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Speaking Activities

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Graduation Speech

Originally designed as the final reflection assignment for PWR 2, this speaking activity provides an effective capstone to students' work by asking them to analyze and then deliver graduation speeches that reflect on their work in the class.

The Elevator Pitch with Peer Response

This activity helps students continue to develop their focus and argument for their RBAs. It is intended to show students that research is an ongoing process.

The Elevator Pitch

This speaking activity encourages students to focus their argument by asking them to construct a pithy, brief "pitch" that they iteratively revise after delivering.

Two (Mini) Stories about Your Name

This ice-breaker activity offers students an opportunity to get to know each other by telling two (mini) stories about their names in two 1-minute presentations, each taking a different perspective. Students will practice presenting ideas to new audiences in a concise manner and develop rhetorical awareness as they embody different storytelling perspectives.

Creating Emphasis

This speaking activity asks students to rehearse and revise their delivery of a short piece to better understand how emphasis can be used as a rhetorical strategy.

Impromptu Presentation: Newspaper Translation Activity

This impromptu speaking activity asks students to translate the issue from a New York Times article into an engaging 2-3 minute presentation.

What We Learned in PWR1

This dynamic ice-breaker activity asks students to jump into the speaking activities in PWR 2 by sharing the foundations of PWR 1 with their classmates.

Presentation Genre Game

In this game, students practice presenting key aspects of their presentation, using different public speaking genres.

Take a stand impromptu presentation

This non-graded presentation activity helps students prep for their proposal presentations by asking them to take a stand on a topic, also providing a rhetoric refresher for students.

Voice Warm-Up

This activity guides students through a series of steps designed to orient them more toward a powerful oral performance.


This speaking activity asks students to construct a group presentation with careful attention to rhetorical devices and by modeling the style of a speech from

The Speech-bite

This activity asks students to experiment with high style and deliberate use of rhetorical devices in crafting a short one minute "speech-bite" pitch about their project, which they record as an audio file.

Analyzing Viral Videos

This fun, low-stakes activity combines an initial asynchronous step with a follow-up engagement in real-time during class.  It invites students to start thinking about research topics, practice/refresh their rhetorical analysis skills, and to develop their oral communication skills (through a brief in-class presentation).

Research Challenge Presentation

This exercise involves a brief semi-formal presentation of the 'research challenge" that each student faces in completing the RBA. Students talk and guide discussion for 5 to 7 minutes. They must prepare a one page handout to frame the discussion. The goal is to get the class involved in the research project and solicit feedback.

1-Minute Screencasting Activity

For this activity, students experiment with screencasting to develop a 1-minute screencast on a topic of their choosing; the class then gives and receives feedback on each others screencasts asynchronously.

"We Shall Overcome" Delivery Activity

In this light-hearted activity, students take turns delivering the same short passage using a different (exaggerated) mode of oral or embodied delivery.

Online Research Mixer

Instructors designed an online workshop (research mixer) between freshmen composition students at Stanford University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The session lasts for 60 minutes including the introduction, peer-reviewing, and closing remarks. During the session, students will get the opportunity to introduce their research projects and provide and receive feedback on their drafts.