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Pear Deck. It makes your slideshows interactive. I haven’t used it, but I was in a workshop that went over this and utilized it. I am also in a facebook group where a teacher mentioned using it to break students into groups virtually (each group works on a slide).
If you don’t utilize an LMS either as a school or for your classes, it’s easy to set one up for your team. That way all of your stuff can be in one place — you can post announcements, give assignments, etc. I personally love Canvas, and there is a free option of Canvas that you could use for your team. Google classroom and Blackboard are others.
We know that advocacy and promotion is crucial in the sustainability of our activity. I wrote letters to send to principals to notify them of district coaching awards and to superintendents for administrator of the year. I see the impact of the letters that are sent on behalf of NSDA to my principal when students are named All-American, etc. This is another way we can promote. My letter templates are attached. Note that there is some Kentucky-specific language and they have our district letterhead, but feel free to use as you see fit.
Feedback from coaches in my district:
(1) Everybody likes it; seems to keep students from rushing in those final speeches. One coach mentioned the now imbalance of time spent between the first and second speakers on a team and would like to FF to also be 3 minutes.
(2) This is also well received in my district.
(3) Haven’t really seen an impact, positive or negative.
(4) This didn’t impact my district as we generally followed those guidelines to begin with. I personally agree with the others about eliminating it.
(5) Are you in favor of the 3 min Summary rule being passed as the official PF event rules? YES
(6) Are you in favor of the 3 min prep time rule being passed as the official PF event rules? YES
General tournament structure:
– Agree with Adam on the expectations for students and judges regarding rooms.
– No food/drink in classrooms.
– We use tabroom for all tournaments in our state. Having dance cards and master ballots has eliminated the need to sign in/write anything on the board.
– Utilize hallway monitors
– Make special note of rooms that would use furniture for a particular event and assign based on teachers you know are not a “problem”
– I have my team take pictures or video every classroom that is being used in their section. They are responsible for making sure that it matches at the end of the day. I then do a final scan of the rooms with my captains just for a double-check.
– Definitely note who your custodial staff will be on that day and establish a relationship with that person. I always make sure I get a walkie-talkie so I can communicate any needs.
Our biggest cost is trophies. Because I have too much on my plate, I always forget to get a sponsor. I have had students in the past willing to take this on and have secured trophy sponsors. A colleague of mine drafted a sponsorship letter that she sends to every organization and department head in her school, as well as known community members. She breaks it down into manageable donations and always gets her trophies sponsored. For example, LD trophies are sponsored by the mock trial team and prose trophies are sponsored by NHS.
Food — Decide on your lunch options and sell tickets that morning. Estimating an amount of pizza to order and hoping for the best generally leaves you with extra. Only order as much as you need to cover the tickets. Some tournaments have utilized food trucks, which eliminates the need to purchase food on your own. I also assign team members to bring in concession items (cans of soda, bags of chips, candy, etc). This makes it pure profit. They also are responsible for providing hospitality room items as well. I create a sign-up genius with food needs.
I have two sets of guidelines that are given at the beginning of the year — one for returning members and one for new members. The main differences are the fees (structured so that new members have their NSDA dues included), number of events, and audition materials. I have attached the new member guidelines. This is given to students who want to join the team, and their parents have to sign the permission form that says they have reviewed the guidelines. I also hold a new parent meeting where I go over all the specifics and answer questions.
Last year we started making folders for the students, which I have also attached. Folders have the essential info and is a place for them to keep their ballots, scripts, etc. They are to bring their folders to every practice.
Recruitment is hard. We focus our efforts at the beginning of the year. We’ve done a variety of things: go over to our feeder middle schools to recruit the spring prior, have a booth at freshman orientation, put up flyers (this year we used the template that NSDA provided for member posters; example is attached), ask teachers for recommendations, make video announcements, send current team members to English classes to talk… I don’t know what the magic bullet is.
I’m lucky that our main feeder school has a forensics program and we’ve been able to grow/maintain our numbers with students who know what the activity is. I think that is the main issue: how do you appropriately educate potential students on what speech and debate is?
This is a big question in our District too. We’ve been piloting the use of internet in Extemp prep for the last two years, and we’ve found that it has greatly expanded participation in Extemp, without impairing the competitiveness of the field.
I would be interested to see what pilots are being used in other districts and what their experiences are, especially for internet usage. We have not been piloting this, and will not this year either. Our main concern is the ethical issue of peer to peer or even student to coach communication via messaging apps if connectivity is allowed.