Project Soapbox

Lesson 5: The Speech Competition


Overview: Provided here is a suggested structure for student presentations of their speeches.

Student Objectives:

  • Deliver speech in front of an audience
  • Provide feedback



Common Core State Standards


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.


Consider inviting people from your school staff, parents, and community members to be judges. Consider bringing in decision makers like the principal and local officials so your students can begin to build a relationship with them. Use the rubric to determine the winner.

NOTE: When presenting Project Soapbox speeches about the issues they find most important, students may sometimes include narratives of personal trauma (e.g., abuse, serious depression, etc.) that demand further attention. It is a testament to the trust and safety of your classroom that a student would feel comfortable to share such painful personal experiences. We recommend responding by thanking the student for sharing on such a deeply important issue, recognizing that others may have had similar experiences and they are giving voice to this important issue. We would also thank the class for being a respectful and supportive group in which students feel comfortable sharing. We further recommend that you follow up with the student outside of class and refer them to any appropriate resources available in school and in the community. As a mandated reporter, you may also have to report if the student shared examples of current abuse.


BELL-RINGER: Preparation (2 minutes)

Students should take out all necessary materials and be ready to present. They can silently practice their speeches.


BEFORE: Speech procedure (5 minutes)

Welcome and introduce the judges. Set up the expectations for the day by explaining that all speeches should receive wild applause when they are completed. (Have them practice giving wild applause, which is when everyone cheers loudly and enthusiastically.) Emphasize that no one should be interrupted. As they listen, students should complete Peer Feedback sheets.


DURING: Speeches (30–35 minutes)

Be mindful of time and try to keep the speeches moving along. Students should provide feedback when not presenting and you and the judges should complete rubrics.


AFTER: Student vote (5 minutes)

Have the students cast a ballot for who they consider the winner of the speech competition.

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Lesson 4: Delivering a Great Speech (Prev Lesson)
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