How to Write a Metacognition

The Olde & Noble Fenn Publick Speaking Contest...

WW Fenn Publick Speaking Contest

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“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1.The nervous and 2. Liars.” 

~Mark Twain


The WW Fenn Publick Speaking Contest [my spelling] originally started out as a poetry recitation contest. Over the years, however, the original rules have been bent and distorted to the point where it is sometimes hard to tell that it is supposed to be a celebration of "greatness" in literature, not a mimicking of a speech seen on TV or in a movie; not a silly comic piece or sing-songing children's story, and not a shallow barrage of clever words set into a story. 

I want you to have an experience that will live on in you and for you through as many years as you walk this earth; I want you to remember your words for the power that gives those words timelessness.  I want to get back to the purity of the original source and lifeblood of the WW Fenn contest. 

I want you to choose your WW Fenn performance piece carefully and thoughtfully. We will begin the classwork memorization and performance process right away--which is a multi-step process!


You may choose a poem, ballad, or a passage from a piece of classic or singularly great literature, which includes: novels, short stories, or essays; moreover, you may choose to recite a traditional myth or cultural story. Speeches that are a part of a larger piece of literature are allowed, but not speeches. If you wish, I will choose a piece for you.

The piece must be at least 60 seconds long, but not more than three minutes in length. I have included links to sources in the extended entry to help find a piece.

The Steps...

  1. Find a piece and post the text on your blog, along with a brief reflection about how and why you chose your piece.

  2. Practice your piece until you are confident of your clarity, pace and diction. Record your piece in Garageband using my good mic. Import the track to iMovie and create an iMovie using video and images that suit your WWFenn choice.

  3. Learn a portion of your piece each night, so that you can practice more in class and receive the feedback you need to do the best you can. 

  4. In-class performance & voting: Each of you will recite your piece in class, followed by voting for best piece. When voting, do not simply vote for who recited best--vote for the person you feel will "do the best" in the final competition on stage. Performance implies mastery, not simply memorization. When I learn a song, poem or story by heart, I follow the 3/30 Rule: thirty times to memorize; thirty times to practice, and thirty times to perform--and only then do I feel like I "own" my piece. Any less and you are way more talented than me. You should strive to reach the point where you can recite your piece starting anywhere!.

  5. The "top-two" winners will perform in Robb Hall.

Grading: 15 Points

Your grade...

  1. Find a piece and post the words on your blog, along with a Literary Reflection about how and why  you choose your piece. 5 Points
  2. iMovie video of your piece posted on your blog. 5 Points
  3. Your performance in front of the class. This will be filmed. 5 Points