Friday, February 5, 2010



The middle school forensics coach (a 7th grade teacher) asked me to travel along with the team of boys to help with judging and chaperoning. I'm a sucker for kids and speech so I rode off in the mini-bus with principal playing chauffeur and 13 boys. Many of the boys were participating in demonstration speeches, infomercials, prose, story telling, and poetry. Next week I may stop by the school a few times after school to listen to them practice and share any helpful ideas I might be able to share. But back to the forensics meet tonight...

I was assigned to judge an infomercial section. One or two kids create and present their very own advertisement; they can use props, poster board, and costume to 'sell' the product. I saw wish tokens, house deodorisers, diet water (with lots of side effects), ear muffs to keep out any annoying voices, and energy drinks sold by students pretending to be John Travolta and Brad Paisley. It was an interesting division that we don't have back home and offered allot of entertainment; a few painful moments that happens with any speech contest, but a good time overall. Later, I was tracked down to time for the impromptu speeches. Strange that the judge couldn't time and judge, but I can accept the rules and sat through MANY short speeches counting down the two minutes of prep. time in 30 second segments and then counting up their speech time and showed kiddos their time in one minute segments.

I hope the boys continue to try the forensic activity and work on their speech making and giving. It was a bit overwhelming when the boys realized that some of the students at the contest were VERY prepared; they had their speeches memorized with gestures and practiced intonation and the whole bit. However, if they keep practicing and working on their categories, the guys could do really well. They have a similar energy that I associate with Calvin's creative approach to classroom assignments.


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