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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Persuading Others to Take Action on CFE: Persuasive Speech Writing  
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

Lesson Materials (word document)

(TNLI MetLife Fellow Leslie Jirsa adapted this lesson. See her students' work!)

Aim: How can we persuade others to take action on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) case?


New York State Learning Standards:

  • Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
  • Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
  • Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction


Articles “The State of Learning” in New York: An Annual Snapshot with Comparisons of Select Counties around the State and Short History of CFE v. State, outline template for speech, assessment rubric


Quick write—If you were going to improve our school, what would you do? Who would you ask to help you?


  • Students read articles if they have not read in previous lessons
  • Discuss how the following aspects affect speech writing and style

    - Audience
    - Purpose

  • Students are divided into groups of 4 and given one of the following audiences (If they suggested other groups during the motivation, they may also be used).

    - Group of teachers
    - Parent association meeting
    - Local congressperson
    - Group of high school students
    - Local business owners

  • Students will write a persuasive speech to motivate their audience to take some sort of action involving the CFE case.
  • Before the students begin writing, ask them to answer the following questions:

    - What information does their audience already know about the case? What do they need to know?
    - How can this group help to get New York City schools equal funding?
    - What are we trying to convince this group to do or believe?
    - What is the purpose of this speech?

  • Students will use the outline provided to draft a persuasive speech
  • Students will practice the speech in groups
  • As students present the speech to the whole group, audience members will evaluate based on the rubric.


Students should be encouraged to give the speeches for the real intended audience.



Subject Areas:

Grade Levels:  9-12

About the teacher:

Wanda Dingman has been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), English, and French in New York City public high schools for the past nine years. This includes seven years at a large comprehensive high school in the South Bronx. She is currently working at the Heritage School, a small, arts-based school in East Harlem. Wanda came to New York after teaching accounting to small business owners in Mali, West Africa while in the Peace Corps. She has a B.S. in International Business from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and an M.A. in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Wanda is interested in the effects that public education policy has on English language learners (ELLs). Two areas she would like to explore are high stakes testing for ELLs and how the trend towards smaller schools impacts this population.



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