All posts by ejrutan3.admin

January 24 and 31 Tournament Invitation

On behalf of Bruce Johnson, Coach of Eastern Middle School in Greenwich, and Scott Brady, Coach of Wamogo Middle School in Litchfield, I would like to invite you to our first competitive tournaments at the end of the month.  There will be one open division of debate.

The motion, previously announced, is:

This House believes that zoos do more harm than good.

You register through the, a free website for the debate community.  We will use this system for all our events.  Download our Instructions for more information.

On the tournament names are “CTMSDL January 24” and “CTMSDL January 31”.

The tournament schedule will include a short workshop in the morning and three rounds of debate:

9:30-10AM registration
10-10:30AM workshops
10:45-11:30AM round 1
11:30-12:15PM round 2
12:15-12:45PM lunch
12:45-1:30PM round 3
1:30-2:00PM awards
2:00PM departure

We will use the standard middle school parliamentary debate format with three debaters on each team, five minute constructive speeches and three minute rebuttals.  For more information go to our website, .

If you have any questions, please email us at .

You can also download a Printable Version of this invitation in pdf format.

We hope to see you on January 24 or 31!

Notes on November’s Scrimmages

For a number of years I have been writing commentary about Connecticut Debate Association topics and debate.  You can find this material through the CDA Training Material page.

I’d like to extend this practice to the Middle School League.  This, Scrimmage Commentary Nov14, is my first effort, based on the demonstration debates at our Novice Scrimmages at Bethel and Smith Middle Schools.

There is a brief discussion of three topics:  taking notes, defining terms and covering arguments.  I also include a summary of my notes for each of the demo rounds, so your students can see examples of what debate notes might look like.

If you find this material useful, you should feel free to make copies and share it with your students as you see fit.  If you notice any mistakes, or have any suggestions for improvement, please email me.


January Tournament Announcement

The Connecticut Middle School Debate League will hold its first debate tournaments at the end of January.  January 24 and January 31 are the likely dates, and we are looking at two locations to make travel a bit easier.

These will be Saturday tournaments, beginning at 10 AM and running no later than 3PM.    Students will have 3 or 4 rounds of debate, and possibly a public final round.

The topic will be animal rights:

  • This House believes that zoos do more harm than good.

Your students should familiarize themselves with subject matter and develop their cases for and against the motion between now and January.  We will announce the locations and schedule just after the New Year.

If you have any questions, please email us:  January Tournament Questions .

November Scrimmage Results

The Connecticut Middle School Debate League is LIVE!

Special thanks to Cathy Emerick and Bethel Middle School, and John Rook and Smith Middle School in Glastonbury for hosting our first two events, practice scrimmages, on November 10 and 12.

We had 34 teams totaling 102 debaters from seven schools, some debating for the first time.  High school debaters fromGlastonbury, Greenwich, Joel Barlow, St. Luke’s, Stamford, and Westfield/Watkinson volunteered their time to provide demonstration debates and judge the middle school debaters.

The topic was:  This House Would permit schools to discipline students for internet and phone activity.

You may download a summary of the results:

Bethel Box Scores

Smith Box Scores

If you are missing any ballots or have any questions about the results, topic or event, please email us at .

Our next event will be a middle school debate tournament at the end of January.  The topic, dates and locations will be published shortly.

Scrimmage Invitation Nov. 10 and Nov. 12

On behalf of Bethel Middle School and Smith Middle School I would like to invite you to the inaugural event of the Connecticut Middle School Debate League, an introductory scrimmage. 

Bethel Middle School, November 10, 2014, 4PM to 7PM

Smith Middle School, Glastonbury, November 12 2014, 4PM to 7PM

The topic will be:

This House would permit schools to discipline students for internet and phone activity.

Students may come to debate or to observe.  Coaches and interested teachers are welcome to come and observe.  Debaters should have researched the topic and should be prepared to uphold either side of the issue.  We will be using the Middle School Public Debate Program format.  For more information download MSL Scrimmage Invitation Nov14.

Motion for November Scrimmages

The motion for the November scrimmages at Bethel and Glastonbury will be:

This House Would permit schools to discipline students for internet and phone activity.

Remember your students should be prepared to debate both sides of the motion, arguing both for and against.

We will be posting additional documents with information for students and judges shortly.

Middle School Scrimmage Announcement

The Connecticut Middle School Debate League will hold two scrimmages in November:

  • Bethel Middle School, Monday, November 10
  • Smith Middle School in Glastonbury, Wednesday, November 12

We expect schools will choose to attend one or the other, as they are located at opposite ends of the State.

These will be after school events, beginning at approximately 4PM and running until approximately 7PM.  Each scrimmage will feature a demonstration debate by experienced high school debaters from the Connecticut Debate Association, after which the middle school debaters will have two practice rounds, where they will debate in favor of the motion during one debate and against the motion in the other.

The topic will be whether or not schools should be permitted to discipline students for their conduct outside of school:  think cyberbullying, postings on social media, parties, substance abuse.  We are still working on the exact motion, but this should give you something to work with in the mean time.

The format of the debate will be the Parliamentary format used by the Middle School Public Debate Program.  You can access our short description of this debate format here, where you will also find links to other web sites with more detail.

If you wish to attend, please signify your interest by sending an email to .  We simply need your name, the name of your school and your email address (which we will add to our mailing list).  We will notify you of a more formal registration process to enter your debate team names as we get closer to the date of the event.  You may also use the email address for any questions you may have.

This is our first event for middle school students.  We look forward to a great turnout!

CTMSL Debate Format

The Connecticut Middle School League will use the Middle School Public Debate Program format, which is becoming popular across the country.  It is a variant of Parliamentary debate, which is the most popular debate format in the world.

In this format, two teams debate a motion, one side arguing in favor, the other side against.  Each team has three members, each of whom presents one speech:  a first constructive, a second constructive and a rebuttal.  The speeches alternate between the teams, with the team arguing in favor leading off.  The order of the rebuttals is reversed, however, with the opposing team speaking first, giving the supporting team the last word.  This is similar to a court trial where the prosecution has the burden of making its case, and is given the first and last word to support that burden.

We have a two page description of the format with more details.  You may download the pdf file CTMSDL Debate Format.  You may also find the Middle School Public Debate Program website a useful source of additional descriptive and educational material.



Welcome to Connecticut Middle School Debate!

This post announces the formation of the Connecticut Middle School Debate League (CTMSDL)!

Yes, middle school debate is coming to Connecticut in the 2014-15 school year.  We are planning scrimmages in mid-November and tournaments in 2015.

For more information, please email .

This website is a work in process, so please be patient.  We expect that the content will increase rapidly!