Speak Up For Recycling
(Adapted from A-way With Waste: A Waste Management Curriculum for Schools, 2nd ed.,
by State of Washington, Department of Ecology)


SUBJECT AREAS: speech, language arts

CONCEPT: Organizing a speech in terms of ideas to investigate and support is an effective way to present a persuasive argument.

OBJECTIVE: Students will present a persuasive, well-organized speech promoting the establishment of a school recycling program.

MATERIALS: note cards, pen

KEYWORDS: recycling

PROCEDURE: To develop an idea and speech, students will:

1. Think up possible statements.

2. Rework possible statements to produce a positive statement.
3. Brainstorm reasons to support it.
4. Rate reasons in the order in which they will be presented: least persuasive to most persuasive.
5. Write a short introduction to the speech. Introduction includes: introduction of self, short history of situation or problem at hand, and a statement of thesis.
6. Write short transition phrases leading from one reason to the next to give speech continuity.

7. Write summary/conclusion that restates the problem and summarizes the most persuasive reasons, leaving the audience with an important point to consider.
8. Write the speech onto note cards, one main point per card.
9. Practice the speech so that students can deliver it smoothly, not reading the cards but using them only for reference while looking at their audience and feeling prepared for speaking in public.


1. Students present speech to community groups, city council, county commissioners.
2. Students attend public meetings on other public problems and evaluate the effectiveness of the presentations.
3. Students attend trials and court hearings to evaluate techniques and effectiveness of presentations.
4. Teacher arranges visits of lawyers to class to discuss techniques of persuasive speaking.
5. Students write letters to the editors of local papers advocating that recycling be included as a method of solid waste management.
6. Students discuss how recycling and "resource recovery" can work together as part of a solid waste management plan.