Analyzing Your Ballots From a Speech and Debate Tournament

Sometimes it is hard to read ballots, especially at 11 pm after a long awards ceremony. Ballots can be confusing or just hard to stomach. But ballots are still an invaluable resource to have from your judges. Be sure to open your envelope with an open mind, ready to hear what your judges have to say.

In this post we will be discussing some strategies of how to go over your ballots instead of tossing them or letting them collect dust. According to one of our Lasting Impact! interns...  "I go through my speech ballots with my three step system, especially when I plan on enhancing it throughout the season with the goal of succeeding to Regionals, and perhaps on to Nationals."

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The Mindset of an Extemporaneous Speaker

There are many tips, tricks, and strategies for improving as an extemporaneous speaker. But how can one address minute changes unless the overall mindset is correct? In this article I will attempt to provide some important tips and strategies for improving as an extemp speaker. But more than anything, I want to challenge you to check your mindset about extemp and allow that to influence all the details of your speeches. I will simply encourage you to be more than a reporter in your extemp speeches. Take it up to the next level; be an analyst. So, what does being an analyst mean in this context?

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Prepared and Invested in Speech and Debate

Have you had your first tournament yet?  We have.  In my region, we had some young competitors who launched right to the top of the field at this first competition of the year.  I spoke to one of the dads and asked if it was a surprise to his family that his daughter broke in multiple events - including debate - while two older, more seasoned brothers did not.  He answered, "Not to me."

"Really?" I replied.

"No.  She's been working on her speeches since last June.  The boys were still putting theirs together on the way here."

That situation is NOT uncommon.  But I can assure you that all that effort spent getting ready for the first tournament scored some BIG at-large points or check marks for those competitors that came prepared and invested in their material.

So is it too late for that?  Absolutely not...

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Comedy v. Tragedy – Open to Interpretation

"Woe!  Woe to me!  I have to do my funny piece after a tragedy!?"

I hear it all the time.... Students doing dramatic material bemoan the fact that funny wins.  Students doing funny material hate walking into a room where judges are wiping away tears.  If Dramatic Interpretation and Humorous Interpretation are separated into different rooms, the conflict doesn't occur, but I maintain that there is room for every place on the emotional spectrum in Open Interpretation...

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Practicing your Speeches… Ideas for Purposeful Practice

My husband is a high school boys soccer coach. He has been coaching for over 20 years. Though out his years coaching, he teaches his players about the importance of how they practice. They must approach a practice as if it is just as important as a game. The same is true for Speech and Debate...

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Oh Oh (OO)! What is an Original Oratory?

Many families new to competitive speech have asked, "What is Original Oratory?"  Multiple leagues have OO as a category, and it is a popular choice! Many families seasoned in competitive speech have wondered what on earth to do with/in/for that speech category since it isn't persuasive, biographical, or illustrated.  Everyone is trying to figure out the formula as we approach those first tournaments...

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Sure-tested Ways to Memorizing Speeches

Recently, at Club, I gave the assignment to my returning kids to have them come up with their favorite way to memorize speeches. Everyone who has participated in speech and debate for more than a year or so, has their own particular way they prefer to memorize. I was amazed by the variety of responses! Some kids are able to memorize quite quickly. Others may struggle.

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Drama, Drama, Drama!

I believe the strength of your speech can be linked to the strength of your script (what you have created for competition). However a Dramatic Interpretation is far more involved and has much more depth to be based on script alone. For a great Dramatic Interpretation or a dramatic Open, Duo, or even Original Interpretation to be created, there must be rich content from which to grow. When looking for a script, piece of literature, or play there are several considerations to think about:

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Tips on Evaluating Speeches During Club Time

A majority of Speech and Debate Clubs use part of their club time to evaluate or give feedback to their speech students. New students and parents often don't feel qualified to give feedback. However club time is the perfect time to give speeches and have them evaluated. This is an excellent teaching opportunity for students - on what speeches should look like, and parents, how to be better judges.

Below is a list/form, club leader, Amy Willson, of Fox Valley Talk in Appleton, WI created to help the process of giving and receiving feedback. The club created a laminated copy/sheet for the room leader to have. The goals for the feedback session may vary from club to club- some include: helping younger students or new parents to give an assessment of speeches, for the speaker to receive quality feedback, keeping the room moving to get through the allotted speeches in any given day.

We are in the process of creating this information in our new resources page for club leaders, as well as families, to use. Be sure to check out the Lasting Impact! Library Coming Soon! We will offer a variety documents for club leaders, students, coaches, etc. FREE for members of Lasting Impact! If you are a club leader that would like to share your documents with other members- let us know! We would love to include your resources in The Lasting Impact! Library. We hope to have the library up and running by the end of the year!

Tips For Evaluating Speech Students During Club Time...

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Interpretive Speech – Bringing Literature to Life – How? (Part 2)

Last time we discussed Interpretive Speech, as well as WHY it's important. Today we will discuss HOW to bring interpretive speeches to life!

So HOW do you get there?

The art of interpretation doesn't just magically happen. There are a few key things you must have to be able to put your piece together.

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