Spring 2019 Homework Page

Week 4:

Warm up: Impromptu practice

What are we learning this week

Argumentation/ Congress debate


1 impromptu example on the worksheet

Memorize storytelling script and introduction

Build an argument for the following topic: Public school should be graded on a pass/no pass basis

Bring at least one source. You can choose to be affirmative or negative.

Week 3: Tournament Prep

If you are competing on February 3rd, do the following 2 things.

  1. Please follow this link to submit a video recording of all of your tournament speeches. For spar, perform the first affirmative speech on the topic “Candy should not be a reward for students” https://goo.gl/forms/ySfm67sn6wJ1tOcH3

  2. Sign up for online practice https://goo.gl/forms/QAsAlug2eW34BFog1

Week 2:

What did we do today in class?

1.Homework check, 2. Warm up Impromptus (pop quiz), 3. Student Perform storytelling, 4. Lesson of the week. 5. Application/practice . 6 Homework assignment

Lesson of the day: How to write an intro to your storytelling (Please see detailed instruction in your binder, page 26 and page 27)

Elementary School

  1. Introduce a quotation that relates to the theme or story line of your piece.

  2. How can we interpret this quotation?

  3. What does this quotation teach our society?

  4. How do these ideas relate to the story? Provide a brief summary of the piece, but don’t give too much away.

  5. Title and author.

Middle School and High School

  1. Introduce a theory or quotation that pertains to the theme of your piece. Advanced students should use a theory.

  2. What can we learn from this theory or quotation?

  3. A general statement as to why the issue in your piece is relevant to society.

  4. A brief summary of your piece, but don’t give too much away.

  5. Title and author.

Week 2 homework:

  1. impromptu example added to the impromptu notebook

  2. Memorize your storytelling script

  3. Finish writing introduction to your story, update it in the doc that should have been shared with jasmin@modernbrain.com, and

    bring a printed or written intro to class next week.

  4. Practice your tournament event for the 2/3 tournament.

Week 1

What did we do today in class?

  1. Introduction, 2. Student conduct. 3. Lesson of the day. 5. Application/practice. 6. Storytelling unit 1

    7. How to find a storytelling script, what is a good storytelling 6 Homework assignment

Lesson of the day

Warmup impromptu quotation: (Parent can use below quote to help your child to practice impromptu)

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Impromptu Structure: please refer to your binder on page 8 and page 9

Please click here to review impromptu structure

Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 2.03.05 PM.png

-What is a good storytelling?

Memorized, in time, good intro, dynamic vocal variety (pace, volume, pitch), dynamic facial

expressions (eyes, cheeks, eyebrows, mouth, the way they might form their words, emphasis), dynamic physicality (posture, blocking, stance), eye contact, projection, performability. - Word count? 650 words - Where can we find scripts? Online, but a great idea is to go home or to a children’s library and

type up your favorite story (or stories)

Week 1 homework:

1) 2 impromptu examples, write in impromptu example worksheet in the binder on page 38

2) Find a storytelling script, 650 words - Extremely descriptive language - Easy to understand - Meant to be a story for a young child -type in google doc, share with coach jasmin (jasmin@modernbrain.com)

3) optional, Wirte fiction or nonfiction writing based on the the Feb 3rd tournament topic.

First Name *
First Name
Last Name
Last Name


How to practice

It turns out, there is a best way to practice. According to research by Anders Ericsson, you should follow the three F's

  • Focus - Pay attention to the process. Don't worry about having a perfect speech. Pick one skill and work on it.

    • Examples: Time - Is the speech the full length? Organization - Did I have three clear points in my impromptu? Delivery - Was my voice loud enough?

  • Feedback - Find someone to get feedback from

    • Self assessment - Record yourself and watch the video, practice in a mirror

    • Coaches - Upload to us. We will provide expert feedback within a day

    • Friends and family - Practice in front of your mom, dad, brothers, or sisters. Force your friends to watch you.

  • Fix It - Listen to the feedback and focus deeply on correcting the one skill that your coach identifies as the most important to fix.


Impromptu Examples


1) The Hulk

Statement: Everyone feels anger and frustration, but how we deal with these feelings is what separates mature people from immature people

Elaboration: In other words, exercising self-control in times of anger is an important skill that people must learn in order to become well-adjusted adults

Example:  For example, the Incredible Hulk is usually a quiet and shy scientist.  However, when he gets upset, he cannot control himself.  He gets into a rage, and he becomes violent and destructive.  Until he can calm himself down, he is a danger to himself and everyone around him.

Illustration: The Incredible Hulk is like an exaggerated version of someone throwing a tantrum and being unable to control anger an emotions.  The creators of this character intentionally made him look like a baby with ripped clothes that resembles a diaper.  The character reminds us that lashing out in anger is an immature and dangerous behavior 

2) Donkey from the movie Shrek

Statement: True friends are hard to come by in life.  The ones that stick by you through thick and thin are the ones who really care

Elaboration: In other words, fake friends might be nice to you when times are happy, but real friends are nice to you when times are tough

Example: For example, Shrek is grumpy and wants to be alone.  Donkey is kind to Shrek even when Shrek is grumpy.  Donkey understands that Shrek is this way because people react negatively to him before they even get to know him.  Donkey wants to be Shrek’s friend regardless of what Shrek looks like.  When times are tough, Donkey stays by Shrek’s side and saves the day.  By the end of the movie Shrek realizes that Donkey has been a true and loyal friend, and they become joined at the hip.  They are forever buddies.

Illustration: Donkey and Shrek are like siblings growing up.  They fight, and they can be grumpy to each other.  But a lot of times your sibling is your first friend and your best friend.  When times are tough and fake friends aren’t there for you, your brothers and sisters will always have your back.

3) Dory from Finding Nemo

Statement: Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in one way or another, but the important thing is to keep trying and not let your limitations prevent you from reaching your goals

Elaboration: In other words, your limitation does not necessarily mean you will fail.  However, giving up is a guarantee for failure.

Example: For example, Dory from the movie Finding Nemo has short term memory loss. It made it difficult for her to complete a task or accomplish a goal.  Despite all this, Dory was always optimistic and she always kept trying.  The moment she finally found Nemo, she didn’t even realize she had accomplished her goal.  If Dory had given up earlier, she would have never made it to Nemo, even if it took her a few minutes to realized she succeeded.  At the end of the day, she was triumphant.

Illustration: The challenges that Dory faced in the movie is like the challenges people with disabilities face every day.  They can reach their goals despite their limitations, but it takes effort and a positive outlook.  Dory could have given up, but she kept trying to remember, and eventually she found Nemo and succeeded.



Impromptu Examples

Community Jobs / Offices

1. The media

Statement: The search for the truth is one of humanity’s greatest pursuits.  Those who make a career out of testing assumptions, theories, and claims are doing a great service for the community.

Elaboration: In other words, the community benefits from people who seek the truth because knowing is the first step to resolving a problem.

Example:  People in the media serve an important role in investigating issues that affect our lives.  If we know more about what the government, large companies, and foreign nation are doing, the more we are able to prevent these actors from hurting the community or abusing their power.

Illustration: The media’s service to the community is like what doctor’s do for patients.  Doctors gather information to figure out what disease a patient is suffering from.  Only after you have the correct diagnosis can you then pick the right combination of medication, therapy or surgery to make the patient healthy again.

2. Teachers

Statement: A healthy community has productive workers and a population that can live in harmony.

Elaboration: In other words, an investment in teachers is an investment in the future health of a community because teachers give students skills to work and skills to cooperate with others.

Example: Students learn from teachers how to read and how to do math.  They also learn critical thinking skills needed to solve problems and challenges. All of these things are important to succeed in any job.  Teachers help establish good morals and encourage sharing, waiting patiently, and helping others.  People aren’t born with the skills necessary to function in modern society, and without good teachers, we would have a dysfunctional society.

Illustration: Teachers are like community gardeners who tend, water, and nurture baby plants so they will bear fruit that the entire community can enjoy.  Teachers help young people grow so that the community can benefit in the future.

3. Park Rangers

Statement: There are many types of community resources, and each needs a caretaker to protect it.

Elaboration: In other words, if a resource is important, we need people whose job it is to make sure the community uses the resource without destroying it.

Example:  National Parks are not just any community resource – they are so valuable that they are often called National Treasures.  The parks provide space for activities and adventures.  They have forests that give us oxygen, and they have lakes and rivers that give us water.  Park Rangers are needed to make sure fire safety rules are followed, wild animals are not fed, and fragile habitats are protected. 

Illustration: Park Rangers are like parents at a petting zoo.  Children love to play with rabbits and goats, but children can also be too rough with petting.  Sometimes the parents have to step in and set ground rules so kids are gentle and do not hurt the very thing they love so much.




The Knowledge

Where you can find all of the elements of speech and debate that we have been working on.

We've talked about two models of how to create an argument.

The models are:


  1. Assertion - Your claim or opinion. What you are trying to prove.

  2. Reasoning - What makes your claim likely to be true? Why should we believe it? Add more detail. What reasons you have for your opinion?

  3. Evidence

    • Research - Find a study conducted by a university

    • Expert opinion - Can you find a newspaper article where an expert says what they believe?

    • Example - If you can't find research or experts, give an example from your own memory

  4. Significance - Why is this argument so important? Why should we be listening to you? Why should we care?

  5. Result - What is the final consequence, impact, or effect?


  1. Statement - Your claim or opinion, what you are trying to prove.

  2. Elaboration - Always start this with "In other words..." Add more detail. Say some thing similar to your statement but from a different perspective. Keep building your argument by giving layers of detail.

  3. Example - Always start this section with "for example..." Provide a concrete example from the world that shows or demonstrates that what you are saying is true.

  4. Illustration - Start with "is like...." This is the last part but a very important part. Use simile, metaphor, or analogy to help your audience paint a picture in their mind. For example: "An argument is like a key that unlocks the door to the greatest treasure, your future"


How to take notes in debate

What is a Criterion?

Knowledge base for impromptu

We will be posting potential examples for impromptu created by students and coaches. Memorize them. Be able to speak for one minute on each topic. We will post a few new examples everyday

1. The most important invention in your lifetime

Statement: The smartphone is the invention with the greatest impact on the world today

Elaboration: In other words, smartphones have become way more than just a way to communicate with people far away.  It is almost a necessity.

Example:  For example, smart phones have completely changed the way we get our entertainment, the way we get our news, the way we buy things, the way we navigate the roads, and many other things.  Smartphones don’t just impact rich Western countries.  In some poorer countries where computers, technology, and television are not readily available, smart phones are the easiest way for people to access all the knowledge and resources available on the internet.

Illustration: The smartphone is like a gateway to the modern world.  People can use their smartphones for hours and hours everyday because you can do so much with them.  No other invention or device has had a bigger impact on the world than the smart phone.




2. Increased use of robots will benefit society

Statement: Artificial intelligence is actually a threat to humans

Elaboration: In other words, robots are powerful and efficient, and they already threaten our jobs. As robots become smarter, they will threaten our lives.

Example: For example, the use of robots in car manufacturing has led to thousands of lost jobs. Taxi drivers are all about to go out of business because of self-driving cars. Robots such as drones carry weapons and missiles that can destroy an entire city in an instant. What happens if these robots malfunction? What happens when these robots think for themselves and decide humans are the enemy? We have no answers, and that is the scariest part.


Illustration: Artificial intelligence is like a genie in a bottle. It has great potential do good things for people, but if something goes wrong, we cannot control it or put the genie back in the bottle.