Bag Speech

external image brown-paper-bag.jpg

[ Overview ]

We've done a few icebreakers in class already, but we still need to develop a deeper understanding of each other as fellow scholars. In order to do this, you're going to create a bag speech and use it to introduce yourself to the class. For this assignment, you will bring a paper bag to class that contains three items that best symbolize who you are and explain those items -- and, in the process, yourself -- to the class.

[ Directions ]

  1. Brainstorm as many personal traits as possible using the listing method. Once you've listed as many personal traits as you possibly can (remembering the "plus two" rule when you think you're done), narrow your list to the three personal traits that you find most important.
  2. Brainstorm possible objects to represent your three traits using the listing method. Once you've listed as many possible objects as you can, narrow your list to the three objects that best represent you. In choosing your objects, strive to be as creative as possible (for example, a baseball can represent the fact that you play baseball, but so can a batting helmet dented from the time you were hit in the head by a 90 MPH fastball).
  3. Decide on what order you want to present your objects in. There should be some logical reason (e.g. importance, steps in a process, time) for the order you choose.
  4. Write a brief paragraph for each object in which you explain how and/or why that object represents who you are. Be sure to include as much detail as possible (remembering that detail can come from any of your senses). You might want to consider using an anecdote -- a brief story that makes a point -- to explain some/all of your objects.
  5. Write a short (2-3 sentence) introduction for your speech. Any speech introduction should do three things: get your audience's attention immediately, allow you to introduce yourself, and explain the purpose of your speech.
  6. Write a short (2-3 sentence) conclusion for your speech. The conclusion should give the speech a finished feeling and provide a memorable ending for the audience (i.e. not "That's it" or "So yeah...I'm done.")
  7. Hold at least two peer conferences to get feedback on your written speech.
  8. Revise and edit your speech using your peers' feedback and your own ideas.
  9. Practice your speech several times before presenting it in class and get feedback from your peers.

[ Requirements ]

  • Your speech must be 2-3 minutes in length when you present it to the class.
  • You must discuss three items during your speech, and these items must be produced from a paper bag (e.g. lunch sack, grocery bag, etc).
  • The items you select must give a deeper understanding of who you are as a person -- don't just pick stuff you like unless you can explain how it symbolizes you.

[ Grading and Due Date ]

You will present your speech in class on Friday, August 17. Students may volunteer to present during the class period. Once all volunteers have presented (or if no one volunteers), the remaining speakers will be randomly drawn. This assignment is worth 150 points. Your speech will be graded on how well it meets the above directions and requirements, primarily creativity and level of detail. You will also be graded on the quality of your delivery (i.e. how well-polished and practiced you are). Consult the rubric for a more detailed description of the grading criteria.

Portions of this assignment were adapted from