Week 14

Warm up impromptu quotation: A positive attitude can really make dreams come true. – David Bailey

Lesson of the Week: Original Oratory
I. There are five steps to this style of original oratory: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. This week, we will focus on need and satisfaction.
II. Need: work to make the audience feel a need (problem)
III. Satisfaction: satisfy the need / problem you told the audience in the previous step (solution)

The outline for original oratory can be found HERE.

1. Come up with one problem and one solution. Bring it to class.
2. Add one example to your impromptu notebook.

Week 13

Warm up impromptu quotation: Dig the well before you are thirsty. – Chinese Proverb

Lesson of the Week: How to Block
I. Read through your script many times
II. Wherever your script calls for blocking, do that
III. Get creative and think of where else you can add blocking

1. Memorize your script & intro and add blocking to it.
2. Practice your tournament events.
3. Fill out this survey: https://csulb.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cTsldwIM5jeN0PP

Week 12 (Westminster, Fullerton, & Thousand Oaks)

Warm up impromptu quotation: The past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it. – Rafiki, The Lion King

Lesson of the Week: How to Memorize
I. Get your script.
II. Cut it down.
i. You want to make sure your speech is cut down to the correct word count so
that you don’t have to memorize more than you need to.
ii. For tips on cutting, refer to last week’s notes.
III. Get to know your story – first level.
i. Familiarize yourself with your script so that you can tell the general story.
ii. Ex. What happens first? Then what happens? How does the story end? Who
are the main characters?
IV. Get to know your script – second level.
i. Learn more about the details.
ii. Memorize the specific, minor, parts of the story.
V. Memorize it word for word – third level.
i. Now that you have fully familiarized yourself with your story and script, its
time to get super specific.
ii. Memorize it word for word, in order.
iii. Test yourself, if you get the words wrong, go from the very beginning and
start again. Do this until your script is memorized.

1. Memorize your script.
2. Practice your tournament events.
3. Fill out this survey: https://csulb.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cTsldwIM5jeN0PP

Week 11

Warm up impromptu quotation: Fall down seven times, stand up eight. – Chinese Proverb

Lesson of the Week: How to Cut a Script
To make sure your interp script is within the time limit, it needs to be cut to a certain word count (see week 10). To do that:
1. Type out the script on a document so it is easy to edit
2. Map out the main parts of the story according to the storytelling arc
3. Look at each part of the story and then delete any parts that seem insignificant and then delete any unnecessary words.
4. Focus on making the story simple.


1. Write the intro for your piece. Refer to student manual page 26 (little kids) and page 27 (big kids) for help writing an intro. Print out the intro and bring it to class.
2. Cut and memorize your script.
3. Make account on ModernBrain website.
4. Fill out this survey: https://csulb.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cTsldwIM5jeN0PP

Week 10

Warm up impromptu quotation: Don’t just read the easy stuff. You may be entertained by it, but you will never grow from it. - Jim Rohn.

Lesson of the Week: Interpretation of Literature (aka “Interps”)
Interps are speeches where students find a script of a story, memorize it, and act it out. There are 4 different types of interps: HI, DI, Duo, and Dec.
1. HI - Humorous Interpretation
a. Funny performance,tells a story, typically several characters.
b. The script comes from a funny children’s story
c. Must be cut down to word limit (950 for elementary, 1100 for
middle and high school)
2. DI - Dramatic Interpretation
a. Dramatic performance, tells a story, usually just 1-2 characters
b. Script comes from a play
c. Must be cut down to word limit (950 for elementary, 1100 for
middle and high school)
3. Duo - Duo Interpretation *TWO PERFORMERS*
a. Dramatic or funny, usually funny, tells a story, multiple
b. Script can come from a play / skit / story book
c. Must be cut down to word limit (950 for elementary, 1100 for
middle and high school)
4. Dec - Declamation
a. A motivational speech that someone has already given
b. Script can be found online, TedTalks work great
c. Must be cut down to word limit (950 for elementary, 1100 for
middle and high school)

1. Bring a script for you to perform next class (must be in word count)
2. Think of a possible intro theme for your script (for instructions on what an intro is and how to write one, look at pages 28 & 29 in your binders).

Week 9

Warm up impromptu quotation: A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart. – Zeus, Hercules (the movie)

Lesson of the Week: Presenting with a Notecard
Business Plan Pitches should either be memorized or can be presented with ONE 3x5 notecard. Here are some tips for presenting with a notecard:
1. Don’t write out the whole speech, and don’t write full sentences. Use keywords to remind you what you need to say.
2. Use the outline of your speech as a guide for the notecard.
3. Don’t forget to add in points for transitions to show your audience you’re moving to the next part of your speech.
4. Mention where your visual aids will be used on the notecard so you can remember
5. Practice with your notecard so you can get used to using it.

1. Practice your pitch using the notecard - you will be presenting your full pitch in class next week, so finish it if you haven’t.
2. Finish your visual aid and bring it to class.

Week 8

Warm up impromptu quotation: Why fit in when you were born to stand out? – Dr. Seuss

Lesson of the Week: Visual Aids
How to create visual aids for business plan pitch - you can make them either in PowerPoint or on a poster board/tri-fold board.
1. Make sure your visual aid is relevant
2. Make sure your visual aid is easy to understand
3. Make it look good
4. Practice with your visual aids

1. Finish the pitch outline, print it out, bring it to class.
2. Start on a visual aid (presentation or poster board) and bring progress to class.
3. Bring laptop or iPad to class next week to work on visual aids. (phones won’t work)

Week 7

Warm up impromptu quotation: If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou

Lesson of the Week: Business Plan Pitch
-The point is to have students come up with an idea for a new product/service and to be able to explain it as if they are pitching it to investors, Shark Tank style
1. Hook - explain the problem that your product/service solves
2. Introduce the product/service and explain it
3. Explain your target market - who is the product/service for?
4. Explain the pricing of your product/service
5. Highlight your competitors in the market
6. Tell us where your product will be sold
7. Close (ask the customer to buy)

1. 6 complete impromptu examples in notebook. (if they already have 6 examples, they may add more, but it’s not necessary)
2. Elementary school: come up with pitch idea or use existing idea and complete the first 3 parts of the outline (hook, the product, and the target market). Email jasmin@modernbrain.com for questions.
3. Middle/High school: come up with pitch idea or use existing idea and fill out the full outline with bullet points. Email jasmin@modernbrain.com for questions.

Week 6

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. – Barack Obama

Lesson of the Week: Speaking with Eloquence
1. Research so you are fully prepared
2. Practice your cases
3. Make good eye contact
4. Speak with confidence and conviction

Congress Debate Practice Resolution: Junk Food should be banned from all schools.

1. 1 impromptu example in notebook (they should have at least 6 by next week, if they don’t have 6 by next week, they need to catch up)
2.Think of a product or service that fulfills a need in the world or community and write a summary of it / bring to class.

Week 5

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: Each person must live their life as a model for others. – Rosa Parks

Lesson of the Week: How to Research
1. Gain basic knowledge
2. Figure out your own argument/stance
3. Evaluate sources and make sure they are credible - use the CRAAP test:

Congress Debate Practice Resolution: Public schools should be graded on a pass / no pass basis.

1. 1 impromptu example in notebook
2. Build an argument with evidence for the topic: Junk food should be banned from all schools.
-Students may pick aff or neg to argue. They need to have at least two sources that pass the CRAAP test.

Week 4

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” – Joan W. Donaldson

Lesson of the Week: Argumentation/Congress debate
Congress Structure is on pg. 28 of the ModernBrain binder. Kids read through the outline and discussed.
How to Build an Argument:
1. Claim (thesis/the big idea of your argument)
2. Warrant (evidence/reasoning to defend your claim)
3. Impact (Significance/why your argument matters)

1. 1 impromptu example on the worksheet
2. Memorize storytelling script and introduction
3. 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

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” – Joan W. Donaldson

Lesson of the Week: How to Block and Perform with Emotion
How to Perform with Emotion:
1. Read the script many times
2. Separate the script into large sections by the different overarching emotions
3. Think of how you can connect to the character
4. Consider the character’s needs
5. Remember to keep your volume under control

How to Block:
1. Read the script many times
2. After you understand the emotions of the script, consider the various motivations.
3. Wherever the script calls for blocking, do it.
4. Does your character reach for something in the script? Reach for something when you are performing. Does your character nod in the script? Nod when you are performing.
5. Sometimes we think blocking is a big song and dance type of performance, but oftentimes, the best performances and the best blocking can be very subtle and already in the script!
6. The first step to actual blocking is to first follow the script.
7. Think of where else you can add.
8. Now that you have followed the script, you can add blocking that will heighten your script.
9. Use your creativity and don’t hold back! There is not much direction here other than to commit to your choices and to make sure to show a coach what you’ve come up with.

1. 1 impromptu example in notebook
2. Memorize intros and finished memorizing pieces going to tournament.
3. Practice your tournament speeches and upload one video of each speech online.
-They have to sign up for an account first, they need to use their real name.

Week 2

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: “Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.” – Jake, Adventure Time

Lesson of the Week: How to Write an Intro
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.
6. Title and author.

Middle/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.

1. 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.

Week 1

Warm up Impromptu Quotation: “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Impromptu Structure: Refer to your binder on page 8 and page 9.
Please click here to review impromptu structure

Lesson of the Week: Intro to Storytelling
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.

Finding a script:
-Go to a children’s library or find children’s books in your house and type up your favorite script
-Search children’s stories online
-Look for simple myths, fairy tales, and folklore
-Word count: about 650 words

1. 2 impromptu examples, write in your impromptu example worksheets in the binder starting 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
-Put it in a Google Doc and share with Coach Jasmin (jasmin@modernbrain.com)


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.

Suggestions/Examples of 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.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) 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.

First Name *
First Name
Last Name
Last Name