Speech/Debate I

    Academic Year 2020-2021

    Teacher Name                                                                                      Contact Informatio

    Mrs. Darlene M. Jennings                                                                       (850) 245-3700; 




    Course Description:

    Welcome to Speech/Debate! This class is a one-term course offered to expose students to various types of public speaking, ranging from informal to formal speaking activities. Students will also explore how language skills impact daily life and career opportunities.


     Course Objectives:

    Students will be required to do original research, write prepared speeches, participate in impromptu speeches and deliver speeches according to a prescribed format.  Dramatic arts, mock congress, and debate will also be integrated into the course.

              Students will use formal outlines in arranging material for presentation.

              Students will synthesize primary source material into personal presentations.

              Students will learn to adapt their performance skills for a variety of audiences and purposes.


     Major Projects:

    •   Special occasion speech
    •   Oral Interpretation
    •   Speech to inform or inspire
    •   Speech to persuade
    •   Mock Congress/writing bills and resolutions
    • · Debate
    •  Tropicana Public Speaking Contest



     Class Materials:

    Please bring the following items to class each day: 

    •  The common binder for sixth grade; spiral notebook
    •   Loose-leaf notebook paper
    •   Note cards and sticky notes
    •   Blue or black ink pens
    •   Manuscript (A small, three-ring binder. I will let you know when to purchase this item).
    •   One foam-backed poster board (used during Creative Writing, second term)



     Class Rules/Class Procedures:

    All students are expected to follow the FSUS Code of Conduct and the consequences for any unacceptable behavior will be given as outlined in that Code.  In addition, FSUS Middle School utilizes the Nole Note system in order to promote student ownership in behavior monitoring. Nole Notes are written for minor infractions and incremental consequences are outlined on the FSUS Middle School website. The goal of the Nole Note Behavior system is to reduce undesired behavior, in turn, minimizing the amount of behavioral referrals.  Our specific class rules mirror the expectations of the FSUS Code of Conduct and are as follows:


    Class Expectations - FSUS students have a right to learn in a safe and respectful environment.  All students will be expected to adhere to attendance and behavior expectations in our FSUS Code of Conduct.  Please see our website for more information.  Specific rules for this class are as follows:


    Classroom Rules-

    • We show up on time and ready to learn 
    • We treat others with respect so they know how to treat us
    • We work hard and do our best
    • We respect materials and property
    • We give our best effort




    Google Classroom--Google Classroom will be used frequently as a part of our class work. It is important that you join Google Classroom. If you are uncertain how to navigate Google Classroom, or you are new to this device, a parent tutorial is posted to the school’s website:



     Google Classroom join code: Please go to FOCUS to retrieve Google Classroom and Zoom codes.

    1st period:                       5th period: 



    Classroom Policies and Procedures

    Cell Phones/Wireless Devices - You must not photograph, audio, or video record adults or students at any time without their expressed consent. If you are recording an interview for an assignment,, you must tell your subject in advance that you will be recording the interview and get their consent in the recording. All photographed subjects must have a Media Consent form on file.

                   Cell phones will not be allowed to be used during class time unless the teacher permits.

                   Cell phones are not to be charged using outlets or computers.

                   Show respect for yourself, others, and property.


     Speech Presentations:

    Students will typically be assigned due dates to deliver their speeches. If for some reason, a student is absent on presentation day, the NEXT student scheduled to speak must be ready to present. In other words, everyone should be ready to present. Failure to present a speech on the date it is due may result in the student receiving only 50% credit for the assignment.



     Scheduling a Conference:

    Class time is devoted to student learning experiences.  Because time on task is critical for learning content, I am not available to answer phone calls during the day.  The best form of communication is email and I will reply during non-instructional hours.  If you would like to discuss an issue that is specific to my class, please email me and we will resolve the issue.  If you need to meet with the entire 6th grade team, email Lisa Kelley, Dean of Academics, lkelley@admin.fsu.edu and she will schedule our conference.


      Computer Use, Distance Learning and Digital Conferencing (i.e. Zoom)-


    Charge your computer every night.  It is expected that students come to school with a charged computer.

    1.     All pictures, avatars, backgrounds, and video capture will be school appropriate.  Students will be asked to remove any items or pictures that are disruptive to the learning environment and consequences may apply. 
    2.     When in a lesson or activity through an online conferencing tool, students must have their video on and actively participate in the activity.
    3.   School dress code applies when in a learning environment such as Zoom or other conferencing tools.
    4.   Even though students may not be engaged in the classroom face to face, the expectation is that students participate, engage, and learn as if in the classroom.  Limit distractions and create a quiet space for you to interact with students and teachers.
    5.   As the teacher, I reserve the right to require students to remove distractions (i.e. food, background noise, background visuals)



     Grading -Students can log in to FOCUS to stay up-to-date on their performance in my class. Students are expected to work hard and apply themselves to the best of their ability. If you need help, ask immediately, not at the end of the grading period.



    Grading Policy

    Grades will be divided into two categories: assessments and practice. Assessments:  tests/quizzes/projects will constitute 60% of the students’ grade and practice (classwork/homework/participation activities) will be worth 40%.

     **Extra credit is not given unless it is offered to the entire class.  There may be opportunities for an additional, optional grade, but the assignment will be graded the same as all other assignments.

    The grading scale:                                       Grades are composed of four categories:                                                

    A=100-90                                                      Tests  35%

    B=89-80                                                        Quizzes  25%

    C=79-80                                                        Homework  20%

    D=69-60                                                        Classwork 20%

    F=59 and below


    Written Work Policy

    •       All written work must be completed in blue or black ink or typed.
    •       Work must be neat and legible. Work that is not legible will not be accepted.
    •       All reports must use the required heading. If you are missing this heading more than once, points will be deducted.
    •       Work that is typed should be typed in Times New Roman, 12-point font; and double spaced. Do not type work in bold.




    Late Work- The work I assign is designed to 1) give you opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills we are learning and 2) give me a better sense of your current proficiency in those areas so that I can adjust my instruction as needed. For these reasons, it is critical that you complete assignments on time. Any work not turned in at the time it is due (with the exception of absences) is considered late. Work turned in after the due date, unless submitted due to an excused absence, will receive a maximum score of 70% until the unit test.  Late work will not be accepted after the unit test. 



     Make-up Work- Students who are not engaged in daily learning miss important lessons,  collaboration, skills practice, and other activities that build a student’s knowledge and expertise in the content. Our school make-up policy is designed to support students to make up the learning they missed, including all missed assignments and assessments, so that they do not fall behind academically.  

                Regardless of distance or in-school learning, all assignments are posted to Google Classroom by Monday of each week.  Students are responsible for checking their To-Do list and the teacher’s website for  what is due and should plan to attend any required or optional lessons or discussions.  Students will have two (2) school days, not including the day of return, for each excused class day they are absent to make up missed learning and assignments. Previously assigned work is due the day of return.  

                Work that is missing due to an unexcused absence is considered “late work.”

                Quarantined students without symptoms will be required to learn digitally.  Should a student become sick or develop symptoms that hinder their ability to participate in learning activities, a parent must submit a note to the attendance clerk for the absence to be considered excused.

                Students who have received In-School Suspension, Out-of-School Suspension, or placed on Administrative Leave will be expected to work on assignments during the time of his/her absence.  The student and family will work with FSUS Administration and faculty on a case-by-case

    basis to make sure that the student is receiving all classwork and assignments. Deadlines for completion will be given on a case by case basis.



    Your success in this class is important to me. If there are circumstances that may affect your

    performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we may work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the



    Remote Learning

    In the event that we are unable to meet face-to-face, students will need to continue to follow the expectations and guidelines of the course. Work will need to be turned in on time or a late work grade will be awarded. If students are struggling, please encourage them to contact me via my Email. However, please respect my work hours. I would also strongly advise all students to install the Google App on their devices, so I can also respond to them through the app


    Tips for Success

    1. Be on time.
    2. Be prepared – have all materials needed.
    3. Manage time wisely.
    4. Organize your work – use note taking strategies and a planner.
    5. Complete your work in a timely manner.
    6. Check FOCUS weekly.
    7. Ask for help when needed.
    8. Read all assignments carefully.
    9. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
    10. Think positively!  Let’s have a great year!


     (Scroll down).




     Please sign and return by Friday, August 21, 2020 the Acknowledgement of Reading the Speech/Debate I Syllabus and Policies Form and the Florida State University Schools Academic Honesty Policy.


    Acknowledgement of Reading the Speech/Debate Syllabus 1 and Policies Form

    For Mrs. Darlene M. Jennings’s class of 2020-2021



    The signatures below indicate that the Speech/Debate 1 Syllabus and Policies have been read and understood by both the student and parent. It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to all classroom policies and to the policies listed in the Student Code of Conduct.


    Please fill out and sign the form below. Once completed, please turn this page to Mrs. Jennings no later than Friday, August 21, 2020. This counts as a homework assignment.


    Student’s printed name:  __________________________________________________


    Student’s Signature:       __________________________________________________


    Parent’s/Guardian’s printed name:  :  ________________________________________


    Parent’s/Guardian’s Signature: :  __________________________________________



                (Scroll down for the Florida State University Schools Academic Honesty Policy) 











    Florida State University Schools Academic Honesty Policy


    To be read, discussed, signed by parent and student, and returned to your teacher.

    We expect students to demonstrate honesty with peers, teachers and in schoolwork.  Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to  lying, stealing, cheating and/or illegal use of photocopies or other technology.  Lying is the willful intent to mislead.  Stealing is the taking of any item without permission of the owner.  Any acts of dishonesty will not be tolerated.


    Acts that violate our Academic Honesty Policy include: 

    • Plagiarism (claiming another’s work as one’s own, copying another's homework, class work, or other assignment); students are required to sign a Plagiarism Policy Statement. 
    • Talking, using electronic devices during a test (unless explicitly permitted) or giving information to another student during a test.  
    • Allowing someone to copy one's work. 
    • Submitting work using another person's password/login is considered dishonest behavior. Any assignments, work, or projects posted while using another student's login will be considered plagiarism.
    • Cheating (intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized material, assistance, or study aids in any academic work). Cheating includes when a student copies another student’s work and then submits it as his or her own work.
    • Performing work or taking an examination for another student OR having another person perform work or take an examination.
    • Falsification and/or misrepresentation of data by submitting false data or sources.
    •  Computer crimes include damaging computer programs, hacking, constructing viruses,   introducing viruses into a system, or copying programs.
    • Inappropriate use of email, discussion forums, or synchronous chat rooms



       Appropriate use of sources include:

    • Direct quote-use of the author's words verbatim with quotation marks and correct documentation.
    • Paraphrase-use of the author's ideas in one's own words by changing sentence structure and using correct documentation.
    • Summary-use of the author's general ideas and correct documentation.
    • Multiple submission:  Submitting the same academic work (including oral presentations: such as PowerPoints, Prezi and other forms of visual media) for credit more than once is only acceptable with instructor permission. 

    It is the teacher's responsibility to provide instruction concerning documentation procedures (i.e. references, bibliographies, APA/MLA formats, etc). Ultimately, however, academic honesty is the student's responsibility. If plagiarism is not discovered during the writing process, but appears in the final product, the same penalties will apply.

    Parent(s) of students found being dishonest will be notified immediately. The student's teacher shall meet with the administration to determine disciplinary action. Counseling and a parent conference may be warranted.  In addition, if the final copy of the assignment contains a pattern of plagiarism, it will be subject to a zero. I understand that if the final copy of the assignment receives a zero for plagiarism, it must be rewritten correctly.


    Student name (Printed)___________________________  

    Student Signature _______________________________  Date:__________________

    Parent Signature ________________________________  Date: __________________







    1st Term

    Teacher:  Darlene M. Jennings                                                                                Course:  Speech/Debate 1     

    Week One

    Aug. 17-Aug. 21

    Introduction to course, syllabus, diagnostic speeches. The Cheating Student activity.

    We will be participating in the 4-H/Tropicana Speech Contest.*

    Week Two

     Aug. 24-Aug. 28

    The communication process: identifying informal and formal  communication.

     Reflection paper due on The Cheating Student. Begin unit on Special Occasion speeches.

    Week Three

     Aug. 31-Sep. 4. 

    Special occasion speeches.  Write a short story for participation in 4th Annual Young Authors’ Conference. Required:  three-minute speech; three-page short story; create book cover with back flap.

    Week Four

     Sept. 7-Sept. 11

    Deliver three-minute author speech; present book cover and back flap. Top three speakers will receive awards.

    Week Five 

    Sept. 14-Sept.18

    What is Oral Interpretation?  Perform three-minute cutting from a teacher-approved play.

    Week Six

    Sept. 21-Sept.25

    Perform three-minute cuttings.

    Week Seven

     Sept. 28-Oct. 2

      Speeches to persuade. Turning a subject into a speech.  Test on speeches to persuade.


    Week Eight

    Oct. 5-Oct. 9

     Present speeches to persuade.   Knowing our audience.  Three-minute speech.


    Week Nine

    Oct. 12-Oct. 16

      Present speeches to persuade.  Three-minute persuasive speech.

    Week Ten

    Oct. 19-Oct. 23

     Speeches to inspire.  Present a three-minute inspirational speech to inspire the audience into action or to re-think a situation or event.

    Week Eleven

     Oct. 26-Oct. 30

    *Students will begin preparing for the 4-H/Tropicana Public Speaking Contest.


    Week Twelve

    Nov. 2-Nov. 6

    Students will choose TPSC topics, practice and memorize introductions.  Speeches cannot be longer than three minutes nor shorter than two minutes and 45 seconds.

    Week Thirteen

    Nov. 9-Nov. 13

    Students will practice stage presence, using a microphone, and voice control.

    Week Fourteen

    Nov. 16-Nov. 20

    Tropicana 4-H/Public Speaking Contests: Students will prepare for   classroom-level and school-level competitions. Practice will continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Week Fifteen

    Nov. 23-Nov. 27

    Thanksgiving holiday.  

    Week Sixteen

    Nov. 30-Dec. 4

    Tropicana classroom and school-level competitions.  (Dec. 4th is the tentative date set for the school-wide competition).

    Debate Unit. Pick topics, partners, and learn about debate theory. Test on debate.

    Week Seventeen

    Dec. 7-Dec. 11

     Students will prepare evidence and arguments for their debate using a modified debate format.

    Week Eighteen

    Dec. 14-Dec.18

    Conclude debates and tudy for final exam.  Final Exam.

    Second Semester


     Creative Writing

     *Final dates for competition subject to change. We will adjust dates accordingly.