Oral Language Fair

Fred T. Korematsu

Oral Language Fair


“Let’s Build Bridges Not Walls”



What is the Oral Language Fair?


The Oral Language Fair is an oral language competition for all students at Fred T. Korematsu Elementary. Student performances will address the issues surrounding the human struggle for equality, freedom, and happiness, and be representative of the diverse cultures that make up our community.  Students may compete in the following areas:


1. Original Speeches/Poetry- 

In this category the speech or poem is

written by the presenter and performed by one person.


2. Individual Poetry/Prose-  

In this category the work is written by someone

other than the presenter and performed by one person.


3. Choral Speaking/Verse Choir-

In this category  an original or

famous work is presented by 3 or more students.


Why have an Oral Language Fair?


There are many reasons for having an Oral Language Fair!  This event is an excellent opportunity for students who may not be recognized for academics to experience success and recognition.  It gives students, school staff, parents and community members a chance to see excellence at our school, and encourages parents and other family members to get involved.  The Oral Language Fair also ties in with many of the California State Standards in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening and social studies/history.  In addition to all of this, it is a time to celebrate the diversity at our school!  The performances will take place in February during Black History Month.  The Oral Language Fair is a fun way to celebrate our wonderful children!  One can never tell which school experience will motivate a child to excel in the future.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as a child, participated in similar events and went on to become one of the most important and influential people in history!


How is the Oral Language Fair organized?


The Oral Language Fair begins in the classroom.  Any student who wants to participate must be given the opportunity to do so.  After identifying the participants, the teacher (or a parent volunteer) begins providing support and instruction.  Children begin choosing or writing poems and speeches, and then begin to practice reading and memorizing them.  It is often easier if the whole class works on poetry/speech writing and oral language at a designated time each day.  Those students who are participating will work toward the competition, and the other students can perform in the classroom as part of their instruction and assessment.


On February 7,  2019, the competition will be held.  There will be judges from the district and the community, and children will be scored on several aspects of effective speaking.  The judges will use a format very much like a rubric, and students will receive a final score.  Winners will fall into four categories:  first- third places, and honorable mention.  The wonderful thing about the judging and scoring process is that each participant is ranked according to the number range he or she falls into.  This means that all performances falling into the range that defines first place will win first place.  Students will be rewarded for the time and effort they put into preparing for the Oral Language Fair, and the performance of their competitors will not prevent them from “placing.”  


How do I prepare for the Oral Language Fair?


The Oral Language Fair is in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and continues his tradition of excellence in oration.  It also reminds us that he wanted to see all people living in harmony and treated equitably, and fairly. He wanted all people to actively work toward this goal.  The theme for this year’s Oral Language Fair is “Stand up for Justice.”  This theme is about showing solidarity with various groups of people who seek justice and respect in regards to preserving their culture, respecting sacred lands, and giving basic human rights to everyone.  All selections performed for the Oral Language Fair should relate to this theme. This theme encourages us to think of positive ways to continue the work surrounding social justice.  Another way to address the theme is to choose pieces by African-American authors, Latino authors, Chinese authors, etc.  This is a way to show that we celebrate all people and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of all cultures. In some cases it may be necessary for the performer(s) to add a brief introduction to their piece, making its connection to the theme more obvious.


Possible sources for “pieces”:

  • the Davis Public Library
  • the school library
  • lyrics from songs
  • speeches or excerpts from autobiographies
  • parents!
  • the reading/language arts adoption
  • each other


After the participants have appropriate pieces, you need to decide how you will go about supporting their endeavor.  If you want to participate, you can begin coaching the children.  This is a big and time- consuming job.  Before school, lunchtime, and after school may be used for rehearsals.  You can actively coach, or simply provide a space and time (and supervision).  If you are choosing not to participate, and are trying to provide equal access to children in your class, you can leave it to the parents (but still turn in the form), or you can team up with a colleague who is participating.  Maybe one teacher can coach the participants while the other teacher takes the remaining kids from both classes and does something else with them.  Whatever your approach, remember that we are trying to set up all children for success.


Be sure to familiarize yourself and your students with the Oral Language Fair rules and judging criteria!


What now?


The information provided in this packet is enough to get everyone started.   

In the meantime, strive for excellence. All entries are due no later than Wednesday, December 19th. 


Competition day is Feb. 7th during the school day.

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