FALL 2020 - Marking Period 1

    Ms. Nasatka 


    In this class, our primary goal will be to build your public speaking skills through a variety of practice exercises, informal, and formal speeches and formal debate.  We will learn about the elements of speechwriting and delivery that most effectively gain and maintain the attention of an audience.  You will be speaking about topics of personal interest to you and serving as an active audience for your classmates. You will also engage in informal and formal debate activities to sharpen your skills at presenting a compelling argument and winning over an audience.


    August / September - Introductory Activities, Speaking to Pay Tribute, Speaking to Interpret, Choice Read:  non-fiction

    • Warm-up speeches (interviews/introductions)
    • Routines (Impromptu) - improve fluency, thinking on one’s feet, argumentation
    • Rhetorical features of great speeches
    • Peer/teacher speech workshops
    • Communicating literature through voice, posture, gesture, facial expression
    • Check-in response journals (non-fiction selection)


    SPEECH #1 - Commemorative (Tribute) Speech

    SPEECH #2 - Oral Interpretation (poetry or monologue reading)


    October - Speaking to Inform /  Formal Debate

    • Choosing a memorable angle (based on non-fiction reading)
    • Constructing engaging presentations
    • Speaking from an outline (keynote)
    • Using research effectively
    • Persuasive rhetorical strategies (winning over an audience)
    • Logical Fallacies and Argument Strategies
    • Formal debate protocols
    • Collaboration to prepare for debates


    SPEECH #3 - Informative Speech

    SPEECH #4 - Policy Debate (partner)

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    Speech and Debate - Fall 2020 MP 1

    Policies and Procedures


    Presentations:  The formal speeches and debates you present this semester will comprise about 70% of your grade for the marking period.  You will be assessed based on rubrics designed to evaluate both the quality of your presentation skill and the elements of speechwriting and preparation we focus on in each unit.  The other 30% of your grade will come from scores on selected classroom activities and assignments and a small number of quizzes.


    Scheduling Presentations: In a class this size, I will often schedule presentations over a couple of class periods.  I will ask you to sign up for an available time for each given speech.  Please be mindful of any conflicts or other commitments when you are signing up to give a speech.  The expectation is that you will be prepared to present on the day for which you scheduled.


    IMPORTANT!  In the event that you find yourself unprepared to present on the day you scheduled, you may exchange speaking slots with a classmate.  You may do this without facing a point penalty as long as you make this arrangement ahead of time and inform me.  You are responsible for arranging your own exchange.  Please do not ask me to find someone who might speak in your place.


    Required Reading: This semester you are required to select one full-length work of non-fiction (topic of your choice).  There will be several points during the month in which you will check in with me about your book through written responses and/or conferences.  This book will serve as a jumping off point for your informative speech.  In addition, you are required to read a variety of speeches and articles that will support our projects, as well as the research materials that will help you build the content of your speeches and debates.


    Make-up Work:  If you are absent (excused) on a day you are scheduled to present your speech, please be ready to present your speech on the next day you are in class.  Classwork that you missed will be made up according to SCAHS policy stated here:

    It is the student’s responsibility to check teacher course management sites (CANVAS) and / or contact the teacher for work. Students are expected to make up all work missed within a time period not to exceed the total number of days absent from that specific class. Thereafter, a 10% deduction may be taken for each class meeting day the assignment / assessment is late following the student’s absence from class.


    Link to Academic Integrity Policy


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    Ms. Mary Nasatka

    English Teacher 

    Email: mxn11@scasd.org

    Voicemail:  814-272-4041 

    About me:

    The 2019-20 school year will be my 22nd year teaching in the State College Area School District.  I have had experience with each grade and level, but I have made 11th  and 12th grade my home for the last nine years. 

    I graduated with Honors from Penn State with a B.A. in English in 1995, then pursued a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction while simultaneously earning my teaching certification.  As an Honors student at Penn State, I focused my studies on American Literature and explored the theme of redemption in Flannery O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood in my Honor’s Thesis.

    When I am not teaching, I love to read (of course!), cook, garden and cycle.  I am an animal lover; I have a pug and three rescues all deemed "least adoptable".   I enjoy walking with them and exploring Bald Eagle State Park.  



      I want to propose a mindset for this year, one that has helped me a great deal in my own growth to become an interesting and interested person.  The mindset is one of open inquiry and trust, where we see every activity as a place for learning to happen if we make it happen.  In other words, every activity you engage in can be made meaningful or it can be made into busy work, depending on your desire to learn from the activity.  On my part, I want to make you a promise not to assign work that I see as having little ability to help your reading, writing, understanding, and critical literacy skills.  You’ll have to trust that I won’t give you busy work and you will have to agree not to treat potentially meaningful activities as such. 


    I am also committed to the idea of  “teaching up,” which means that I will set high standards for academic success, and make sure that you are personally supported in ways that makes it possible (if you provide the hard work) to reach a level of excellence in your understandings and writings. 


    Finally, I want all of you to know that I am unconditionally dedicated to your success. I am in your corner, and I try as hard as I can to put what is best for you at the forefront of my thinking at all times.   But most of the responsibility for success rests on your shoulders.  Carry it well.


Last Modified on August 31, 2020