Martin Luther King Spoken Word Contest

2nd Annual In-the-Loop
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Spoken Word Contest
Contest Rules

Virtual Program Monday, January 18, 2021, 1 PM
(Recorded submissions due January 4, 2021)
“This Moment in History: My story.”
Students will share their thoughts about the COVID pandemic, Black Lives Matter, the 2020 election, social unrest, income inequality, climate change or any one of the many historic issues we are facing today.

1) A recording of the spoken word offering must be recorded by the student and submitted electronically to the designated Dropbox.
2) The student should deliver their presentation without use of devices, (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) or papers, except for notecards used for reference, if needed.
3) Students are encouraged to memorize their offering to maximize the quality of their presentation.
4) Content of spoken word offering must be the students original work, developed independently, with support as needed from responsible adults (parents/guardians, teachers, and as offered to each contestant, by contest organizers at scheduled preparatory sessions, available to all contestants. Coaching is available to develop and prepare the presentation, upon request.
Judges will be attuned to offerings where the student does not appear to understand what is being spoken and, in their individual opinions, the content does not appear to be at the grade level of the student.
5) Prizes will be awarded to nine contestants:
a) First, second and third prizes will be awarded according to total points accumulated, according to an average of three judges’ scores, given according to established criteria.
b) Each type of spoken word will have set criteria, scored so that that the total accumulated points will not exceed 50 points, regardless of spoken word type.
c) Within a grade level, the three individuals with the highest point average, win first, second or third prize, respective to the points awarded. Example: Among 4th and 5th graders, the top three points achieved are: a RAP contestant achieves an average of 41 points, a poet achieves 36 points, and an oratory contestant achieves 32 points. The RAP contestant is awarded first place, the poet, 2nd place, and oratory contestant is awarded 3rd place.
6) Judging will be performed by individuals selected by the organizers and who are not personally aligned with any contestant. Judges will be :
a) vetted for an personal conflicts of interest, prior to being approved as a judge.
b) Provided with instruction to ensure a common understanding and fair use of the established criteria.
c) Decisions by judges are final. There is no appeal process, though contestants/parents/guardians are encouraged to share their concerns and recommendations for future improvement of the contest.
7) Judging criteria: (note some elements are common to all types of spoken word, while others are unique to the type of spoken word):

Oratory and All Contestants:
(1) Delivery of the word. (Elocution)—The ability of the listener to understand each word that is spoken in terms of correct pronunciation, clearness of diction and phonetic expression, and volume.
(2) What the word says (Message—message is cogent and engaging. That is, listeners are engaged in the spoken word offering on a personal level (emotionally, intellectually, culturally, relevancy, etc.), and the message is aligned with the contest theme.
Additional Criteria for Specific Spoken Word Type:
(1)Spoken word consistently adheres to an established ‘rhythm’, i.e. is on the beat.
(2) Flow—listeners are able to anticipate the cadence of the rap; consistency
The poem does not have to rhyme, but has a lyrical quality typically associated with poetic cadence pentameter