Students in Peyton Wynn and George Marchetti’s third-grade classrooms at Hillcrest Elementary School are working on changing the world with their idea one speech at a time. Preceded by a class discussion about the topics students cared most about, each student set out to create a persuasive speech on the subject they felt the strongest about.

Each student was responsible for creating a speech that clearly stated their opinion about the topic, the reason they felt that way and what evidence exists to support their views. Students were challenged to use research and personal anecdotes to help form their speech.

Before the project wrapped up with speaker presentations, the class watched examples of great orators such as Malala Yousafzai and Martin Luther King Jr. delivering persuasive speeches. Students then discussed what made the statements effective and practiced giving their speeches with similar pacing and confidence. 

The culmination of the project included each student publishing their work and delivering their speech to classmates and special guests.

“Our third-graders thought critically about the impact they wanted to have in their community. They developed and strengthened their opinions and spoke their minds with passion and conviction. They are already on their way to changing the world,” said third-grade teacher Peyton Wynn.

Students celebrated their hard work and received positive feedback from their peers on their final speech presentations.

Classroom word mapMalala Yousafzai TIME CoverMartin Luther King Jr. Speaking in front of thousands