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Voice of Democracy

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Keywords: articulate, commemorative, demographics, dramatic statement, descriptive, eye contact, impromptu, logical, modulation, operational, persuasive, statement, tone, vocal qualities, volume
Subject(s): Civics, Social Studies, Video, Technology, Journalism, Speech and Language
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: William A. Hough High School, Cornelius, NC
Planned By: Shawn Cowley
Original Author: Shawn Cowley, Cornelius
What is it? The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to write and record a broadcast script on a patriotic theme, competing for more than $3 million in college scholarships and incentives. Department (state) winners receive an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., during the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary Community Service Conference in March to enjoy our nation's capital and compete for scholarships ranging between $1,000 and $16,000, with the first place winner receiving a $30,000 scholarship.

Competency: Write a speech for a specific purpose

McRel Standards: LA2- Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing, LA8 - Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

Lesson Question: How do you write an effective speech?

Icebreaker/Energizer Phase: Show class the current year's winner, deliver her/his speech http://www.vfw.org/Community/Voice-of-Democracy/

Inquire Phase: Guide students to the learning objectives and key words in their Student Learning Plan to preview lesson activities.
-Arrange in teams of 3-4 and provide chart paper to each team
-Guide teams to create a multi-column Tree Map to list and classify situations that involve speaking to groups of people. Guide students to think about situations when they have delivered speeches and situations when they have listened to speakers.
-Lead discussion as students share their situations listed on their thinking maps. Encourage students to expound on how they felt about speeches they have heard
-Direct students to add responses to the reflection question in their Student Portfolios

Gather Phase: Distribute a famous speech and the six tips to giving a speech
-Present a briefing about the speaking styles for different occasions. Guide students to place the famous speech and six tips in their student portfolio
-Divide students up into teams of 2-5; guide students to have one student read a famous speech(provided) to their peers
-Guide students to discuss the speech and collaborate to complete an exercise with questions evaluating the famous speech
-Repeat with second speech
-Guide student teams to complete a double bubble map comparing the two speeches

Process Phase: Distribute instructions for the Voice of Democracy Contest
-Guide students to create a Brace Map to orgranize and outline a speech for the Voice of Democracy Contest
-Guide students to write the introduction of the speech. Inform students that they will present their introductions to peers for feedback in the next phase.

Apply Phase: Guide students to answer these questions in discussion:
*Which strategies do you favor to get the attention of your audience?
*How can you apply any of these strategies in everyday speaking interactions?
-Tell students, "Now you will practice delivering your introductions as well as provide feedback to other speakers.
-Reflection question for students, "How does receiving feedback make you a better speaker?" "How can you incorporate feedback into your preparations for giving your Voice of Democracy Speech?"
-Guide students to complete speeches based on Voice of Democracy Contest prior to next class

Next Class record video presentations and provide feedback. Burn individual CDs Complete Voice of Democracy application in class and mail.
Great opportunity to assist students in applying for a scholarship while working on a critical skill (public speaking)
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
social studies, history
Give and record speeches; peer in class critiques; submission to local VFW
Materials: Flip Video, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Video Tools, Speech and Language