Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Vicky Nichols originally designed this lesson as part of an overall unit on evaluating and performing effective public speaking.   This lesson primarily focuses on the oral skills of pacing, stress, volume, and pronunciation.  Students begin by analyzing a speech by Nolan Ryan and then apply the techniques learned to their own speeches. Although part of a larger unit, this individual lesson allows teachers to concentrate on the delivery of a speech through the use of voice. The lesson also provides room for adjustment as teachers can choose a different speech for students to analyze or use the one by Nolan Ryan that is provided. Since improving communication has been emphasized in the standards, the skills addressed here can be implemented in many different ways in the classroom.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3002.2.2
Summarize, paraphrase, and critique information presented orally by others.
CLE 3002.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.7.1
Evaluate the aural, visual, and written images and other special effects used in television, radio, film, and the Internet for their ability to inform, persuade,...
GLE 0501.5.2
Use logic to make inferences and to draw conclusions in a variety of oral and written contexts.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 
  • The student evaluates classroom presentations according to volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation.
  • The student uses a rating sheet to compare and contrast effective and ineffective presentations according to volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation. 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any). 
  • Nolan Ryan's speech (an audio version) can be accessed by going to the unit, Speak for Yourself. (See Weblinks) The speech is one of the attached files.

Helpful Hints


  • Internet connected computer with speakers
  • Speaking Behaviors Checklist (See Associated File)
  • What Makes A Good Speaker? rubric (Extensions)
  • Student speeches written in a previous Beacon lesson, entitled, Attracting An Audience with Purpose (See Weblinks)
  • Student Folders
  • Audio of Nolan Ryan's speech (see extensions)