No Series: Sophomore Speeches: What It Means To Be A Learner


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 1a: 
    Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts,
    using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

    a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or
    opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear
    relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

    b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each
    while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that
    anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.

    c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text,
    create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons,
    between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

    d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to
    the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

    e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports
    the argument presented.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6รข\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 7: 
    Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question
    (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden
    the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject,
    demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 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.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Sophomore Speeches: What It Means To Be A Learner

Lesson Objective: Synthesize reactions and research in students speeches about learning
Grades 9-12 / ELA / Speeches
ELA.W.9-10.1a | ELA.W.9-10.7 | ELA.SL.9-10.4


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does the reaction/narrative connect to the final argument?
  2. How does this progression (narrative to argument) help students move from details to ideas?
  3. From concrete to abstract?
  4. Why is it important for students to respond to non-fiction texts?


  • Private message to Adam Galchus

I'm really impressed by this video. The students are able to follow up and imagine themselves as getting their goals in the future.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Michelle Brymer
I think this activity would be an excellent choice for a beginning of the year assignment. The content of Obama's speech is probably still relevant, but I'm not sure whether or not it would be good to include the component that requires students to write a letter to the president (because they'd be responding to an old speech). But maybe it could be modified in some way. What I really think would be valuable is having students do the speech. I'd like to include more opportunities for public speaking, particularly since it's a part of the Common Core.
Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Peter Demyan
Looked to be valuable, but could not play without constant buffering (at least once per 30 seconds). Gave up after about half the video. The idea of students being asked their view or giving a reasoned argument is all too rare. In a college and career readiness course I was assigned, with no curriculum, I included training in formal debate to show structures of reasoning, argument, and counter-argument. I also teach AP physics and forensic science.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Kathryn Brew
The most significant phrase which I will be taking from this excellent video and incorporating it into my teaching is "transfer learning" Using Obama's speech is a great opening lesson in September. Kathryn Brew
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Jess Domsky
Sarah, Is there anyway that you could post (or email) some of the other texts you worked with apart from Obama's speech?
Recommended (3)

School Details

Johnston Senior High School
6501 Northwest 62nd Avenue
Johnston IA 50131
Population: 1548

Data Provided By:



Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher


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