How to Get the Best Demonstration Speeches

Wondering how to get the best demonstration speeches from your students? Start with clear expectations. Provide support while planning and preparing. Communicate with parents. Then you’ll be all set! You’ll love this teach the teacher activity.

Ms. Sneed Wants the Best Demonstration Speeches

Our favorite fourth grade teacher sat at the side table with her teaching partner. “How do you get the best demonstration speeches from your students each year?” she asked.

Mr. Frank smiled. “Are you going to give it a whirl this year? You’ll be glad you did. Aside from hitting your ELA speaking and listening standards, it builds self-confidence. Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun.”

He opened his laptop and pulled up a file. “Take a look at this,” he said, turning the screen toward Ms. Sneed.

Clear Expectations Are Critical

“After explaining the project to my students,” Mr. Frank explained, “I set clear expectations.”


He pointed to the first anchor chart. “I begin by explaining and modeling expectations for speaking:

  • Stay organized.
  • Stand up straight.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Smile.

“Additionally, I tell them what not to do:

  • Lean on the table.
  • Touch your face.
  • Move around.

“Kids also need to know that mistakes are common – and okay. They just need to acknowledge it lightly and keep going.”

Want the best demonstration speeches? Set clear expectations.
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Now Mr. Frank pointed to a second anchor chart. “For the best demonstration speech experience, you also have to set expectations for the audience. All students must:

  • Sit up straight.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Save comments and questions for the end.

“Of course there are some don’ts too:

  • Talking to others.
  • Calling out.
  • Moving around.
  • Looking away or making faces.

“In my experience, some kids will still do some of these things. However, when I use my one-minute hall strategy, everyone straightens up.”

Ms. Sneed smiled slightly. “Ah, I know that strategy well. Misbehavior that keeps others from learning earns a minute in the hall. Very effective.”

Good Planning Yields the Best Demonstration Speeches

“Next,” said Mr. Frank, “we plan. Using this table, kids are strongly encouraged to choose a topic that’s simple, active, and doable, but also has steps. Then the parent and teacher both have to sign off on it. This is critical. Without a good topic, kids can never give their best demonstration speeches.”

“What if they can’t think of anything?” Ms. Sneed asked.

“Then I think it’s fine to make suggestions. They can also work with their parents or guardians to come up with something. For this project, I encourage parent support. It makes kids more successful.”

Planning for the best demonstration speeches includes topic choice, outlining, and good openings and closings.

“After kids have a topic,” he continued, “they create a basic outline. For a much stronger demonstration speech, they should also select powerful, parallel openings and closings.”

“Perfect,” said Ms. Sneed. “This sounds like great plan.”

Preparing Is Also Essential

“Hold onto your horses,” said Mr. Frank. “I’m not done yet. If you truly want the best demonstration speeches, your kids need some finesse.”

He motioned to two additional pages. “This page,”he said, pointing to the first one, “helps kids get organized. You can compare it to what folks on YouTube or TikTok do before they record a video. Everything needs to be ready and measured out.

“This second page explains what to do with silence. You know, what if you have to stir for fifty strokes? Kids need to have things to say during these times. Otherwise, it’s awkward.”

Kids also need help organizing their presentations.

Communicating with Parents Makes Them Partners

Next, Mr. Frank pulled up two half-page notes. “Communicating with parents is essential, but it doesn’t need to be elaborate. Kids should show their parents the pages we’ve already discussed. But guardians do better when their parents have clear, concise directives as well.

“Once kids’ presentations are scheduled, I send a note home with the time, date and expectations.”

Communicating with parents is essential. Make sure you get them on your side.

Modeling Practically Guarantees Success

Now Mr. Frank sat back in his chair. “Of course, you’ll want to model the process for them. After you explain everything, you should present a demonstration speech to your class.”

“Oh boy. What should I present?”

“I always choose something simple,” said Mr. Frank. “For example, how to wrap a present. As I talk, I display my outline in the background. Afterward, we discuss how I organized my materials, filled the silence, stood and moved, etc. Kids need examples, and I think modeling is an essential component.”

With the Best Demonstration Speeches, Assessing Is Easy

Ms. Sneed nodded. “Everything is so thorough. But what about assessment?”

Her teaching partner showed her another page. “Although my rubric – or really just checklist – has changed over the years, I’ve settled on these factors:

  • Topic choice
  • Organization
  • Preparation/fluency
  • Posture
  • Eye contact
  • Behavior during others’ presentations

“Since I’ve done everything in my power to ensure the best demonstration speeches possible, kids generally score high. As I said before, this really boosts self-confidence.”

When you prepare your students to make the best demonstration speeches possible, assessment is easy. Just use a checklist.

Enjoy Teaching Demonstration Speeches

“Wow,” said Ms. Sneed, again sitting back in her chair. “My students are going to love this. I feel confident that with these materials, they’ll present the best demonstration speeches ever.”

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