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Middle Level Forensics

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Following are 2017-18 Middle Level topics for Special Occasion, Moments in History, and Extemporaneous Speaking. New topics will be posted September 15, following ratification at the fall Board of Control meeting.

Special Occasion

Select one occasion to develop a speech for:
  1. Present viewpoints to local school board on cuts to co-curricular/extracurricular activities.
  2. Address the student council about healthy cafeteria food choices in your school.
  3. Deliver a sales pitch for a new product or invention.
  4. Give a political victory or concession speech.
  5. Present a tribute to someone who has impacted your life.
  6. Present a video review to a three-member teacher panel who will make a selection of a video to be shown in your school’s auditorium.

Moments in History

  • Moments in History: 1801-1840 and/or 1930’s    (Select one or both of the time periods)

Extemporaneous Speaking Questions

This year’s questions focus on co-curricular/extracurricular activities.

  1. How does participation in forensic speech activities benefit middle level students?
  2. What time management strategies should students participating in school activities utilize?
  3. What leadership opportunities are offered in extracurricular activities, and how are they beneficial?
  4. How does participation in school activities enhance students’ social development?
  5. What should schools do to increase student involvement in extracurricular activities?
  6. Should middle level schools have a debate team? Why or why not?
  7. What new activity or club would you add to your school and why?
  8. How does participation in school activities enhance students’ self-esteem?
  9. How does participation in forensic speech activities benefit students after high school?

Contest Categories

Public Speaking

  • Demonstration Speech:  A demonstration speech explains how to do something or how something works. The speaker(s) must demonstrate a process using objects or physical activity. Visual aids (charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, pictures, etc.) are optional, and may be used to enhance the demonstration, but are not to take the place of objects or activity. The speech must be instructive and present valuable and significant information.
  • Eight-Minute Persuasive Speech: Life situations often result in the need to convince other people to believe differently than they do at present; to offer a solution to a problem common to the group; to take a particular action in response to a current situation; or maybe to reinforce and strengthen current attitudes.
  • Extemporaneous Speech: allows for the practice of the skills of research, organization and presentation of information on a question chosen by the student from a general area provided by the State Office (see above).  It is hoped that the student will do extensive research on the chosen topic area for use in the academic classroom for an oral report or a research paper.  Then, bringing all the information that has been gathered to the festival, the student will draw three questions about the topic, choose one and have thirty (30) minutes to prepare a speech which answers that question.
  • Four-Minute Informative  Speech:  allows for the sharing of knowledge and experience with an audience.  The main purpose of this informative speech is to secure a clear understanding of the ideas presented.  This category gives the opportunity for the participant to provide facts and ideas in an interesting and understandable fashion.
  • Moments in History Speech: The challenge to the speaker is to select a historical topic within the limits presented each year by WHSFA (see above).  The general focus for a speech is this category is an exploration in history.  Students may consider (but are not limited to) using the following areas of research: archival records, diaries, personal interviews, letters, newspapers, etc.
  • News Reporting: gives one to three students the opportunity to practice the skills for research, organization, analysis and presentation of information based on current events.  The student(s) will prepare and present a news program including news, weather, sports and an editorial.  Sources of information for this category may include newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
  • Special Occasion Speech: The challenge to the speaker is to write a speech appropriate to a specific occasion and its probable audience. It is possible that a speech may pursue more than one of the standard general purposes of informing, persuading, or entertaining.

Performance of Literature

  • Poetry Reading: All the skills of reading aloud, including vocal flexibility, inflectional variety, clear articulation, correct pronunciation, as well as the use of pause and rate variation can be practiced through participation in this category.  In addition, the student should remember that in poetry, more than in any other type of literature, the emotional weight of the content and the importance of image, rhythm and sound are directly related.
  • Prose Reading:  Oral interpretation has been defined as “the effective communication of thoughts or feelings of the author to the listener.”  Careful study of the written word is necessary for the interpreter to give special attention to the author’s meanings.  However, the interpretive reader should not memorize the selection.  The printed word is the source from which the reader should draw meaning to share with the audience.
  • Non-Original Oratory: A presentation in this category should be a persuasive speech that seeks to influence the beliefs and feelings of the listeners.  The speech must have originally been written and delivered by some person other than the participant.  The speech may be presented from memory or it may be read from a manuscript.
  • Play Acting: Lines are to be spoken from memory and 2-7 participants are expected to move, as they would in a fully produced play. The goal of this category is to provide a group of students with the opportunity of working together for a presentation using their voices and bodies to suggest the intellectual, emotional and sensory experiences inherent in the dramatic material they have chosen.
  • Readers Theatre: The goal of this category is to provide a group of 2-7 participants with the opportunity of working together for a presentation using their voices to suggest the intellectual, emotional and sensory experiences inherent in the material they have chosen.
  • Solo Acting: Participation in this category provides a student with the opportunity of using voice, gesture and facial expression to convey understanding and the emotional, intellectual and sensory experiences that are a part of the chosen selection.  To tell a story through pantomime is also acceptable in this category.  The material may be either original or non-original in content and may include impersonations from television, records or tape recordings.
  • Storytelling: The art of storytelling is older than reading.  Whether it is a story told in the hallways, an incident shared on the bus ride to a speech festival or a retelling of last night’s TV special to a friend who missed it, students gain confidence and poise when the response to what is said is favorable.

Full rules can be found in the  Middle Level Handbook (2017-18)