The Middle School Coaches section of the CDL programming site contains resources for program-building and coaching in the Chicago Middle School Debate League.

The Chicago Middle School Debate League Competitive Debate Format

The Chicago Middle School Debate League Format is very similar to the high school debate format — with somewhat shorter speech times, four stock issues on the affirmative (Harms, Solvency, Desirability, and Topicality), and four negative argument options (Case Attacks, Disadvantages, Topicality Violations, and, for JV/Varsity teams, Counterplans).

Note: As determined by the CMSDL Coaches Council, new off-case positions (Disadvantages, Topicality, Counterplan) cannot be presented in the 2NC -– violations result in forfeit. Enforcement should be through protest to the tournament director. New case attacks, however, are runnable in the 2NC.

The SY2015 CMSDL Argument Limits outline which arguments from the SY2015 CMSDL Core Files are runnable in which division at which tournament, as well as when additional evidence and additional arguments are runnable in the JV/Varsity divisions.

Essential Resources

Program Building Resources

The template CMSDL Squad Guidelines can be adapted by each CMSDL debate coach to set their debate programs ground-rules, policies, and objectives for the season. These CMSDL Squad Guidelines should be circulated among all debaters, posted in the debate practice room, sent to the school’s administration, and sent home to parents.

The CMSDL 20 Prep Steps to Tournament One lays out a step-by-step set of preparation activities that will take coaches from the brand new, blank slate beginning of the debate season to readiness for learning and competition at the first debate tournament of the year.

Prepared Flow Rebuttal Exercise

The CMSDL has developed the Prepared Flow Rebuttal Exercise, practicing flow-based refutation and analysis of evidence, and practicing and developing the 1AR, 2NR, and 2AR.

We have created prepared flows for use with the Prepared Flow Rebuttal Exercise on the following CMSDL Core Files issues:

Aquaculture Case Solvency Attacks

Mid-Terms Elections Disadvantage (positing the Wind Power case)

China Disadvantage (positing the Oil Exploration case)

There’s no real improvement in competitive academic debate that doesn’t start with the flow sheet.

This electronic version of a flow sheet is useful if you are flowing on a laptop — a practice that can be more efficient and legible.

Flowing PowerPoint: Teach your debaters the basics of flowing with this Powerpoint presentation (credit to Kathy Caudill of the National Federation of State High School Associations)

NAUDL Activities Manual: A great handbook that includes dozens of activities and exercises useful for teaching the fundamental skills of competitive academic debate, including a full chapter of flowing exercises.

Here is a Checklist to Tournament One with the steps, including administrative details, that each coach will need to take leading up to our first CMSDL tournament.

This is a set of NAUDL’s First Meeting Activities that have proven to be effective in interesting students in, and introducing them to, debate.

SPAR (SPontaneous ARgument) Debate Exercise: Hold a SPAR debate next practice with this useful document.

Mini-Debates Exercise: Hold a mini-debate next practice with this document. Describes the format and details of a mini-debate lesson.

The CDL Evidence Analytics Exercise helps debaters analyze textual evidence, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of reasoning, warrants, and substantiation in evidence in used in a debate round. The exercise asks debaters to hone in on the connection between the argument label and what the textual evidence actually says.

The basics of refutation are laid out in this Basic Refutation Powerpoint presentation (adapted from Jenny Heidt of Westminster Schools)

Teaching Line-by-Line Debating.

This Disadvantage Exercise both defines the core terms used in debating disadvantages and offers a very meeting-ready exercise in teaching disadvantages to beginning and intermediate-level debaters.

Teaching debaters responsiveness — the use of refutation, or clash, to answer their opponents’ arguments — is perhaps the most important skill taught to debaters. This Refutation Exercise is a valuable tool that can help coaches accomplish this crucial goal.

The CMSDL Judge Instructions, also helpful for high school student judges, give some important advice on how to provide the best educational feedback to middle school student debaters.

The CDL Debater Benchmarks are designed for high school level debaters, but have a lot of application to the CMSDL divisions (Novice, JV, Varsity), too. These are the benchmarks that measure CDL high school debaters’ development.

Dallas Urban Debate Alliance Toulmin Argumentation Model (“Claim-Warrant-Data”) Presentation

Recruitment Documents

CMSDL Recruiting Poster

CMSDL Recruiting Flier

Student Recruiting Ideas

Additional Resources

Debate 101 is a instructional guide to everything you need to know about Policy Debate

The NAUDL’s Learning to Debate is a very concise manual for use in learning about policy debate.

A Debate Glossary produced by Maine East (IL) Debate has useful definitions of many or most of the terms used in Varsity-level debate.

The Emory Policy Debate Manual is useful for first-year and inexperienced Varsity debaters.