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Autobiography Speech Lesson with "Me Bag" as Visual Aid

By Kellie Hayden

Middle school and high school students can introduce themselves to the class by presenting an autobiography speech. Students will use a "me bag" to share personal information. This lesson will teach students to organize the speech, to prepare note cards and to prepare the visual aid.

Organize Speech about Self

This speech lesson can be a standalone lesson where students introduce themselves to the class or it can be part of a larger autobiography unit. For this lesson, students will need to write a speech, prepare note cards and make and stuff a "me bag."

Teachers Assign the Autobiography Speech

The students will need to write a speech. For middle school students this speech could be two-to-five minutes long. For high school students, it could be longer or the same. It really depends on the purpose of this lesson. To introduction students to one another, a shorter one might be in order. For the speech to be part of a larger autobiography unit, students should present a longer speech.

The speech and the "me bag" should be completely connected. Students should be asked to break their lives into four sections. For each section, students should talk about one-to-two important events or things of interest.

Organizational List of Topics for Speech

Depending on the age of the students, the way that students organize their speech will be different. The following is a suggested speech organizational list for middle school students who are in the 8th grade. It can be adjusted for older and younger students. The reason for the four phases is to help the students stay organized and to keep their life topics in chronological order.

  • introduction: grab audience’s attention and tell what the speech will be about
  • life phase 1: suggested: birth to age five or pre-school
  • life phase 2: suggested: kindergarten to second grade
  • life phase 3: suggested: fourth to fifth grade (before middle school or junior high)
  • life phase 4: suggested: sixth to eighth grade (middle school)
  • conclusion: wrap up speech and make predictions about future life

Ask students to write on their paper introduction, life phase 1, life phase 2, life phase 3, life phase 4 and conclusion. Then they need to brainstorm things that they could talk about for each section.

Write Speech and Prepare "Me Bag"

After students have completed their list, they need to write their speech. It should be around six paragraphs long. This written speech can be a draft or students can directly place the speech on note cards. When writing note cards, students need to think about what will be the most helpful to use during the speech.

Writing Note Cards

What students should not do is read every note card word-for-word during the speech. The best case scenario is that they have the speech memorized and have key words written on the note cards, just in case the student "goes blank" during the speech. However, many students are very nervous during a speech and like to have the whole speech written on the cards. So, students need to do what is best for them when preparing note cards.

Making the "Me Bag"

This bag can be made out of anything. It can be a favorite bag from childhood, a brown paper bag that is decorated, or even a box that has been decorated. In the bag should be one item from each phase of the student's life. These items should be interesting and fun. These items can also help the student remember what they should be discussing during the speech.

After students have prepared note cards and the bag, they need to practice. This is the step that many students skip. This will lead to a poorly presented speech.

Students should have interesting and fun speeches to share with the class once they have completed the steps in this lesson. Teachers can assess the speeches on the criteria of content, organization, voice, volume, and use of visual aids.