By now, you have read Speak, by Laurie Anderson Halse, and watched Speak, the 2004 film directed by Jessica Sharzer. The issues dealt with in both the novel and the movie are directly relevant to you, a few of which are: coping in high school, understanding the effects of rape/sexual assualt, and finding a personal voice.

Now, I turn the discussion over to you.

You will now direct your own discussions to either the movie, the book, or both. Feel free to draw from your personal reactions to the film or novel; incorporate your own past experiences when deciding how you would like to direct your personal and your group work. In your groups of four, you will each contribute to a group interpretation of the material. As a group, you will look closely at the film adaptation, the literary function of the novel, the psychology involved in both, and you will work these viewpoints into a cohesive whole. In conjunction with the group assignment, you will create a short story - instead of a traditional academic paper, I want your written work to correspond more strongly to your personal emotions and reactions.

Below are my guidelines for your work. Above all, I want you to act as Melinda did: find YOUR voice. Speak Up, and be heard in the classroom.

The Task:

Your task will involve researching different aspects of the book and movie Speak with TWO end results:

1) The first product will be an in-class presentation and discussion facilitation that you will do with the group to which you are assigned. The presentation and discussion should last 10-15 minutes. All group members should be actively involved in the designing of the facilitation; use your individual perspectives ("Director," "Psychologist," "Literary Analyst," or "Discussion Facilitator/Artist") to create probing questions that should ensure an ACTIVE class discussion. If there is specific information from your research that is pertinent to your questions, please do present it to the class; however, be sure that there is a greater emphasis on class DISCUSSION than there is on presentation of information.

2) The second product will be a creative writing piece (5-7 pages, Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1 inch borders, double spaced). Here, I would like to have you "show but don't tell" me your reaction to Speak. Draw freely from your own interpretations, and respond to one of the following prompts:

a) Diary entries written from the perspective of Melinda, FOUR years later b) Re-tell the story from the perspective of any CENTRAL character other than Melinda (i.e. Ivy, Mr. and/or Mrs. Sordino, Mr. Freeman, Andy, Rachel) c) Create an alternate ending in the form of either a novel or a screenplay (for example, what would have happened if Andy didn't attack Melinda in the closet at school?)

The Process:

In order to accomplish your task, you will need to go through the following process:

  1. You will be assigned to groups of 4 students.
2. Each member of the group will pick ONE of the four roles to enact within your group ("Director," "Psychologist," "Literary Analyst," or "Discussion Facilitator/Artist"). The roles are detailed below. 3. Once you have decided on your roles, discuss them as a group and collaboratively decide on a specific direction for your group to take. Each group can have different focuses through the 4 roles. (i.e. All groups need to have each of the four roles, but one group may want to focus on Melinda, while another may want to focus on rape itself, etc.) 4. Run your "direction" by the teacher and have it approved by the end of the "planning" class period. 5. Access, read, and analyze the websites associated with your role. (Note: not all websites will necessarily deal with your group's focus, so choose carefully). 6. Use the information on the sites to create an outline in line with the direction your group decided to take. You should use summaries, flowcharts, or outlines to present the information that you found to your group. (Note: GoogleDocs is a great source to use for collaboration and editing of information.) 7. Work together as a group to put together your 10-15 minute discussion/presentation. 8. Begin work on your creative writing piece. You can choose any of the three options listed above for your piece. Feel free to draw from online and classroom resources to give your paper more substance, but above all: BE CREATIVE!! 9. Papers should be handed in the first day of presentations/discussions.

Creative Writing Piece Guidelines:

  • Your paper should be 5-7 pages in length (Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1 inch borders, double spaced).
  • Include a cover page (in addition to the 5-7 pages) stating the prompt to which you are responding, your paper's title, your name, and the date.



Stated Objective or PerformanceDescription of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery.Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery.Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.
Stated Objective or Performance    
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In completing "Speak Up," you have analyzed a novel and film from multiple perspectives. You incorporated information from the internet and classroom resources to research through your assigned role. You then used your creative faculties to develop a unique writing piece, which also involves the internalization of all four group "roles." Literature in general can be approached in a variety of ways (such a comparison with a movie, literary analysis, subject matter background, and historical context).


Next time you read a book, will you read it from the perspective of a character? Will you consider how literary critics may approach it?

Which character of Speak do you most resemble? Which would you most like to resemble?

Most importantly … Have you found YOUR voice?

Credits & References:

In-Class Materials:

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. USA: Penguin Group, 1999. Speak. Dir. Jessica Sharzer. Showtime Networks Inc. 2004.

Websites Used in the WebQuest:

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