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Impromptu speaking can be scary, but also oodles of fun! This short unit, with detailed lesson plans, gently leads students through a series of activities in duos and small groups until they are ready to speak in front of the whole class. Photocopy copies of the handouts, or using the TPT Digital Activities layer, put the resource on Google Classroom and change the resource to suit your requirements.

Why do it?

Even in a world dominated by social media, speaking is as important as ever. And circumstances don’t always allow for the careful preparation of a speech- sometimes you just have to ‘wing it’!

Other advantages

It develops confidence; a lot of students find it fun; there’s no teacher marking required- that’s right- NO MARKING! You can, of course, mark the final impromptu speech the students deliver if you choose (and a rubric is provided) but no paper marking of speeches is even possible. This mini-unit gives you a few guilt- free weekends!


It is vital that students are eased into impromptu speaking in front of an audience; they need to start off by speaking to one other person. (I suggest the ‘speed dating’ method, circulating around to several people during one session). Speaking to a small group is next; speaking to the whole class is the final step.

Organization of the unit

The lessons and materials solely for the teacher’s use are grouped first. Printable handouts to be given or posted to the students follow in the second part of the unit.

Table of contents

Lesson 1: speed dating: speaking in front of one other person

Lesson 2: sales exercise: speaking in front of a small group

Lesson 3: speaking in front of a small group about a serious topic

Lesson 4: games to emphasize the importance of body language

Lesson 5: hot air balloon debate: briefly speaking in front of the class

Lessons 6 and 7: speaking in front of the whole class

Printables for students

Handout #1: Impromptu topics

Handout #2: Peer evaluation form

Handout #3: Desert island exercise

Handout #4: Impromptu speaking tips

Handout #5: Middle School topics

Handout #6: High School topics

Handout #7: Self-evaluation form

Handout #8: Tongue twisters

Handout #9: Impromptu speaking advice

You can use the TpT Digital Activities layer to make this resource a digital, interactive resource. After purchase, you go to the product page and click the red button that says Create Digital Activity. This allows you to edit parts of the resource to suit your needs; for example, you can add answer boxes. It allows your students to write or type their debate notes in the answer boxes, and to annotate and highlight. The tool can only be used with Google Classroom. Once a student has submitted the assignment on a device, you can review the work and share feedback with the student through the TpT Digital Activity layer.

Credentials of the unit writer

Students I coached won the impromptu section of the World Individual Public Speaking and Debating Championships, as well as the overall title of World High School Champion three times: 2004, (Colorado), 2006 (Connecticut) and 2007 (Cape Town).
For more impromptu frolics:

Impromptu Public Speaking Bundle

Impromptu Public Speaking Games
For delivery tips, try:

PUBLIC SPEAKING: Delivery Performance Skills (ppt)

If your students become energized by speaking in class, please take a look at my debate resources. They might also enjoy the speaking activities in my 80 ELA Games.

ELA Games grades 9-12

ELA Games grades 5-8

Debating in 18 lessons

Want to get students to debate class novels or plays? Try this resource:

Debate ANY novel or play!

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If you purchase the resource, I would be very grateful if you could review it afterwards. Doing so will earn you TpT credits to spend on other resources, so it is a win-win.

Total Pages
33 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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