Level 1 Local School Speech Contest Planner

Introducing the Contest to the Students

As  Students Begin Writing

  • Distribute the reproducible Writing Your Speech, which utilizes mind mapping and features a reverse-order method of speechwriting. 

Once Students Write Their Speeches

  • Before students begin memorizing their speeches, distribute the reproducible Memorizing Your Speech. 
  • Time the completed speeches as soon as possible. Don't suggest they speak slowly while they're being timed. People tend to speak faster when nervous, and, since speeches must be a minimum of three minutes, you'll want to ensure their speeches are long enough. If a student relies on an outline on notecards, his or her speech may take less time than reading a script word for word. 
  • The Tongue Twisters reproducible offers a fun way to improve enunciation.
  • You may want to pair up students to prompt each other, critique each other's speeches and time the speeches.
  • Students learn delivery techniques from the Delivering Your Speech reproducible.
  • If possible, record the students' speeches. Ask each student to bring a blank DVD. After recording, the students may watch the DVDs with their partners, using the reproducible Improving Your Speech to direct their viewing.
  • Two evaluative reproducibles are available: Student Speech Rubric and Speech Critique.
  • The reproducible Countdown to Contest Day helps students prepare physically and mentally for the contest.

Before the Contest

  • Read through the Level 1 Local School Speech Contest rules. If you have questions, please call Modern Woodmen's Fraternal Department at 800-322-9805 or email fraternal@modern-woodmen.org.
  • Line up three judges and a timer, plus one or two alternates in case of a last-minute emergency. Find judges who are trustworthy, fair and impartial. Modern Woodmen suggests local members of Toastmasters International; newspaper, radio, TV or theater personalities; teachers, principals and superintendents; civic leaders; college faculty or college students in speech. High school students, individuals who know contestants personally and Modern Woodmen representatives are not recommended judges. The contest must be conducted with no less than three judges.
  • Give each of the three judges copies of the Judges' Rules and Judges' Rating Sheet at least one week before the contest. This will allow them time to review the rules, penalty points and topic guidelines. At this time, notify the judges if notes can be used.
  • Make copies of the reproducible page, Program Template, for members of the audience.
  • If you need an emcee for your contest, please consider contacting a local Modern Woodmen representative. Click here for help finding a representative in your area. Modern Woodmen provides an emcee script
  • Make sure the trophies, awards and other necessary materials are at the contest site. To view all trophies and awards, click here
  • The day of the contest, arrange to meet with the judges, emcee and timer ahead of time to ensure they understand their roles and have no questions. Provide them with the appropriate paperwork (Timing Sheet, Emcee Script, Judges' Rules and Judges' Rating Sheets). Modern Woodmen provides an appreciation gift for each of the three judges, timer and contest organizer. Pencils are provided for judges and timer.  

After the Contest

  • Once the winners have been announced, destroy the completed Judges' Rating Sheets to ensure confidentiality.
  • Complete a Report of Winners form and send it to fraternal@modern-woodmen.org as soon as possible. On the form, you will provide the list of winners and whether you want an engraved plate for the school plaque. The engraved plate will be sent to the contest organizer.
  • Create positive awareness of your school by inviting representatives from local media outlets to the contest and submitting a media release available from Modern Woodmen.