Introductions set the stage for your audience.

How to Start Your Story: Introductions

Remember when I told you to write your speeches backward?  Start at the end and write the intro last?

That’s a bit harder to do when you tell a story, but it doesn’t make it any less important.  Introductions set the stage for your audience.

Introductions Matter

This week, we have a lot of material to cover, so we’re going to work very hard at it to get it all done.

That’s an introduction.  It signals several important things to the audience.

  1.  There’s important information that they need to pay attention to.
  2. There’s a deadline for this presentation.
  3. We are working together on this project.
  4. We will have to work hard to complete it all.

That’s a lot of information packed into one sentence.

Other sentences have similar impact on the listener.  We start stories like this:

Once upon a time…

Did you ever…

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…

These introductions set the stage and create expectations in the audience.  Which brings us to this question:

What do you want the audience to know when you start your story?

Things to consider:

  1.  If this is not your personal story, you need to cite the source.
  2.  A humorous introduction to a sad story creates conflicting emotions in the listener.
  3. Using imagery to create the scene helps the audience to buy into your story – especially if it’s unlikely to have happened in real life.
  4. How does the story end?

The ending is also as important as the beginning.  You need to take that moment when you’re done to let the audience absorb what you’ve told them.  Don’t rush the ending.  Let everyone savor the ending.

I’d like to end this assignment with something for you to really think about in preparation for the next speeches.

Here’s the link to the online worksheet.  After you’ve finished today’s class assignment, this shouldn’t be too hard.

Since it’s so easy, I want you to record your speech again and send the recording to the Google Drive.  Please follow the instructions on the previous post.  If you had trouble with this, then it is your responsibility to call me to figure out a solution.  It’s best to give it a try before you call me, and then note – that means write it down! –  where you’re having problems.

If you had a problem and could not create an MP3 file, please go to this site and follow the directions for your computer system.

Because of Thanksgiving, we have to speed up the pace of this assignment.  We will be having our speech presentations on November 12 and November 26.    We will draw cards again for the speaker order.


Storytelling Speech Assignment

Storytelling: Pick Your Story and Stick To it

Our next speech assignment is Storytelling.

Let’s start with the first problem you might have:

Your story does not have to be true.

By definition, a story is fiction.  It is not true.  It’s not a record of the events or a testimony before a court.  So if you’re telling a personal story in your speech, you may change things up.  The location, the people, the event – none of these have to be reported like it’s a news story.  This is your story.  You can tell it however you want.

Just be aware, if you make your sister sound bad – she will hear about it.  I guarantee it.  So if you want to make someone sound worse than they truly are, you might want to not use a real person in the story.

If you are using a story about yourself or a family member, please be aware that they might not like you using it.  Ask if you think they might have an opinion.  And if they don’t like the idea of you not telling the story truthfully, explain this rule:  stories don’t have to be true for this assignment.

Your story needs to be interesting.

Think about an adventure.  It’s going to do and see something new.  You’re giving that to your audience. You’re giving them something that needs to entertain or educate them.  You need to engage their emotions.

We will talk about the basics of storytelling.  How to put emotion into our speeches by

  • using sensory words and images
  • crafting the sequence of the story
  • creating a lead character that the audience can relate to.

We need to create an adventure for our audience.  That requires an introduction and a conclusion that will satisfy our listeners.

If you create a roadmap for yourself, you can help yourself not need notes for your story.  You’ll need to memorize what you want the audience to feel, not the words that you have to say.  When you’ve got your emotional road map written down, you’ll be surprised at how much easier storytelling can be.

That roadmap isn’t a quick exercise.  You need to recognize the value of each character and every action.  You need to think about what the audience will need to respond to so that they have the emotional reaction you want.

The story setting creates a mood for your audience.

Please read the following link.


Now that we’ve covered the basics, your homework assignment is pretty simple.  Go to the link and answer the questions about your upcoming Storytelling Speech.*

Please decide your topic before you try to answer these questions.  Once you’ve decided it, stick to it.  We have a lot of work to do and you’ll be recording your speech and submitting it again next week, so get to work!


*Just as a reminder – these assignments do contribute to your grades.  Doing these can make the difference between the grade you get on your speeches and the next grade up.  Just sayin’.



Bridges Speech Class Recording Directions Quiz

Did You Follow the Directions? Recording Your Speech

Did you follow the directions?

Eight of 11 students did submit a file I could listen to.

However, a significant number of you did not do it as it was assigned.

What was the problem?

Today’s quiz is pretty simple.  Go to the link and answer some simple questions.  I need to know what went wrong

  • my instructions
  • the due date/time was unexpected/earlier than you thought
  • unexpected computer/headset problems (aka Audacity errors, can’t create MP3)
  • upload problems (Google issues)
  • lack of computer/internet access.

Even if you had no problems, I need you to go to the quiz and fill it out anyway.  It will give me a sense of what did work.

Why is this important?

You need the opportunity to practice.  I want to give you some helpful comments to make your speech better.  Because we have a limited amount of time in class, this is the best way I can think of to give you the opportunity to practice and get feedback before you go live.

From my perspective, there was one major problem.

I didn’t get them until very late – Friday afternoon.  That makes giving you comments very hard.  That’s on me.  I’m going to set an earlier due date in the future.

We will be doing more recordings.  They will be due on Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

Do you have any questions for me?

I’ve heard from a couple of parents that students are emailing me with no response.  I’ve checked my spam folders and none of you are in there.

If you have questions or problems, please remember how to contact me:

  1. Cell number  330-232-1839
  2. Home number 234-678-7589
  3. Email

If I don’t respond in 24 hours, please call me.

Just a reminder – We will have impromptu speaking next week if we have time.  Do you want to be in charge of impromptu speaking?

Demonstration speech with plastic knife

Demonstration Speeches in the Bubble

Today, I demonstrated how to make bubble liquid and blow bubbles using a canning jar lid.  I hope I showed it’s important to talk and move at the same time during a demonstration speech.

Now it’s time for you to demonstrate something for me.  Using a plastic knife.

Yes, seriously.Plastic knife

Look, I have my reasons.

  1.  You can’t stab me with it.  (Joking!)
  2.  You’ve probably never thought about a craft or something you can do with a plastic knife that doesn’t involve food.
  3. Plastic knives are not expensive.

What’s really important is that you decide quickly:

What Are You Going to Do With a Plastic Knife?

Number 1 rule:  it can’t have anything to do with food. No food.  None.

Number 2 rule:  You can’t hurt yourself or someone else with it.  (No knife throwing.) (I don’t care that it is plastic.)

Number 3 rule:  There is no number 3.  I just made that up.

Your homework assignment is to create a speech presentation that you demonstrate using a plastic knife.  You must record the speech using the headphones you were required to purchase at the beginning of the semester.

The speech you record does not have to include the actual demonstration.  This is your practice of the speech, not the demonstration.

By breaking the demonstration speech into two parts – the speech presentation and the demonstration – you can practice each separately to make sure you can do both.  You may find that during your demonstration speech, you stop talking because you’re concentrating on the task.  We want to minimize that.  That’s why I expect you to use multiple models of the project.  When you get bogged down, you can switch to the next step.

You MUST DEMONSTRATE one step of the process.  Pick the one that you can do easiest, or is the most interesting to the audience, or is the one that you can’t possibly screw up.  You may bring a hot glue gun to use during the presentation.

Last week, I covered the steps to recording your speech.  That’s due this week on October 19, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

On October 22, we will talk about how to manage your stage while you’re doing a demonstration.  So get that speech written and into your head because you WILL NOT able to read it while doing this speech.  You can use some notes written on the demonstration table, but don’t expect to be able to read your speech.  You need to know what you’re going to say and what you’re going to do.

Just a reminder

If you need some ideas or reminders from the class, the notes I use to prepare for each class are on this website.  You can see them by using the menu and selecting Speech Class Notes.

Record your speech

Record Your Speech Homework Assignment Instructions UPDATED

Are you ready to record your speech?

The most challenging thing about giving a demonstration speech is giving the demonstration.

Things are going to go wrong.  Just accept that.

Plastic Knife Failures

Why do I ask you to give a speech with a plastic knife that doesn’t have to do with food?

Well, it requires some serious outside-the-box thinking.

It also is cheap.  You can buy a hundred plastic knives for less than $2 at Marc’s.

Also because the worst failure I’ve seen of a plastic knife speech involved spreading cold icing on a too warm cake.  The knife broke.  The speaker had no backup.

Plastic knives are not known for their strength.  They’re built to cut soft butter and spread it on hot corn on the cob.  So the likelihood of a problem during your speech is real.  You’ll need to break down your demonstration in such a way that you have several models of what you want to do, step by step, during your speech.

For example, say you want to build a flagpole out of plastic knives.  You have a plan.  You have a hot glue gun – that stops working in the middle of the presentation.  (Don’t laugh.  It’s happened.)

If you have each step already created, then the failure isn’t catastrophic.  You just move on to the next step.

That’s why you need to have your idea ready for your speech as early as possible.  You need to practice what your brain and mouth are to say when the problems come up.

Which leads us to your homework:

Get the headphones out!

You are to record yourself giving the speech – without doing the demonstration at the same time.

How to Record Your Speech

First you must download a software program:  Audacity.  (Please check your antivirus software to be sure it’s up to date.)  Plug in your headphones first and then start the program.

If you haven’t ever recorded anything, I suggest you look at a Youtube.  This video was short – 5 minutes – and was easy to follow.  If you want more, let me suggest my friend Steve Stewart’s Audacity Workshop.  The first 10 lessons are free.  (Steve and I have worked together a couple of times online.  I haven’t taken these classes, but I trust Steve.)

You may have to tell Audacity which headset (speakers or output) you are using, or you may have to tell it which microphone to use.  As you’re using a headset with a mic, the answer to both problems is the same:  the name of your headset.

Record Your Speech Rock Your Speech Class


Once you’ve got those two set up (and Audacity might do it for you automatically) then you’re ready to record.

Record and Stop buttons

Press the red button on the screen and start talking.

If you have problems, then you can try to look on YouTube for potential solutions, but I’ll say that most of the time, it’s Audacity not recognizing your headset.  You may have to reset your computer settings, especially if you have a built-in camera and/or microphone.

You may want to just talk a bit, stop the recording, and listen by hitting the green arrow button.  If your voice sounds weird – that’s normal.  But if you hear a lot of static, or your voice is too low, you may want to play around a bit with this by adjusting the volume controls.

Don’t worry about hating your voice.  Everyone hates their own voice on a recording.  I love your voice!

Record Your Speech

Now you simply give your speech without the props.  Talk to the wall in front of you like it’s the classroom full of people.  Or put a picture of your best friend up on the screen and talk to them.  Or close your eyes.  But start talking and record the speech.

This speech has a minimum time of 4 minutes.  However, your speaking time may be less due to you stopping to demonstrate the tasks.  Don’t worry if your talking time is less than 4 minutes!  (Just be sure it will be 4 minutes when you present in class.)

Make sure you hit SAVE under the FILE option on the menu.  That’s important.  You don’t want to waste your time and have to do it again!

How to Submit the Recording

Now you need to get the recording to me.  This is a little bit complicated.  Because sound files are big, you can’t just email them to me.

You have to export them with Audacity to an MP3 file.  It’s really easy:  go to the top menu and start with the word FILE.Export your record to an MP3 file

Then select EXPORT.

Then select EXPORT TO MP3.

A box will come up with the familiar SAVE options.  Go ahead and save it with your NAME plus the word Demo and remember where you saved it.  So it may be JOESMITHDEMO.mp3 in your documents or download folder.

So we have to use a Google drive to upload your files.  I believe all of you have Google Gmail accounts.  That makes uploading the files simple.

You need to go to this Google Drive:

I have sent you the invitation to this drive.  I sent you an email about this on September 29, 2018.

Find your saved MP3 file in the folder on your hard drive.  Copy it to the Google Drive.  Make sure it uploads completely.  Depending how long your recording is, it may take minutes to upload.  That’s normal.  Just don’t close the browser until the upload is done.

Then send me a note letting me know you’ve done this.

This assignment is due by FRIDAY, October 19 by 5 p.m.

If you are having problems with this because of Audacity, I can try to help you online.  Contact me and we’ll set up an online call for us to try to troubleshoot your problems.

If you had a problem and could not create an MP3 file, please go to this site and follow the directions for your computer system.




Impromptu Speaking Challenge

Is it time for you to lead Impromptu Speaking?

We’ve finished up the first prepared speeches.  We filled in the extra time with impromptu speaking.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of all of you.  I know that first speech is the scariest thing ever!

That’s why I try to make the impromptu speaking part of our class fun.  Maybe you’d like to try it too?

How Do You Take Over Impromptu Speaking?

It’s pretty easy.  Just tell me you want to do it.

You’ve seen several options that we’ve done.  I’ve used Story Dice.  I’ve used sunglasses and water bottles.  We’ve talked about speeches I asked you to watch.

The secret to impromptu speaking is… there is no secret.  It’s simply something you have to put some thought into to encourage the members of the class to get up and speak for 1 minute.  If you google “Table Topics” you will find thousands of ideas for impromptu speaking prompts.

I personally think that impromptu speaking prompts are the most fun when it’s not just a question that is read out loud.  It’s much more inspiring to have something that you can hold, you can smell, you can feel – anything that will inspire your senses.  One favorite is to get Chinese fortune cookies and ask each speaker to open it up and talk about the fortune inside.

If you want to take over the impromptu speaking portion of the class,  you will receive 25 extra credit points at the end of the semester.

So think about what might inspire you to give a good 1 minute speech – or go to Google – and sign up for a week.  You’ll need to prepare for 10 speakers – 11 if you ask Mrs. Krajci.  So if you decide to use the fortune cookies, make sure you buy enough.

Let me know if you want to do it.  You can use this form to sign up.

In the meantime – it’s homework for you.

Watch What?

Your task this week is to find a cooking show and watch it on Youtube.  Here are the requirements:

You must go to Youtube and look for a video that is not produced by HGTV or Food Network.  Look for one that’s not professionally produced.  The easiest way to find one is to enter the word RECIPE and a food you like. I picked a recipe for corned beef and found Chef Bob.

Watch the video.  Consider these questions while you’re watching:

  • What do you think they did well in the presentation?
  • What do you think they skipped?
  • Do you think the presenter had help behind the scenes?
  • What didn’t work?

Go to the quiz and answer the questions.

Are you hungry now?

We’re going to get started next week with our next prepared speech: the Demonstration Speech.

Just a head’s up – you’ll need your headset with microphone for next week’s homework assignment!


Time to break the ice with your ice breaker speech. Rock speech class

Ice Breaker Speeches

It’s time to break the ice with your ice breaker speech.

This is your first prepared speech for you to give to us.  I’ve tried to make the impromptu speeches fun and challenging, but now, it’s time for you to do the work.

How’re you feeling?

We covered stage fright on your first day in class.  You were given a handout today to use to reassess your responses before and after the speech, as well as a couple of questions.  The answers you gave to those questions are your homework assignment.  Go to the Ice Breaker Quiz page and answer the questions.  There aren’t any right or wrong answers, specifically, as they’re all about your impressions about your speech and what you noticed in other people’s speeches.  Please do it the day that you give your speech.

September 24 Speakers:

  1. Marah
  2. Elizabeth
  3. Ian
  4. Mike
  5. Nate
  6. Austin

October 1 Speakers

  1. Gracelin
  2. Braylon
  3. Darby
  4. Morgan
  5. Jonas

Ice Breaker Speeches

Once you’re done with this speech, we also have to talk about Andrea Ambam’s lovely National Speech and Debate League winning speech.  Did you watch it?

Andrea’s speech is a type of ice breaker speech.  She’s talking about herself, her mother and her mother’s experiences, by using math as a metaphor.  This is an advanced technique in giving a speech.  What did you think of it?

We’ve looked at three very distinct speeches in our class:

  1. Gettysburg Address by Lincoln
  2. I Have a Dream by King,
  3.  America Minus the Dream by Ambam.

There’s a flow from one speech to another, isn’t there?

I picked these speeches for that reason.  You will find that no speech will stand alone.  Everything comes with context:  it’s related to what came before and will have an impact on what will follow.  Your ice breaker speech will have an impact on your next speech.  What you learned from this experience can help you do better next time.

There’s a proverb that says:

There’s the speech you write.
There’s the speech you gave.
Then there’s the speech you wish you had given.

This is strikingly true.  There’s a relationship that you build with your audience from the moment of your introduction until the final clap as you exit the stage.  What you wrote may have sounded good when you were writing it, but maybe it became something else when you delivered it.  Some of those changes you’re going to like.  Some of them you’re going to see were effective in reaching your audience.  Some… well… we learn from those too.

Your next speech will have a flow from this speech.  It may not be about the same material or even about the same topic, but because it’s you, you’re the flow.  Don’t be anxious about your ice breaker speech.  You got up there and gave a speech.  You’re already a hundred miles ahead of all those people who never have.

Note to the Future:

If you do not have a gmail account – you now need one.  Please make arrangements with your parents to set it up now.

Please check and be sure that I have your email address.  I’m missing 2 right now:  Braylon and Gracelin.




How do we do presentations?

Ice Breaker Speech Presentations Next Week!

Are you stuck on your ice breaker speech presentation? Today’s class on mind mapping was supposed to help you figure out your topic and the material you want to cover in your speech.

Let’s talk about how we’re going to do these speeches.

  1.  We can’t do all the speeches in one class session.  Therefore, we will be randomly selected for the speech order by drawing cards.  You will be told this week on what date you will give your Ice Breaker speech.  Do not switch your date without consulting Mrs. Krajci.  She gets really temperamental about that sort of thing.
  2. You are expected to dress appropriately for the speech presentation.  Now, you may think that if you’re talking about how you love your llamas and that should allow you to wear your llama-caring clothing for the speech. llamas don't speak in You would be wrong.  Please check the syllabus for the proper attire.  Failure to dress properly will drop your grade.  Show up in a Spiderman vs. Nightcrawler t-shirt and you won’t present at all.
  3. While we will have as many as 6 speeches during each presentation class, that won’t be enough to fill up the time.  There will be additional assignments.  Please be aware of them and be prepared.  Next week, you should watch the Andrea Ambam speech listed in your syllabus and be prepared to talk about it after the class presentations are done.
  4. I could tell you not to be nervous, but that’s not going to be very helpful, will it.  Relax!  We’re going to have fun!

Evaluations by your peers

Each speaker is going to get evaluations from every member of the class.  What’s an evaluation and why does it make me nervous?

It might.  After all, an evaluation asks the audience to point out good things you did during your speech and suggest one thing you could do to improve.  Mrs. Krajci will collect all of the evaluations and hold them until all of the speech presentations are done.

Why am I asking you to do this?  It has a lot more to do with you than about the speaker you’re evaluating.

What you notice about other speakers is what you need to work on.  It’s that simple.  I don’t have a long explanation as to why that is.  I don’t know why it is.  But I know that’s how it works.  So we’re going to use this tool to help you be a better speaker.

Remember these three things:

  • Be kind.
  • Be helpful.
  • Be thoughtful.

See you next week!

September 24 Speakers:

  1. Marah
  2. Elizabeth
  3. Ian
  4. Mike
  5. Nate
  6. Austin

October 1 Speakers

  1. Gracelin
  2. Braylon
  3. Darby
  4. Morgan
  5. Jonas

Presentation Skills Put Your Body Into Your Speech

Presentation skills are the difference between a speech and an essay.  When I’m reading an essay, I can put in any emphasis I want.

Consider this poem.

To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

Read it out loud with a deep voice, taking your time with each word.

Now do it again in a sharp, high-pitched, scared voice.

One voice is the executioner and the other is the prisoner.  Which one do you think is which?

Read morePresentation Skills Put Your Body Into Your Speech

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what I think was the single most important speech in the 20th Century.  Despite countless threats against himself and the Civil Rights movement, he led Americans to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in 1963.  His speech remains as powerful today as it was that day.

Your assignment is to watch the speech.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Remember, this recording may be older than your parents.  It’s not a great video.  Try to concentrate on

  • Dr. King’s voice
  • the words he uses
  • the cadence (rhythm) of his words
  • the sources of his content
  • the reaction of the audience.

Here’s a link to a slide show of my analysis of Dr. King’s speech.  We will be referring to his speech over the course of the semester.


Dr. King used many rhetorical devices.

Repeated phrases build up emotion in the audience.  I Have a Dream was actually not the title of the speech he planned to give, but because of his repetition of the phrase, it has become the common name for it.

Here is a list of rhetorical devices.  Can you identify any more that he used?

Read moreI Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.