Debate Overview




*Teacher: Alexandra Hawksford

*Room: 2314

*Prep Time: 11:00 – 11:47

*Phone: 651-325-2500 x2537 (w)                        *E-Mail:           

*Courses:       Accelerated English 8

                        7th and 8th grade Debate


Mission: to empower students to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities.


Supplies: 1 notebook for vocabulary, journaling and note taking; 1 expanding portable file; 1+ package of 4x6 note cards; highlighters; scissors; glue


Overview: Each year the National Forensic League (NFL) chooses a policy topic that debaters affirm (propose a policy to solve a problem) as well as negate (show why that policy won’t solve the problem, will make things worse, or will cause other problems if enacted). During the 2013-2014 school year, the topic is economic engagement toward Latin America. Students must research, analyze, and defend different policy options, and in the process increase their critical thinking, reading comprehension and public speaking skills. Students will also be exposed to the Lincoln-Douglas debate style that focuses more on values and ethics rather than policy-making.


Great Opportunity this year: Capitol Hill is now part of a wonderful debate program called the UDL (Urban Debate League). We will have an opportunity to debate other middle schools on four different occasions. Those four tournaments are in November, December, February, and March. The dates are Thursday, November 21st, Wednesday, December 11th, Wednesday, February 12th, Wednesday, March 5th (invitation only), and Wednesday, March 19th.


National Debate topic for 2013-2014

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico, or Venezuela


Under this broad heading our students, as novices, are limited to the following case limits.  We will focus on these two case limits to research and debate in class.


  • The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba by lifting its economic embargo (in order to normalize trade relations with that nation).



  • The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic assistance to Mexico.







* Calendar is subject to change *


Sept. 3 - 6: the nature of debate; selecting research partners; topic analysis; case limit exploration; finding articles related to the topic


Sept. 9 - 13: debate format; stock issues; begin research; examining the topic - what are economic issues with Latin America; mini-debates; definitions of debate terms


Sept. 16 - 20: gathering evidence and writing evidence cards; research; building and writing affirmative cases


Sept. 23 - 27: presenting arguments; cross-examination activity; rebuttals; negative issues; refutation chart


Sept. 30 – Oct. 4: presentation of select affirmatives; viewing a debate; Due: 1st Affirmative Case per partnership


Oct. 7 - 11: flowing tips (abbrev.) and practice; judging and ballots; research continued


Oct. 14 - 18: MEA Break: prepare for upcoming debates; practice rebuttals  


Oct. 21 - 25: Due: 2nd Affirmative Case per partnership; improving and enhancing cases and presentations; finding a book/author related to Latin America


Oct. 28 – Nov. 1: refutation chart; polished cases; reading topic/author-related book


Nov. 4 – 8: In-class policy debates; judging and reading


Nov. 11 – 15: In-class policy debates; judging and reading


Nov. 18 – 22: In-class policy debates; judging; L-D topic selection; developing an argument related to your book


Nov. 25 – 29: begin work on L-D debates; discussions of values and ethics


Dec. 2 – 6: researching and writing L-D cases


Dec. 9 – 13: In-class L-D debates; judging


Dec. 16 – 20: In-class L-D debates; judging


Jan. 2 – 3: In-class L-D debates; judging


Jan. 6 – 10: argument activities


Jan. 13 – 17: reading the play “12 Angry Men”; debate wrap-up




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