Speech Teacher Guide


(5 minutes)

Q: Name a situation in which you had to convince others to do something that you wanted. What was it? What was your argument for convincing them? Did it work?

A: Answers will vary.


Allow time for students to share their examples and persuasive techniques.

Today we are going to talk about some persuasive strategies that the ancient Greeks and Romans identified and used in their speeches! Keep your own strategy in mind and see if you can figure out to which category it belongs.

TIP: Remember or write down a few of the student arguments and use them for the activity examples!

(5 minutes)

Divide the class into two groups. One group represents a kid who wants to convince their parents to adopt the stray dog that followed him/her home. The other group represents the parents who do not want to adopt the dog.

Ask the groups to brainstorm as many reasons as possible to present their case. They should write them down on a piece of paper. Allow time for the groups to share, one reason at a time. You may wish to assign a “winner” as the group that has the most reasons. Discuss the types of reasons that the students brainstormed. The parents reasons are most likely logical arguments, and the kid’s reasoning might be mostly sympathetic or emotional reasons.

Today you’re going to learn how you can use three different types of persuasive strategies to make your arguments stronger!

(10 minutes)

Materials: computers for research (optional), posters/large pieces of paper, markers/crayons

Instructions: Let students review the material from “Lesson EL2: Elements of Literacy, Speech” using jigsaw learning. Divide students into groups and assign each group either: logos, ethos, pathos, or Roman Oratory. The groups must read about their topic from the lesson, research additional information (optional), and present their topic in a way that the rest of the class will remember. They should come up with extra examples of their persuasion tactic and an illustration that they think represents their strategy (e.g. a heart for pathos). If the group is presenting on Roman oratory, allow them to research images of the Roman rostra and draw their own rostra.

When they finish presenting, you may wish to summarize the topics and present content using our digital resources or letting students discuss.

A Reason to Run

(15 minutes)

Instructions: Label three walls or corners as LOGOS, ETHOS, or PATHOS. Direct students that you will read a reason and they should run to the part of the room that fits the persuasive strategy.


You should get a job early so you can learn valuable career skills. (logos)

You should buy this t-shirt because 99% of the reviewers gave 5 stars. (ethos)

Your doctor said you shouldn’t go jogging for the next week because you hurt your knee, but running makes you happy so you do it anyway. (pathos)

You promised a friend you would help him study. (pathos)

You shouldn’t stop to pick up a hitchhiker because there’s a 50% chance he’s a serial killer. (logos)

You should eat spinach because your doctor said it is good for you. (ethos)

A well-reputed news source says she found evidence that a politician is corrupt. You should not vote for that politician. (ethos)

It is more likely that a college will accept you if you have good grades, so you should study. (logos)

You should not set mouse traps because they kill the animals in a cruel way. (pathos)

Speech! Speech! Speech!

(15 minutes)

Instructions: Allow students to choose a topic, their stance, and a persuasive strategy, then write a short, 1-2 minute speech about it. Students in the audience should guess whether the strategy used was logos, ethos, or pathos before the speaker reveals the answer. You may also assign topics and strategies.

Are books better than movies?
Should college tuition be free?
Should we all be vegetarians?
Are cats better pets than dogs?
Should Pluto be considered a planet?
Should students be required to wear uniforms?
Should people be allowed to have exotic animals as pets?
Should middle school students be allowed to have cell phones in school?
Should community service be required for graduation?

VARIATION: Divide the class into three groups – each one representing logos, ethos, or pathos. Call out topics from the list and each group has to to decide a stance and develop a reason that fits their group assigned strategy.


(5 minutes)

Q: What is the platform called where orators would give speeches in ancient Rome?

A: Rostra