In order to prepare for upcoming presentations, I dedicated a period to practicing some oral presentation skills. The first thing I did was provide students with a handout that listed 11 effective oral communication skills. I formatted the handout using an acronym 'COMMUNICATE' with each letter standing for one of the 11 skills (C for example stands for clarity, O stands for observe punctuation marks).
As I read through the handout I always provided examples for the students. For instance, when highlighting the importance of observing punctuation marks I provided students with the following example (from Lynn Truss's book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"). The students really liked these examples and it showed how much punctuation can alter the meaning of the written language.
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy-will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
The product includes the oral communication skills handout, as well as a tone of voice activity I followed up with. I cut up the descriptive words and placed them into one bag and cut up the sentences and placed them in another. Students stood in a circle and each student selected a descriptive word (tone of voice) and a sentence. They were asked to read out the sentence using that tone. So, for example, they might have to read the sentence: "He had asked me earlier in the summer to marry him, then he promptly forgot about it" using an excited tone of voice. The purpose of the activity is to show how different tones are appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts.
**Note, the sentences used in the tone of voice activity are quotations from Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" as I used this activity during our novel study unit.