Posts Tagged debating

Champions Megamix

Thanks to everyone who suggested songs on Twitter for my Champions Megamix CD, which played on the way to the Senior Debating State Final last Friday.  In case you were wondering, here were the tracks I went with, in order of play:

  1. Eye of the tiger – Survivor
  2. We are the champions – Queen
  3. O Fortuna
  4. Without me – Eminem
  5. With a little help from my friends – The Beatles
  6. Hold on – Wilson Phillips
  7. Long way to the top – AC/DC
  8. Playing to win – Little River Band/John Farnham
  9. All fired up – Pat Benatar
  10. Simply the best – Tina Turner
  11. Champion – Kanye West
  12. Stronger – Kanye West
  13. We are family – Sidter Sledge
  14. The way we get by – Spoon
  15. Today – Smashing Pumpkins

It’s a killer playlist!  Put this on and you will be able to take on the world!  I made copies for the students to listen to while they study for HSC Trials 😛

What would you put on your ultimate champions playlist?  What is your ‘eye of the tiger’?

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State Debating Finals

I was so proud on Friday to take my AWESOME Senior Debating team to the State Final.

Our team valiantly argued the Negative side of the topic That we should publish school league tables.  It was a close debate, and we had a lot of support from the crowd!  Ultimately the other team won the debate and the Hume-Barbour trophy, but as finalists our team won the English Speaking Union prize, and are now also eligible for the Elite Athletes and Performers Scheme at the University of Sydney (something we did not know, weren’t expecting, and were thrilled to hear!)

Watch the ABC News story about the debate.

One of my students gave the most moving thank you speech at the end of the debate I have ever heard…she said really nice things about me as their coach and we all started to cry!  Can’t believe another group of Year 12’s are almost leaving.  I have had so much fun coaching this team 🙂




I can’t wait to start using Voicethread next Term!  I first heard about this tool at the AATE conference in July, and it turns out a few of my colleagues have been using it for awhile…if anyone has links to Voicethread projects they have done with their students I’d love to see them!

My initial thoughts are that I would like to use Voicethread for:

  • Year 9 poetry unit – students compose poetry and read it aloud with accompanying images for other students to view.  Perhaps also some collaborative poetry writing?
  • Debating Training – One week debates.  Students can record a real debate.  Starts with 1st Affirmative speaker, then following speakers get 24 hours each to respond; runs like a ‘real’ debate.

Some great tips and ideas for using Voicethread can be found on Wesley Fryer’s blog.  I have just joined the English Group on the Voicethread Ning, and am hoping to get more ideas and tips from there.

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Organising School Debating

Once again it is that time of year when school debating teams start to pass the zone level and compete for Regional and State titles.  This also makes it the time of year when debating coaches like myself need all the support from staff they can get, but unfortunately seem to have used up all their favours just getting the zone rounds done.

I think that debating is such a worthwhile activity for students to be involved in – both competitively, and in the more relaxed environment of in-class debating.  However, I think that schools that are entering teams into debating competitions need to understand the full range an amount of resources that are needed to support the teams.  Here are my first thoughts on what a school needs to plan for – can you add more?

  • Each team will participate in at least three zone-level ’round robin’ debates.  This means cover of some kind for at least three half days for each teacher taking a team.
  • If a team wins their zone, they go on to play schools that are progressively further away.  This usually means close to a full day of cover is needed for each debate beyond inter-zone finals.
  • If my Year 11 team make it to the State Final they will have been in around nine debates.  This means up to nine days away from most classes!
  • Debaters need lots of coaching to do well.  Weak debaters need coaching so they feel comfortable in the competition; strong debaters need coaching if you want them to go as far as possible in the comp.  This could mean losing around one lunchtime per fortnight, or missing more classes –  you will probably try to use your ‘free’ periods, meaning the kids will always be out of the same classes.
  • Do they have clean shirts, ties, blazers etc.?  Or will “someone” i.e. the coach have to organise this?  The school may need to develop a system for borrowing formal uniform items.
  • Debates have associated equipment – bell, stopwatch, palm cards, chairperson forms, glasses for water on the tables…  You will need a designated storage space so these things are easy to find, especially in schools with more than one teacher coaching the teams.

I’m hoping to work out a real ‘budget’ – both for funding and staff support – for debating in my school.  We’re always going to want more than we can have, but schools need to at least be realistic about what they are signing on for, I think.