Category Archives: References

References to debate resources

Notes on the January 27 Clemency Topic

Happy 2018!

With three weeks of school before our next debate tournament, we thought it might be helpful to share some ideas regarding our next topic with all of you.  The motion for January 27 is:

This House would eliminate executive pardons and commutations.

A very successful former high school debater, now in college has generously provided some notes on the motion, which you can download here:  Notes On January 27 CTMSDL Motion .

The notes discuss plans and counterplans relative to the topic, and provides a useful set of references.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

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.

December 3 Tournament Topic Announced

The CT Middle School Debate League’s first competitive tournament of the year will be held on Saturday, December 3 at Smith Middle School in Glastonbury. The motion will be:

This House would make voting in US elections compulsory.

Please remember that Proposition teams may narrow the topic as long as they still give Opposition teams enough grounds upon which to argue. This year we’ll award trophies to the top five teams and speakers and 3-0 teams will earn pins. We’ll send out an invitation the week before Thanksgiving.

Dues Reminder

We ask participating schools to please pay $50 dues before the end of the calendar year. (Schools may attend one event before paying dues.) The CTMSDL 2016-17 Dues Form has directions regarding whom to make the check out to and where to send it. If you’ve already paid dues, thank you!

Middle School Debate Handbooks

Coaches, if you purchase a copy of Speak Up! or Speak Out!, the League will reimburse you — just send me your receipt. Here are links:

CTMSDL Handbook Available

The new CTMSDL Handbook is now available.  The Handbook explains our format, schedule and policies.

Please note some important changes since last year:

  • 4 minutes of prep time are now built into each debate.
  • Each speech will have a 15 second grace period.
  • Debaters are strongly discouraged from reading pre-written speeches; the highest score they may receive if they read a pre-written speech is a 25.

You may download the handbook in pdf format using this link: CTMSDL Handbook

If you have questions or comments on the handbook, please email us at Handbook Comments with questions.s

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.