understand or appreciate something that I didn’t notice the first time I read?”

Stem questions on the techniques used in the speech can include:

  1. The word  ______  deepens the meaning of the (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) by _______?                    
  2. The speaker's repetition of the (word, phrase, sentence) emphasizes _________.
  3. The (expression, idiom, etc.) refers to the  ___________ in this speech.             
  4. In this speech, the  word _________ , as used in (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.),  most likely refers to  _______________.              
  5. By including an allusion to _______ the speaker has emphasized that _____?                
  6. The following analogy helps the speaker make a comparison between ______ and ______.                           
  7. How does the (simile, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, litotes, hyperbole, etc.) contribute to the message of the speech?
  8. The ______ in paragraph __ symbolizes ___________.
  9. How does the use of the rhetorical device ________ in the following (line, sentence, paragraph, etc.) support the author’s argument?