What is YOUR Story?


For this assignment, I want to take you back to the beginning of public speaking and have you do what the ancient Greeks did: orate. The Greeks were known as the fathers of rhetoric. They studied rhetoric first not in its written form but as a basis for oration (speech). For this assignment, you will be speaking, creating your own Ted Talk. You have two and a half weeks of class to do this assignment. That is over 12 hours of class time to work on this! Use your time wisely and you will have a wonderful and FUN TED Talk experience!

STEP 1: WATCH at least 6 TED TALKS and fill out 6 TED TALK WORKSHEETS!

From this page, browse some of the talks that I have selected as my favorites. But if you don’t want to see my favorites, there are 54 pages and almost 2,000 talks, on the Ted Talk website. Go and choose any to watch. They are presented by all kinds of folk, famous and not, and they cover a HUGE range of topics. Some of the presenters are professionals and some are just like you. They range from 5 minutes long to 20 minutes. So you can do two or more in each class time! This should only take you 2-3 class days to complete (and can even be done at home), leaving you the rest of the class time to prepare your talk!

You can listen to as many as you like, and you can listen to parts of as many as you like, but for this assignment, you need to select SIX to report on. Some are longer than others, so you may wish to factor time into the equation. For each of the SIX talks you select, please fill out a TED TALK WORKSHEET. If you complete more than 6 worksheets, you can earn EXTRA CREDIT POINTS.

Once you have an idea of how a casual yet well-prepared presentation can be delivered, it’s time for you to create one yourself. Some of these talks are 15-20 minutes long, but yours will only be a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of three minutes.


What in the world should you talk about? The one thing all Ted Talks have in common is that they are delivered by people who are passionate about and believe in what they are saying. So find something you are passionate about. It could be a particular belief you hold, a political event, an experience you had, a person in your life, a pet, dietary choices, a class you took, a place you visited, a hobby, music you enjoy, an expectation you have for people, etc. You do not have to persuade someone to do something; you may simply present something beautiful.


You will not be handing in an essay. You may write your talk out as if it was an essay, but you will not be able to read it word for word. So outline your talk on the PLANNING sheet. The planning sheet is a separate grade. And no planning sheet to turn in OR planning sheet that is different from your talk equals a 0 for that grade. What you do to elaborate upon your planning sheet outline is up to you. If necessary, you may use note cards during your talk. You will also prepare a visual to go with your talk. This could be a PowerPoint presentation, a poster, a photo, a prop, a chart/graph, whatever visual you think works best with your talk.

IF YOU MAKE YOUR VISUAL ON A COMPUTER… THE EASIEST WAY IS TO MAKE IT ON YOUR ONE DRIVE ACCOUNT! Create a slide show or poster in ONE DRIVE and email it to yourself or have it so that you can access it on a computer in the classroom. IF you create your presentation on your phone, you must get into into your OneDrive account or email it to yourself and be able to access it on a classroom computer. You could also make it at home and put it on a flash drive to bring it to the classroom computer. You can make a Prezi presentation IF you have a Prezi account that you can access from a class computer. Or make a PowerPoint presentation and email it to yourself. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO DO THIS. It never works as well. You will need to show your visuals when you do your peer reviewed rehearsals, so have those ready to go on a classroom computer when you are being peer reviewed. You can have a friend do the forwarding of the slideshow while you present.


Even if you are a practiced orator, you must practice, practice, practice. You will be graded on the quality of your content and also the quality of your talk. What makes a good speech? Well, beyond the obvious (content), it's presentation. You must speak at an even pace (not too fast and not too slow), you must speak clearly, you must use inflection, you must rid your speech of “like,” “um,” “ya know,” etc. The only way to make sure you are addressing all of these elements is to practice. You also need to be attentive to body language and posture: what you do with your face, your hands, and posture—they all speak volumes (pun intended). Watch yourself perform in a mirror, record yourself with your phone and that will help you to get it ready for evaluation and performance!


You will need 2 peer evaluations. These will come from 2 of your group members. You will do your speech for them, complete with showing them your visuals, and they will evaluate you. You must also do 2 peer evaluations. So if they watch yours and evaluate you, then you watch theirs and evaluate them! These peer evaluations will count as a separate PAPERWORK GRADE. No peer evaluations will be a ZERO for that grade. These must be done in class. You have PLENTY of class time to do all of this IF you use your time wisely.


Performances will be May 20th-23rd in class. If you are not in class during those days and miss performing you must come in for a lunch or after school performance or take a 0 for your grade. Once all performances are done, WE ARE FINISHED FOR THE YEAR!!!

In case you lose your WHAT IS YOUR STORY? packet, here is another one to print out! I can't wait to hear your TED TALK!


Artist and poet Cleo Wade recites a moving poem about being an advocate for love and acceptance in a time when both seem in short supply. Woven between stories of people at the beginning and end of their lives, she shares some truths about growing up (and speaking up) and reflects on the wisdom of a life well-lived, leaving us with a simple yet enduring takeaway: be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth. "The world will say to you, 'Be a better person,'" Wade says. "Do not be afraid to say, 'Yes.'"


How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals -- including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."


On Linda Cliatt-Wayman's first day as principal at a failing high school in North Philadelphia, she was determined to lay down the law. But she soon realized the job was more complex than she thought. With palpable passion, she shares the three principles that helped her turn around three schools labeled "low-performing and persistently dangerous." Her fearless determination to lead -- and to love the students, no matter what -- is a model for leaders in all fields.


Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.


Improviser and storyteller Dave Morris teaches you 7 steps to improvising and how they apply to life in "The Way of Improvisation."


Charlie Todd causes bizarre, hilarious, and unexpected public scenes: Seventy synchronized dancers in storefront windows, "ghostbusters" running through the New York Public Library, and the annual no-pants subway ride. His group, Improv Everywhere, uses these scenes to bring people together.


PigPen Theatre Company has captured the imagination of critics and audiences alike since they were introduced to the New York stage in 2010 as undergraduate students from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.  Since then, the group has gone on to become the first company in history to win the New York City International Fringe Festival's highest honor for a play two years running (2010 and 2011).  PigPen Theatre Company has also produced several original plays off-Broadway, earning them critic's picks from The New York Times, Time Out New York, and New York Magazine, which ranked them in the top ten theatrical events of both 2011 and 2012.