CHESTER COUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT
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Chester County Intermediate Unit

Middle School Forensics Tournament

Forensics, in the formal sense of the word, refers to public debates or formal argumentation suitable for a court of law.

For our purposes, Forensics at the middle school level provides an opportunity for students to be involved in various forms of public speaking. Debate, oral interpretation, original oratory, discussion, and extemporaneous speaking are included in the competition.

In addition to the enhancement of public speaking skills, students sharpen their research skills, writing skills, and their ability to work in cooperation with others through discussion and debate.

The ultimate intent of Forensic events is to provide students with an opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to communicate ideas and points of view.

The tournament is open to all students attending a participating Chester County middle school.

The 2016 Middle School Forensics Tournament will be held as follows:

Saturday, May 14, 2016
Technical College High School Brandywine Campus
443 West Boot Road
Downingtown, PA 19335


2015 Forensics Tournament Award Winners

For more information, please contact Eileen Weaver.

 
 
Guidelines Prepared or Original Speech
  1. The speech can be informative or persuasive. Informative speeches tell people about something or provide them information. Persuasive speeches attempt to change one's opinion. Students need not be concerned about fine distinctions between the two categories and they will not be penalized if their speeches are a combination of the two categories.
  2. Speeches should be 5 to 7 minutes in duration. Five (5) points will be deducted if the speech is shorter than four (4) minutes or longer than eight (8) minutes.
  3. Students may utilize a reference card or outline as they deliver their speech. The cards or outlines must not contain more than 40 words. Students may read quotes from their references or outline; written quotes must be limited to 100 words. Students are required to show their reference card / outline to the judges.
  4. Students should incorporate a short introduction (approximately 10 seconds) into their speech. There should be no introduction distinct from the prepared speech itself.
  5. Students may prepare a speech about any subject dealing with the general topic selected for the competition.
  6. Each student will identify themselves by their name only before they give their speech.


Extemporaneous Speech

 

  1. Seven broad topics will be identified.
  2. On the day of the event, a student will select three topics "from a hat". Each student will select from the total pool of seven topics.
  3. The student will then select one of these three topics as the subject of his/her extemporaneous speech.
  4. The student will have fifteen (15) to twenty (20) minutes to prepare his/her speech. Students are encouraged to bring whatever references they want for review.
  5. The speech must be 2 to 4-1/2 minutes in duration. Five (5) points will be deducted if the speech is shorter than one and a half (1-1/2) minutes or longer than five (5) minutes.
  6. Students should incorporate an introduction of their topic into their speech.
  7. As with prepared speeches, students can prepare a reference card or outline of up to 40 words. Students will also be able to have written quotes of up to 100 words. Students are required to share their reference card with the judges.
  8. Students will not be able to hear other extemporaneous speeches before they have given their speeches. Students will be scheduled to give two speeches. An audience of students and visitors may hear the extemporaneous speeches, however.
  9. Students will identify themselves by their name only before they give their speech.
  10. Students may organize or frame the topic they select in any manner they choose.


Prose Reading

 

  1. The selections must be from a printed or visually produced piece of material.
  2. The students must be able to provide the title of the poem/prose, its author, publisher and page numbers.
  3. Prose is anything that is not a poem or a speech. Examples of prose are magazine articles, proclamations, novels, short stories, narratives, newspaper articles, plays, lyrics, etc.
  4. Students must provide a short introduction (15 to 20 sec.) specifying:
  • why they selected the piece
  • something about the piece
  • the author and title
  • source from which it came
This introduction is considered part of the speech delivery time.
  1. The student gives a reading of the prose/poetry. He or she must have a script from which they may either read verbatim or only refer to periodically. (Some type of eye contact with the audience would be judged positively)
  2. The selection can be an abridged version of a much larger piece. The student can cut a passage but there should be a bridging statement inserted for continuity.
  3. The presentation should be of 5 to 7 minutes in duration. Five (5) points will be deducted if the speech was shorter than four (4) minutes or longer than eight (8) minutes.
  4. Selections should deal with the broad theme selected for the competition.


Poetry Reading

 

  1. The selections of poetry must be from a printed or visually produced piece of material or an original piece of poetry.
  2. If the poem is not an original piece, the students must be able to provide the title of the poem, its author, publisher, and page numbers.
  3. Poetry refers to any type of poem.
  4. Students must provide a short introduction (15 to 20 sec.) specifying:
  • why they selected the piece
  • something about the piece
  • the author & title (if not an original piece)
  • source from which it came (if not an original piece)
This introduction is considered part of the speech delivery time.
  1. The student gives a reading of the poetry. He or she must have a script from which they may read verbatim or only refer to periodically. (Some type of eye contact with the audience would be judged positively.
  2. Poetry can consist of two or more poems which have a similar theme.
  3. The presentation should be of 5 to 7 minutes in duration. Five (5) points will be deducted if the speech was shorter than (4) minutes or longer than (8) minutes.
  4. Selections should deal with the broad theme selected for the competition.


Declamation
 

  1. This event deals with any "famous" or published speech, attributable to a fictional or non-fictional character. Autobiographical passages are not considered speeches.
  2. The presentation should be of 5 to 7 minutes in duration. Five (5) points will be deducted if the speech is shorter than four (4) minutes or longer than eight (8) minutes.
  3. Speeches within the declamation category should be memorized. Students may have a reference card or outline as they deliver their speech for reference, if needed.
  4. As with prose and poetry selections, the speeches can be cut or abridged, but there should be bridging statements to allow for continuity.
  5. Presentations may be speeches by real or fictional individuals.
  6. As with prepared speeches, students can prepare a reference card or outline of up to 40 words. Students will also be able to have written quotes of up to 100 words. Students are required to share their reference card with the judges.
  7. An introduction similar to that described under prose and poetry should be provided by the student. This introduction is considered part of the speech delivery time.
  8. The student should cite the title and author of the speech.
  9. Selections should deal with the broad theme selected for the competition.


Discussion Groups

 

  1. Discussion groups seek to agree, if possible, upon a solution to a problem that represents the consensus of the group. One comes to a discussion group with an open mind. Discussants may disagree, but the goal is to cooperate and reach a consensus. IN THIS RESPECT IT DIFFERS FROM DEBATES WHERE THE PARTICIPANTS HAVE ALREADY REACHED A CONCLUSION ON THE ISSUE.
  2. Participants should be willing to consider and appraise their own ideas as well as the ideas of the other group members in terms of sound evidence and logical argument as the discussion evolves.
  3. While the group is looking for a solution, many possibilities for a solution exist and all options should be considered. OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS ARE ENCOURAGED FOR REVIEW.
  4. In preparing for participation in discussion groups, students should have prepared a general outline concerning the issue as follows:
  • Define the problem and establish the limit of what the discussion should involve.
  • Analyze and evaluate the problem:
  • Describe the present situation...what's happening?
  • How serious is the problem?
  • What are the causes?
  • What can be done to improve the present situation:
  • What solutions have been tried before?
  • Were these solutions successful...why or why not?
  • What will happen if no action is taken?
  • What are the pros and cons of each possible solution?
  • How practical is each solution?
  • Can the group agree on a course of action:
  • What standards or goals are needed to judge if the agreed action is successful?
  • How should the agreed upon solution be implemented?
  1. Each participant should have a thorough knowledge of the subject to be discussed.
  2. Each member of the group should speak, but he or she must also be a good listener. The student needs to understand what the others are saying and be able to judge the value of what is being said. More specifically, each participant should be able to judge if:
  • The other speakers' remarks show the speakers have studied the issue.
  • The other speakers' remarks are biased or prejudiced.
  • The other speakers' remarks are based on fact...do they offer references to back up their remarks?
  • The other speakers' remarks are influencing the other group members.
  1. Students should participate in discussions when:
  • They have a constructive comment or suggestion to offer.
  • They can clarify a point made by someone else.
  • They can correct an error stated by someone else.
  • They can offer useful information.
  • They can ask a pertinent question.
  • They can inject humor to foster interaction.
  1. The best ways of participating in the group are:
  • Speaking in a direct, friendly, conversational manner.
  • Presenting one's point of view clearly, succinctly and fairly. REMEMBER THE AIM is to help the group think objectively and creatively in analyzing and solving the problem at hand.
  • Maintaining attitudes of open-mindedness and objectivity. Treat disagreement and criticism of your comments with an open mind.
  1. Each discussion group must have a leader who will:
  • Keep the discussion moving
  • Try to involve all group members
  • Try to keep the group from randomly jumping from point to point
  • Summarize comments made at the end of the discussion to bring it to closure.
  1. EACH DISCUSSION GROUP SHOULD DISCUSS THE PROBLEM FOR AT LEAST TWENTY (20) MINUTES AND NOT MORE THAN THIRTY (30) MINUTES.
  2. The problem that will be discussed in all groups will relate to the general theme of the competition.
  3. Students will be allowed to look at any notes they want during the group discussion. Pencil & paper may be brought to the discussion.
  4. Students will be randomly assigned to two different groups. Success will be determined by cumulative points for both discussions.
  5. Students should introduce themselves.


Team Debates
           Public Forum Instructions

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