The Smallest Bird in the World

article by Karen Wasson , photos by Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to plan, rehearse and deliver oral presentations so that I can engage a specific audience and meet a specific purpose.

Success Criteria:

  • I can recognise a range of verbal techniques used by a speaker in an oral presentation.
  • I can plan a range of verbal techniques to use in a short nonfiction presentation and undertake a series of rehearsals of my presentation.
  • I can deliver my oral presentation to my peers to both inform and entertain them.

Essential Knowledge:

  • More information about communicating using sounds and tone of voice can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention.

Before presenting the article or images to the class, read the introductory paragraph (in purple). Prior to delivering your oral presentation to the class, rehearse your delivery with the following considerations in mind:

  • Tone – the way that you speak to the audience, revealing your emotions or attitude about the topic. (To deliver this paragraph you should convey a tone of wonderment, surprise and enthusiasm for the subject.)
  • Pitch – the highness or lowness of your voice, which makes speech sound natural and conveys emotion. (Punctuation guides pitch, with question marks indicating an upward inflection and exclamation marks indicating an increase in volume.)
  • Pace – the speed of delivery, which further adds emotion and emphasis on key details. (Consider where to pause for effect, including after the rhetorical questions and after key points such as the size of the nest and the egg.)
  • Props – including visuals or physical props to help illustrate your point to the audience. (If possible use a twenty-cent piece and a coffee bean for effect.)

After delivering your presentation to the class, discuss the reasons why it was successful. Use the following points to structure discussion:

  • What was the purpose of the speech? (Both to inform and also to entertain)
  • Was that the first time reading it aloud? (No. It required the speaker to identify the words and phrases to emphasise; this is called planning. It also required the speaker to deliver it a few times in preparation, maybe in front of a mirror; this is called rehearsing.)
  • Why was it a successful presentation? (Students will provide a range of answers. Record their responses to use in the next step.)

Explain to students that they will be delivering an engaging oral presentation to a specific audience – their peers. Their presentation should contain interesting facts and details but should also be delivered in a way that is entertaining for the audience.

Inform students that they will be peer assessing each other according to jointly developed criteria. Using the information gathered from the discussion (above) construct success criteria for an engaging oral presentation. Criteria could include:

  • The speaker’s tone of voice suits the topic, audience, and purpose.
  • The speaker delivers the presentation slowly and clearly.
  • Speaker uses pace and pauses for effect.

Instruct students to write their own short presentation about an interesting animal. It should contain a range of facts, use a variety of sentence types (including rhetorical questions) and provide opportunities for incorporating visuals and props. Alternatively, provide them with an extract from a high interest article. Some suggested articles from The School Magazine include:

  • Will Wonders Never Cease? Doggy Diversity by Zoe Disher (Blast Off, Issue 10 2019)
  • Where the Blue Bees Fly by Carolyn Galbraith (Orbit, Issue 10 2018)
  • Yuumm Yum! by Susan Letts (Touchdown, Issue 6 2019)

Students should deliver their presentations in small groups. One member of the group should peer assess each speaker based on the success criteria determined by the class. Feedback can be provided using a format such as Two Stars and a Wish.