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).
The Chicago Middle School Debate League Argument Limits, developed with input from the CMSDL Coaches’ Council, lay out which affirmative cases and which negative arguments are runnable in each Division (Novice, JV/Varsity), at each CMSDL tournament.
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.
The CDL (HS) has developed the Prepared Flow Rebuttal Drill, exercising flow-based refutation and analysis of evidence, and practicing and developing the 1AR, 2NR, and 2AR.
States Counterplan, positing the Public Service Employment Case
Federalism Disadvantage, positing the Public Service Employment Case
Topicality Violation (“Investment”), against the Public Service Employment Case
Topicality Violation (“Transportation Infrastructure”), against the Port Security Affirmative Case
Politics DA, positing the Rail Investment Affirmative Case
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 basics of refutation are laid out in this Basic Refutation Powerpoint presentation (adapted from Jenny Heidt of Westminster Schools)
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.
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.