Jan 31, 2009

run a smarter extemp prep room

So you've been asked to run extemp prep. It's daunting. You have to post panels (rooms and speaking order) and topics (three per speaker, every 7 minutes), move speakers around in panels when their debate rounds run late, and keep anxious novices quiet and sane. If you fail, the entire tournament will run late.

Here are some tips to help you not fail.

1. When extempers enter, have them sign in by circling the number next to their code. This lets you immediately know who's late, and, more important who can be moved around. This is the single smartest thing you can do, which is why I'm placing it first.

2. Necessary materials: dry erase board and markers, masking tape (clear tape is too tough to peel off surfaces), scissors, pens, paper, a timer or digital clock, a booming voice, patience.

3. Announce the rules before you start posting. Re-announce them when the tardy teams show up.

4. Keep the rules simple. I have three: no talking, no electronic devices (such as cell phones or iPods), do not leave without permission.

5. Convince tournament authorities to provide an extra half hour between the first A rounds, if they're running successively.

6. Bring something to read when the first three speakers have already left and the pace slows down.

7. Place topics in at least two locations, so you aren't gored to death in the onslaught when you post Speaker #1.

8. Remind students to double-check the posting before leaving.

9. Circulate around the room to check for chicanery.

10. Have a direct way to communicate with the tab room, either via walkie-talkie or cell phone. It may save your life.

11. Do all these things well, and you will be cursed by your success and asked to run extemp prep forever and ever amen.


Aaron said...

Novice PF quote(s) of the day:

Debater one: "Pouring investments on scientists will grow jobs."

Debater two: "Like pouring water on corn will grow biodiesel?"

Debater one: "I think growing jobs is more impressive."

Debater two: "The only thing more impressive than growing biodiesel would be growing hydrogen fuel cells."

Debater one: "Invested scientists will be able to grow those."

TeacherRefPoet said...

It could be worse than extemp prep. My wife knows a little parliamentary procedure. That information got out, and now she'll be in every Congress round between now and about 2035.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I'm usually only in the first half of Congress at any tournament - they need fresh judges and by that time I've already laid the smack down on the students.

Although next year I may be willingly taking on extemp prep. I figure if anyone gets out of line I'll make 'em change a diaper or something.

Melissa said...

Oh if only you were in the Congress round I scored yesterday. The students were rude, obnoxious, and out of control.

Fortunately, the Parli took several opportunities to, uh, put the smack down. And I took opportunities on ballots to remind people that even though it's good to have fun, they should also remember their manners and professionalist.

Melissa said...

ism. Professionalism.