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Monologue" Builds
Communication Skills



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Every student deserves 60 seconds in the spotlight. This activity provides that, builds communication skills too.



  • speak extemporaneously for 60 seconds about a topic of a "not very significant" nature.
  • take the activity seriously, make good use of the time, and show an ability to think on their feet.
  • participate in critiquing their peers' efforts. (optional)


speech, monologue, theater, extemporaneous speaking, presentation, public speaking

Materials Needed

  • two containers (for example, two hats or two fishbowls)
  • slips of paper (one with each student's name on it)
  • slips of paper (one slip per student, each with a "topic" written on it); see the list of sample topics that are part of the lesson plan below

Lesson Plan

What do students talk about when they're talking with their friends? They talk about everything, right? They talk about little things too. Why not give them an opportunity to do just that and build their communication skills at the same time?

This activity can be a fun way to start each day's class. Or you might do it as a way of settling down young kids after recess.

The fun part of this activity is that the topics are topics you might not normally think of as subjects for a "speech," or monologue. For example, would you expect to be asked to talk for 60 seconds about potato chips? Clocks? Bees? Tattoos?

The Activity
Introduce two containers (boxes, fishbowls, or paper bags will work). In one container put slips of paper; each slip has one student's name on it. In the other container, put slips of paper with a wide variety of topics (see sample topics below) on them. Choose one slip from the container holding students' names. Bring that student to the head of the class. Have the student select a slip from the "topic container" and read aloud that topic. Then set the timer and go! The student must talk extemporaneously for 60 seconds on the announced topic.

Tips for Using This Activity

  • Before putting students in the spotlight, you should model this activity for students. That way, they will see that this is a serious activity, not an opportunity to be silly and goof off. They will see what it means to talk extemporaneously. They will see that it might mean sharing something personal about a topic; sharing an experience related to the topic; pretending to be the object that is the topic; or maybe even making up information about a topic they really don't know anything about at all. This activity is an opportunity to be creative. In order to model what your expect during the One-Minute Monologue, you might choose a topic from the topic container. If students think that is a cop-out because you already know all the topics in the container, then you might open up a dictionary to a random page, and choose a word to be your topic.
  • You might create a simple rubric to rate students' One-Minute Monologues. (A sample rubric can be found in the Assessment section below.) The rubric will give students a clear idea of what is expected of them. You might even invite other students to participate in rating each monologue based on that rubric.
  • This is an activity you can do each day, all year long. Once each student has had a chance to give a One-Minute Monologue based on topics you chose, you might use a different approach the second time. Give students an opportunity to call out topics for their peers, and let the day's speaker choose one of those topics. (Will students "plant" a friend to call out a topic for which they have done some preparation? If you suspect that to be the case, you might limit that likelihood by choosing the student's topic from those that were called out.)
Daylight Saving Time
hamburger rolls
a clock
a helicopter
the car wash
the newspaper
washing dishes
an answering machine
my tongue
the wastebasket
a lobster
ice cream
an onion
a porcupine
a mousetrap
paper clips
blood pressure
rocking chairs
a sandbox
stained glass
a dime
comic strips
a hairbrush


This simple rubric can be used to rate the students' One-Minute Monologues. Peers might participate in deciding on the rating to be given to each student. The goal is to earn 100 points. Some teachers might use the rating that results as a quiz grade.


  • 30 points = The student took the monologue seriously.
  • 20 points = The student should have taken the monologue a little more seriously.
  • 10 points = The student did not take the monologue seriously at all.

Use of Time

  • 30 points = The student made very good use of the 60 seconds.
  • 20 points = The student made good use of the 60 seconds.
  • 10 points = The student did not make good use of the 60 seconds.

Monologue Content

  • 30 points = The student's monologue was strong in content.
  • 20 points = The student's monologue was good.
  • 10 points = The content of the monologue was weak.

Other Elements

  • Award 10 points for a monologue that stood out in some way; perhaps it was particularly creative, heartfelt, or interesting.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Theatre
NA-T.K-4.1 Script Writing by Planning and Recording Improvisations Based on Personal Experience and Heritage, Imagination, Literature, and History
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-T.5-8.1 Script Writing by Planning and Recording Improvisations Based on Personal Experience and Heritage, Imagination, Literature, and History
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-T.9-12.1 Script Writing by Planning and Recording Improvisations Based on Personal Experience and Heritage, Imagination, Literature, and History

NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge

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For additional language arts/reading lesson plans, see these Education World resources:

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Copyright© 2008 Education World

Originally published 04/04/2006
Last updated 111/02/2008