Our Program 


Nearly every month during the school year we host elementary school debate and speech tournaments and workshops. We alternate each month between Saturday and weekday tournaments and workshops to accommodate schools and students with different schedules. We even have a monthly digital speech tournament for those who cannot make Saturday or After School Tournaments. At the end of the year we host the City's Elementary School Speech and Debate Championships. Saturdays Tournaments are from 9:00am-3:00pm and include a breakfast, several rounds of speech and debate events, lunch, an awards ceremony and sometimes special workshops and guests.   Our After School Weekday Tournaments/Workshops are from 3:00pm-6:00pm but do not include meals so we can start and end as soon as possible.While our tournaments are competitive, they are first and foremost educational.  All students are recognized for their accomplishments. Our tournaments are fun, inspiring, but also challenging and academically rigorous for students. 


Our staff includes some of the top debate coaches and educators in the city and nation. We offer a a year round debate and speech curriculum to schools. Each month we focus on: (1) a Core Speech Skill, (2) a Core Debate Skill, (3) three different debate topics. Every other month are new debate topics, lessons and materials. Each tournament represents the culmination of student preparation on these topics. So for example, if our September/October debate topics are global warming, banning zoos, and increasing taxes on junk foods, Students and Teachers will receive materials on these topics, training, and a culminating tournament. With over one hundred standards aligned lessons, you can create a year long debate course for your school and/or simply use our resources for a once a week after school club. Our curriculum is completely flexible to your needs. 


Our staff can visit schools or schools can come to our office for teacher trainings. We can also schedule phone call or videoconference trainings if these are more convenient. You can contact us at info@elementarydebate.org to schedule any trainings. Schools need to be members of the NYC Elementary School Debate and Speech League. 


Nearly every other month we offer weekday and/or Saturday workshops for elementary school speech and debate teams at our tournaments. These workshops are usually from 3:00pm-6:00pm (weekdays) and  9:00am-12:00pm (Saturdays) to prepare students and teachers for upcoming tournaments. Workshops feature guest speakers, demonstration debates, practice debates, and other activities to support students as well as teachers but in a non-competitive tournament culture. 


We use the world's largest and most popular debate formats including Parliamentary and Public Forum Debate. Parliamentary Debate is the most popular debate format at the collegiate level in the United States as well as one of the most popular debate formats in middle school and high school debate in New York City. Therefore, all our elementary students can continue debate through middle school, high school, college and beyond.  We also offer speech event opportunities as well. We will be piloting Original Oratory, Declamation, Impromptu Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Congressional Debate. 


In addition to our in-person tournaments on Saturdays and Weekdays we also offer a monthly digital speech tournament where students upload their written speeches and a video of themselves delivering their speech.  Each month we have a different theme for the speech. Students have approximately one month to write and deliver a speech. Our judges will review each written and video submission and select the top winners of the tournament. This is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their writing and public speaking skills each month. And also an excellent opportunity for students who cannot make our in person tournaments but still want to participate and/or students who want to do both! 

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