Lesson Plan

Analyzing Speakers

Comparative Analysis of President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Junior
Andrea G.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 8
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to complete a comparative analysis of the speaker in two texts. 

English Language Arts
Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

In groups, students will be required to discuss the phrase, "seven brothers, seven different minds," focusing on the interpretation of the question.    After the group discussion, there will be a whole class discussion and the meaning of the phrase will be confirmed.  Following that, teacher will say, similar to our discussion, in todays’ lesson, we will examine the thoughts of the speakers in two different texts to determine likenesses or differences.

2 Direct Instruction

As a class, teacher and students wil reflect on the meaning of the "S" in SOAPSTone.  That is:

Speaker –

  • The voice that is speaking.
  • Identification of the historical person (or group of people) who created the primary source.
  • What do we know about this historic or contemporary person?
  • What role does he play in an historic event?

Following this, students will listen to teachers read the excerpts from President Obama and Martin Luther King Junior speeches (preparations would have been made ahead of time for another teacher to participate in activity).  They will read along as the teachers do their part.

Excerpt from Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' Speech

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.


Excerpts from Obama speech: 'Yes, we can change'

I saw what America is and I believe in what this country can be. That is the country I see. That is the country you see. But now it is up to us to help the entire nation embrace this vision.

Because in the end, we're not just against the ingrained and destructive habits of Washington, we're also struggling with our own doubts, our own fears, our own cynicism.

"We are hungry for change and we are ready to believe again."

"We are looking for more than just a change of party in the White House. We're looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington."

"The change we seek has always required great struggle and great sacrifice."

"So let me remind you tonight that change will not be easy. Change will take time. There will be setbacks and false starts and sometimes we'll make mistakes."

Pivotal Questions: (Turn and Talk)

Who is the speaker in each of the excerpt?  Explain your choice.
How is the speaker’s concern in excerpt one similar to the speaker’s in excerpt two?
What is the difference in both speakers concern? 

A "Text 2 Mindmap" will be created using the students' response. 

Categories: Voice, Time Period, Role - similarities, Role - differences


3 Guided Practice

Activity: Creating

In groups:

Group Work A

Collaboratively engage in a group discussion to analyze the speakers’ action in the texts, ….  In your groups:

Cite relevant textual details to respond to the group assigned task
Use accountable talk stems to respond to your peers

  •  What can you conclude about the speakers _______ from their experiences?
  • cite textual details that support your thoughts

Group Work B

Collaborative engage in a group discussion to extract relevant textual evidence to support the following task: Evaluate the speakers’ actions in the texts, …..   In your discussion:

  • state two specific actions of each speaker
  • determine if the speakers actions were positive or negative
  • cite relevant details to support your thoughts

Group Work  C

Collaborative engage in a group discussion to extract relevant textual evidence to support the following task: What are the burning issues addressed by both speakers in the texts …..?   In your discussion:

  • Identify the specific issues addressed by each speaker
  • Cite explicit details to support your arguments


Using the information gathered, students will collectively complete a Google Doc using the link:



4 Independent Practice

Activity: Assessing


Using information gathered in the group discussion and on Google Doc, students will write a comparative analysis that responds to the question that was assigned to their groups.  They will incorporate explicit details from both texts to support their thoughts.  

I will circulate the classroom and conference with students as they work.

5 Wrap-up

Activity: Presenting

Selected students will present their written thoughts to their peers, who in turn will provide constructive feedback to them.  Students will use feedback to improve their written product.  

This session will also will used for clarification.