• Sharpstown International School Debate 2018-2019

    Instructor: Mr. Brian Levinson                 Room: A106

    Email: BLevinso@HoustonISD.org


    DESCRIPTION: During the high school portion of your academic career, you obtain the building blocks, both educationally and socially, that will help you excel in college, then into whatever career you choose. Out of all these valuable skills, the ability to communicate with others in a clear, engaging fashion is one of the most important. No matter what career you decide to go into, speaking skills will be required at the very least to get you a job during an interview. All sorts of professions require talented speakers and debaters: lawyers, teachers, actors, executives, and politicians all must know how to communicate clearly and convincingly. In this course, you will learn those skills. We will build and improve upon the foundations of communication you learn in a Language Arts class, add creativity and fun, and build a skill set that will leave you well equipped to take on any future challenges.  You are on your way to explore how public speaking can make you a more informed and prepared global citizen.



    This course is designed to help students:

    1. Gain confidence and experience in public speaking
    2. Perform a variety of speeches in class that require expositive, persuasive, debate, parliamentary, and interpretive skills
    3. Locate sources through research and differentiate between reliable and unreliable sources
    4. Incorporate sources into speeches and conversations in order to support a position
    5. Become proficient in research techniques, including Internet research, newspaper research, periodical research, and primary research (interviews)
    6. Increase their working knowledge of current events
    7. Differentiate between fact, opinion, and fact-driven opinion
    8. Develop critical thinking skills and the ability to look at both sides of an issue
    9. Develop an appreciation for opposing viewpoints
    10. Develop an awareness of posture, vocal quality, personal appearance, and verbal and nonverbal communication in all speaking situations, including personal interviews
    11. Exhibit a logical arrangement of ideas in writing and in speech
    12. Exhibit the ability to draw logical conclusions from critical evaluation of facts and ideas.

    At the Beginning of Class/Participation          GRADE: 10%

    • Come in quietly, find your seat, and get ready for class. Do not come into the room until you are ready for debate.
    • When the bell rings be quite and wait for the teacher to call you to attention for the morning “briefing”.
    • Students will complete Do Now activities 10% of Grade
    • Homework will be evaluated.


    Cell Phone and Technology Policy

    • Level II Acts of Misconduct Include Such Behavior as: “Use or operation of paging devices, including beepers, cell phones, electronic pagers, or any other type of electronic communication system, on school campuses or at functions during school hours. Such devices may be used at a time and place as determined by the individual campus in coordination with the campus Shared-Decision-Making Committee (SDMC)”.
    • Sharpstown International School SDMC decision: Cell phones may be used in class for instructional purposes under the direct supervision and discretion of the teacher.
    • Students will refrain from: Having headphones in ears during instructional time and texting, using social media, or “checking” phones in class will not be permitted.


    Daily Work          GRADE: 40%

    Class work and homework 40%: will include a variety of assignments, classroom participation, brainstorming activities, current event articles, quizzes, notes, flow sheets from classroom debates, rough drafts of speeches, debates, and other presentations.  There may be other assignments as directed by the instructor. Some specific areas of concentration will be: debate presentations, organization and completeness of research files and folders, major tests, projects, topic analysis presentations, philosophy and other major classroom presentations.


    Tournaments/Exams          GRADE: 50%

    • Tournaments: This is an academic class.  Students are therefore required to participate in Saturday Tournaments.  Summative Assessments will be based on attendance of Tournaments 50%.  Students will NOT receive grades based on winning.  Students will be evaluated using the Tournament Formula: Total Speaker Points/divided by # of rounds= Tournament Grade.
      • 20-25 average points= 70
      • 26 average points= 75
      • 27 average points= 80
      • 28 average points= 85
      • 29 average points= 90
      • 30 average points=100 (Revisions will be announced on the HISD HUB)
    • Seminars: When seminars are announced they are required and will be given a Tournament Grade based on attendance. Pass/Fail.

    Debate Tournament Schedule

    1st 9 Weeks

    September 29, 2018

    HUDL Tournament 1

    October 13, 2018

    HUDL Seminar U of H

    October 27, 2018

    HUDL Tournament 2

    2nd 9 Weeks

    November 17, 2018

    HUDL Tournament 3

    December 1, 2018

    HUDL Tournament 4

    3rd 9 Weeks

    January 19, 2019

    HUDL Tournament 5

    February 2, 2019

    HUDL Champ. Qualifier

    March 2, 2019

    HUDL City Championship


    Students are expected to attend all tournaments.  Students are responsible for making arrangements with jobs, faith, social life, school work, tutorials, other school commitments, etc. to insure that they are able to attend these tournaments.  Tournaments are not “field trips”, they are academic competitions for an academic class.  Students must make them a priority, and be responsible for making the necessary arrangements to attend.








    Professional Dress


    Tournament Etiquette and Expectations

    • Our team will remain together, in the cafeteria, during the tournament. Students will not be outside the cafeteria team area, in the hallways, or in groups in other areas in the school.
    • After rounds our coach will need to teach. Other students should not interfere with conversations or teaching during this time.
    • All students will adhere to the Houston Independent School District Extracurricular Code of Student Conduct
    • Students engaging in extracurricular activities represent not only themselves, but also other students and the school district when performing, competing, or participating in extracurricular activities

    “The Extracurricular Code of Conduct extends beyond the Houston ISD Student Code of Conduct not only in types of behavior prohibited, but also in corresponding consequences and jurisdiction for imposing discipline. This Extracurricular Code of Conduct will be enforced with all students grades K-12 participating in extracurricular activities.”

    “Students who participate in extracurricular activities that involve competition among schools and school districts will conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner at all times. This includes behavior toward visiting teams or hosting teams as well as the opponent’s fans. Houston ISD participants will be noted for clean, tough, competitive play. Praise your opponent and compete beyond your ability.”

    Student’s Debate Period: ______________                                       ID #___________________


    Student First Name: (print) __________________    Student Last Name: (print) ____________


    Student Email: ______________________________________________________________


    Student’s Cell Phone Number: ________________________________


    *Please note that some subjects may arise in class of a sensitive nature. It is not the teacher’s intent or the intent of Mr. Levinson to persuade, change, ridicule, or change students’ belief systems. If these subjects arise in an educational manner it will strictly be to challenge the logic, reasoning, and thinking behind these matters in order to properly defend them on both sides of the argument. * Our goal is not to teach students “What to Think” but “How to Think Properly and Critically”


    Return this formed signed by you and your parent

    Your signature asserts that you have reviewed the SIS Debate class syllabus/course description/rules/procedures (ALL pages) and accept to not only follow the course guidelines, but also to assume the challenges with which you will be presented throughout the school year in a determined and responsible manner.


    I have read and understand the syllabus, rules, and expectations of Mr. Levinson’s Debate Class. I am committed to comply with the expectations.


    __________________________________                   _______________________________________

    Printed Student’s Name                                                                                  Printed Parent’s Name


    ________________________________________                                   ____________________________________


    __________________________________                                   ________________________________________

    Signature of Student                                                                                          Signature of Parent


    __________________________________                                                ___________________________________



    Date of Signature                                                                                               Date of Signature


    _______________________________________                              _______________________________________



    Parent email




    Parent cell phone/home phone