Categories & Topics

Middle Level Forensics

Handbook & Recent Rules Changes

No rules changes were made for this season, however, free online adjudicator (judge) training will be available in December! Please review changes for the past two school years, just to refresh your memory! laughing

Full rules can be found in the  Middle Level Handbook.

2018-19 Changes

  1. matching outfitsSpecified all WHSFA events are open to the public. Interscholastic contests are open to spectators; central to the educational objective of fostering public speaking involves audiences.
  2. A general meeting with adjudicators is required before all Level 1 and 2 festivals.
  3. Clarified that note cards or paper notes may be used, but are subject to evaluation.
  4. Changed Four-Minute Speech to Informative Speech and Eight-Minute to Persuasive Speech.
  5. Added allowance for visual supporting materials in Informative and Persuasive Speech, and added evaluation question for all speeches allowing visual aids that the speaker actively used them well to illustrate.
  6. Play Acting and Readers Theatre changed to a 10-minute time limit.
  7. Specify rule with costuming for Group Interpretive Reading and Play Acting: “merely dressing alike or coordinated outfits is not considered costuming” (see photo, above and to the right)
  8. Substitution rules (p. 5, #3) clarified (allows for any eligible student to substitute for an absent group member).

2017-18 Changes

Coach note:  Middle level advisors who also coach high school should use the same email address in SpeechWire when registering for contests. Include middle and high school students on the Team roster, in Your account (denote middle level students with high school graduation years).

Festival hosts/managers:

  • SpeechWire is free for taking online registration, scheduling rounds, and for tabulating results for WHSFA Level 1 and Level 2 contests; apply through the state office.
  • All schools participating in Level 1 or 2 contests must be current in WHSFA dues before the office will reimburse contest expenses. We will provide hosts/managers with a list of membership status.
  • The post-festival participation/reimbursement form must be completed online, <-- click link, or within SpeechWire.

Online Winter-Spring Season

WHSFA is  working in concert with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, as well as DPI, WIAA, NFHS, and similar organizations. All 2020-21 contests will be online. While this should not impact contestants in solo/individual categories, for group categories, coaches are encouraged to select versatile material for group categories, which allows for recording of videoconference performance or that may allow for physical distancing in-person with students wearing masks. By early November WHSFA will release more detailed guidance.

2019-20 Middle Level Speech Topics

Moments in History

1900-1909 and/or 2000-2009
(select one or both time periods)

Students may consider, but are not limited to these topic areas:  Politics or Military Action, Historical Sites/Monuments, Natural Disasters, Ethnology/Legends/Folklore, Science/Inventions/Medicine, Arts and Entertainment, Geography, Transportation, Sports, Religion, Heroes or Villains, Personalities, Significant Speech, Fashion and Fads.

Special Occasion

Select one occasion to develop a speech for:

  • Opening argument for a trial
  • A speech to decline an award
  • End of the year banquet speech
  • Press conference to announce product recall
  • Pitch to school board on a topic important to middle level students
  • Speech explaining standards of a new dress code
  • Speech urging equity in funding both arts and athletics

Extemporaneous Speech

This year’s questions focus on safety, health, and wellness.

  • How can schools raise awareness and understanding of depression?
  • What can schools do to decrease the amount of anxiety students face?
  • What should communities do to treat individuals addicted to opioid drugs?
  • How can schools make mental health services more accessible to students?
  • How dangerous is vaping?
  • Why are dress codes implemented in schools, and how effective are they?
  • What can communities do to support locally-sourced foods?
  • What should be done to better protect teens and preteens from harm online?
  • What strategies should schools implement for more physical activity and exercise?
  • What are the greatest threats to school safety, and what is being done to protect students against those threats?
  • What impacts do global climate change have on public health?
  • Why or why not should states and schools require vaccinations?

Contest Categories

Public Speaking

Students write original speeches, and may use notes to outline or include speaking points, but not word-for-word manuscripts (to help students engage directly with audiences). Key to symbols: = allowed | 🚫 = prohibited

Performance of Literature

Contestants interpret literature to convey the human existence, exploring psychology of characters, to mine the artistry of language, and/or cultivate arguments surrounding themes/issues.  Key to symbols 📖 = presented from manuscript | 🧠 = memorized