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Common Core Standards: ELA

Grades 9-10

Speaking and Listening SL.9-10.4

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

SL.9-10.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

This standard asks the age-old question, “If a speaker gives a speech, but nobody can understand him, did he really say anything at all?” Knowing what to say and how to support it with evidence is only half (or two-quarters) of the battle: the rest lies in knowing who you’re going to say it to. There’s never a good time to exchange your speech notes for a Congressional hearing with your speech notes for a troop of eight-year-old campers.

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example 1

Sample Activities for Use in Class

1. Preparation is Everything

In groups or as a class, have students brainstorm questions they might ask about a prospective audience before preparing a speech for that audience. To minimize confusion, you may wish to give students a sample topic that could be prepared for several different types of groups, such as “Ways to Keep an Egg From Breaking Inside a Cardboard Box” or “The History of Really Awesome Cars.” You may also wish to write the questions students develop on the board or have students write them down, and/or prepare a handout or worksheet after the activity that students can use when working on their own persuasive speaking or listening skills.

Sample questions students might develop include:

Who is my audience?

Why am I trying to get this information across? When I’m done talking, what do I want the people I’m talking to to do with this information?

What does my audience need in order to understand what I’m trying to say? For instance, do they need background information, or information presented in a different format (like audio books for blind people, etc.)?

Am I using the best information I can get to prepare my speech? What are some good resources that would provide information my audience can understand and use?

Am I presenting the information to my audience in the best way? Is there a more appropriate book/webpage/handout/activity/etc. that might help me get this information across to my audience better?

Example 2

2. Planning is the Rest of Everything

Once students have prepared their questions, give them a sample topic - if you haven’t already - and assign them one of a varied set of audiences randomly. You may wish to put students in groups and assign one audience type to each group. Types of groups you may use include “kindergarteners,” “college students,” “a Congressional hearing,” or “a jury,” and/or more vague groups like “people who think your position on this topic is impossible/ridiculous/unfair” or “the person who is going to pay you to do a really awesome project on this topic, if you can convince him or her to see the topic from your point of view.” Have each group go through its questions and prepare answers based on the type of group they have been given. When finished, you can have groups discuss their responses with the rest of the class or have groups switch audiences and do the same thing again for the new audience, depending on the amount of time you can allot for this activity.

Quiz 1 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. Which of the following words signal that you are moving to a new topic?

    Correct Answer:

    next

  2. The main idea in a speech should:

    Correct Answer:

    Sum up the entire speech

  3. A supporting point in an argumentative speech is:

    Correct Answer:

    A statement or fact that helps prove the side of the argument the speaker is on

  4. You are giving a speech on the topic “How Everything Got Made.” Which of the following tools would help a college class understand the topic?

    Correct Answer:

    Any of these things would be useful

  5. You have to change your speech on the topic “How Everything Got Made” to give it to a class of first-graders. Which of the following would help the first-graders understand your topic?

    Correct Answer:

    Making the words in the speech shorter and simpler so kids can understand them

  6. Which of the following is the main idea of a speech titled “How Everything Got Made”?

    Correct Answer:

    Everything got made in a three-step process.

  7. Which of the following are supporting points for the main idea of a speech titled “How Everything Got Made”?

    Correct Answer:

    (b), (c), and (d) are all supporting points.

  8. Which of the following would help your audience follow your reasoning in a speech called “How Everything Got Made”?

    Correct Answer:

    All of these things will help audience members understand your reasoning.

  9. In which kind of speech would it be MOST helpful to put your points in chronological order (the order in which things happened)?

    Correct Answer:

    a speech about what happened in 1898

  10. One reason to mention the main idea of a speech at the beginning of the speech is:

    Correct Answer:

    so everyone knows what you’re talking about

Quiz 2 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. The main idea in a speech should:

    Correct Answer:

    All of the above.

  2. Suppose you’re giving a speech to beginners on “How to use a toaster.” Which of the following things would NOT help your beginners learn how to use their toasters?

    Correct Answer:

    A detailed history of the invention of the toaster.

  3. Instead of beginners, you’re giving a speech to experts on toaster engineering who know everything about how to make a toaster but nothing about how real people actually use their toasters. Which of the following things would NOT be useful to the toaster engineers?

    Correct Answer:

    A drawing of how toast should be put inside a toaster.

  4. Which of the following would be appropriate for a toaster-related speech for both beginners and advanced toaster engineers?

    Correct Answer:

    A chart showing the most common uses of toasters.

  5. The main idea of a speech should be mentioned again at the end of the speech because:

    Correct Answer:

    It reminds people what the speech was about.

  6. The supporting points in a speech should go in order from most to least important when:

    Correct Answer:

    The speech is an argument for wearing your seat belt.

  7. In your speech about how to make toast, the MOST useful way to organize your supporting points would be:

    Correct Answer:

    from the first step to making toast to the last step to making toast

  8. A supporting point in a speech does which of the following:

    Correct Answer:

    Helps demonstrate or prove the main idea

  9. The main idea in an argumentative speech is:

    Correct Answer:

    a short, clear statement of the thing the speaker is trying to prove

  10. Which of the following words signal that you are moving to a new topic?

    Correct Answer:

    all of these words signal a movement from one point to the next

Aligned Resources

More standards from Grades 9-10 - Speaking and Listening