Activity Overview

The very basics of writing a speech include keeping four important aspects of public speaking in mind: Situation, Purpose, Occasion, and Method, or SPAM. Have students answer the SPAM model for Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention”. Then, have them storyboard their results, like the following example.

SPAM Model for “Speech in the Virginia Convention”



Patrick Henry’s situation for his speech is the Virginia Provincial Convention, which had convened to decide whether or not they would be sending Virginia militiamen to support the Revolution.


Patrick Henry’s purpose for his speech was to convince the members of the Convention to arm the Virginia militia and send them to aid the Revolution efforts. He urged armed resistance to England whereas others were pleading for compromise.


Patrick Henry’s audience was the elected representatives from Virginia. The assembly was formerly known as the House of Burgesses, and it was dissolved by the Governor after he got wind they were supporting rebels in Massachusetts.


Patrick Henry mainly uses appeals to emotion and reason to rally support. He includes an ultimatum of liberty or death to drive home the importance and gravity of the situation.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/9-10/6] Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/9-10/9] Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"), including how they address related themes and concepts.

More Storyboard That Activities

Speech in the Virginia Convention

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