December 2 Tournament Results

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, 218 Middle School debaters in 78 teams from 20 schools debated the motion:

This House would institute year-round schooling.

Proposition prevailed in 62% of the 117 debates.

The team of Halle Hunt, Ava Prevey, and Nathaniel Valdivieso from The Hive won the Final Round on Proposition. Results can be found on on the tournament page under the Results tab or can be downloaded here:

Thank you to coach Michael Panoli and the entire Middlebrook (Wilton) community for hosting. Thank you to the many High School debaters, coaches, teachers and parents who judged. Thank you to The Greenwich Branch of the English Speaking Union and Director Robert Whitby for sponsoring the League.

CTMSDL’s next tournament will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Smith Middle School in Glastonbury. The motion will be released by Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Please contact me with questions and concerns.


Jen Posner
CT Middle School Debate League

December 2 Tournament Invitation

On behalf of Middlebrook School and coach Michael Panoli, the Connecticut Middle School Debate League invites you to our first tournament of this season.  The details are:

  • Date:  December 2, 2017, 9:30AM — 3:45PM
  • Location:  Middlebrook School, 131 School Road, Wilton, CT 06987
  • Sponsor:  The English Speaking Union, Greenwich Branch
  • Invitation in pdf format:  December 2 Invitation

Our announced topic is:

This House would implement year-round schooling.

Debaters should be prepared to support both sides of the motion in different rounds during the day. Please refer to the updated CTMSDL Handbook for information on our format and rules. Observers are welcome.

Coaches should register their debaters through Download our Instructions for more information. On the event name is “CTMSDL Dec 2.” There is no cap on the number of teams each school may enter.

Coaches should register one judge per every 6 debaters. Teams only bringing 3 debaters should register 1 judge. We’ll use Varsity High School debaters as judges first, but we need to have back-up judges.
Coaches should make sure their judges understand the information in the CTMSDL Handbook and our Judges Instructions w/Rubric. We’ll hold a judges’ workshop at the tournament, but it is best if judges review this material beforehand. Coaches are encouraged to bring volunteer timers.

The day’s schedule will be as follows:
9:30-10:00      Arrival & Registration
10:00-11:00   Workshops for Debaters, and Judges & Timers
11:15-12:00  Round 1
12:00-12:45  Round 2
12:45-1:30     Lunch
1:30-2:15        Round 3
2:14-2:45        High Brow Low Brow Game
2:45-3:30        Final Round
3:30-3:45        Awards & Departure

Debaters may pack their lunches or buy tickets for pizza and drinks between 9:30 & 10 am. Pizza will be $2 per slice and water and lemonade will be $1 each. Coffee and lunch will be provided for judges.

Questions or comments? Please email Jen Posner: .

December 2 Tournament Motion Announced

The Connecticut Middle School Debate League’s next event will be a tournament on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at Middlebrook Middle School in Wilton, CT, from 9:30 — 3:30.

The motion will be:

This House would implement year-round schooling.

Debaters should prepare to  argue both for and against the motion.  During the three rounds they will be on each side at least once.

We’ll send out an invitation and open Tabroom for registration the week before Thanksgiving.

This could be a very large tournament so please email me at and let me know if you plan to come (or if you know you won’t be coming).

(If you aren’t currently a member, but are interested in joining the league, or attending one of our tournaments as an observer, email me at the address above. )

Happy prepping!


Scrimmage at Bethel Kicks Off the Season

The Connecticut Middle School Debate League (CTMSDL) kicked off the 2017-18 season with a scrimmage at Bethel Middle School yesterday.

170 debaters in grades 5-8 from 14 schools combined into 59 teams to debate both sides of the motion:

This House believes that National Service should be compulsory in the US.

The Proposition side prevailed in 58% of the rounds.  Box scores from the scrimmage can be found on the tournament page on or can be downloaded here.

Many, many thanks go to Bethel Coach Cathy Emerick and the entire Bethel Middle School community, as well as all of our coaches, and judges, including 12 High School debaters who gave up a beautiful Saturday to help out, and parents. Thank you to our sponsor as well, the Greenwich Branch of the English Speaking Union, and Director Robert Whitby who judged for us.

Please let us know if you are missing any of your team’s ballots and we will try to find them .

We’ll meet for our first tournament on Saturday, December 2 at Middlebrook School in Wilton. The motion will be released by Monday, October 30.

Finally, if you have any photos from Saturday’s event that CAS can use to promote Middle School debate in CT, please email them to us, along with any comments or questions, at .

Thanks! Jen

October 21 Scrimmage Invitation

On behalf of Coach Cathy Emerick and Bethel Middle School, the Connecticut Middle School Debate League invites you to this season’s first event, a demonstration debate, skill-building workshop and scrimmage, on Saturday, October 21, 2107 from 9:30 am — 2:30 pm.

As previously announced, the topic will be:

This House believes that (THBT) National Service should be compulsory in the United States.

There are a number of items that you can download for more information:

Please note that observers are welcome and there is no cap on the number of teams a school may enter. You may begin registering your teams on now. Registration will close at 6 pm on Friday, October 20.

While the focus of this event is on learning how to debate, and getting comfortable speaking in front of opponents and a judge, it is not only for brand new debaters.  However, please use discretion in deciding which debaters to bring to debate.  If your debaters have won awards in the past, they’re probably better off helping your newer debaters, rather than debating themselves.

If you have not registered on tabroom or already emailed us, please do so immediately so we know how many to plan for.  Let us know:

  1. Will your school attend? (You may change your mind over the next 2 weeks.)
  2. Roughly how many teams will you bring to the scrimmage? (You may change this number up until 6 pm on Friday, October 20.)

I look forward to seeing many of you on the 21st. Please email or call me with questions.



Information Packet for October 21 Scrimmage

On September 23 the Connecticut Debate Association, our high school debate league, used the following resolution at their Novice Scrimmage:

Resolved:  Every citizen should complete one year of national service.

CDA debates include a packet of articles to provide background on the topic.  As this resolution is similar to the middle school scrimmage topic, we thought coaches might find it useful, either for their own education, or, after review, to pass on to their students.  It complements the brief prepared by Eliza Posner that was previously made available to you.

You may download the packet here:  CDA National Service Packet

Email us if you have questions.

October 21 Scrimmage Motion Announced

Our first event of the year will be a scrimmage on October 21 at Bethel MIddle School.  Debaters will see an exhibiition round by experienced debaters and have two practice rounds, one on each side of the motion.

Our motion for the Scrimmage will be:

This House believes that (THBT) National Service should be compulsory in the United States.

Debaters should research and prepare Proposition (for) and Opposition (against) cases that they will use in their practice rounds at the Scrimmage.

As agreed at the Spring Coaches’ Meeting, we have prepared a short brief discussing the topic and outlining basic cases for and against.  Debaters may use these directly, or may further research the topic to deepen these arguments or to develop new ones.  The brief may be downloaded here in Word Format or in PDF Format.

If you have any questions, please email us.

2017-18 Calendar and Dues

The school year is about to begin and our middle school debate calendar is just about set.  We will begin with a scrimmage in October and tournaments in December, January and April.  The details are:

  • Scrimmage:  October 21, Bethel Middle School, Bethel
  • Fall Tournament:  December 2 (snow date Dec. 16), Middlebrook Middle School, Wilton
  • Winter Tournament:  Jan. 27, 2017 (snow date Feb. 10), Smith Middle School Glastonbury
  • Spring Tournament April 21, 2017, Eastern Middle School, Greenwich

You may download a pdf version of calendar for printing.

Dues for 2017-18 will be $50 per school, the same as last year.  The league does not charge any tournament fees.  Dues are paid to the Connecticut Association of Schools.  Please down load either a Word Version or PDF Version of the dues notice and payment instruction.

Please email us if you have questions.




Judges’ Workshop on August 14

It’s August already! That means our CT Middle School Debate League Judges’ Workshop is coming up:

  • Monday, August 14
  • 9:00 am — 2:00 pm
  • CAS (CT Association of Schools)
  • 30 Realty Drive, Cheshire, CT , 06410

Anybody who might ever want to judge a CTMSDL debate round is welcome and encouraged to attend — coaches, parents, teachers, school administrators, high school debaters — we have space. Coaches, please forward this invitation to those who might judge for you this year.

We’ll provide lunch for everybody and reimburse coaches for mileage.

Our schedule will be as follows:

  • 9:00 – 10:00 tournament-style Judges’ Workshop plus flowing instruction
  • 10:00 – 11:30 live debate with discussion after every speech and after the debate
  • 11:30 – 12:00 lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:30 2nd live debate with discussion after every speech and after the debate
  • 1:30 – 2:00 discussion and/or watching a MSPDP Championship Debate

Experienced judges who have attended many Judges’ Workshops are welcome to come to the 9:00 –10:00 portion or start the day at 10:00.

Everyone attending should download and review the Judge’s Instructions, even if you’ve judged before, so it is fresh in your mind.

Please RSVP by email so we have a count and can set the room up. Also please include any any questions, concerns, ideas, suggestions, etc.


Analyzing a Debate Round–an Example

I was asked by a Coach I know to write a more detailed review of a round I judged at the April 22 tournament.  We agreed it might be useful to share it with the other Coaches and teams in the league.

I realize the season is over, but take a look.  As a long-time coach, judge and debater I think this is what every debater should do for every round they debate after the tournament is over.  I’ve always found debate theory meaningless in the abstract, but very useful when you have a real debate in front of you.  And since you rarely get to see your own students debate, teaching them how to record and review their own performance is one of the most valuable skills you can impart.

You can download the following files:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.