Arkansas Communication 
and Theatre Arts Association

Student Congress blog

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  • 15 Sep 2012 8:04 PM | Deborah Ashcraft

    The first year I brought students to "StuCo", we were in "observation" mode.  We did not know what to expect.  I didn't know how to instruct them either because I had no prior experience with the event. 

    It is one of my favorite events of the year.  I love seeing the passion and the focus on persuasive speaking.  Here are a few things I believe a first year coach should know:
    1) Students must research the bills assigned to their house and the senate; keep the research next to the bill; write both pro & con speeches for each bill - all of them if possible, but definitely the ones in their committee and house.  At a minimum they should have a pro/con T-chart for each bill. 
    2) READ the RULES in the STUDENT CONGRESS PACKET. Make certain the students READ the RULES.
    Teaching them parliamentary procedures increases their confidence and reduces their fear. 
    4) Dress like you belong in the setting. We have found amazing $5 three-piece suits at GoodWill stores.  Community members are also eager to help students who need assistance too.    
    5) Have 2 names on each bill and list the primary author first because that author will be the one who delivers the authorship speech.
    6) Create BLOCK LETTERING name plates on card stock. I like using powerpoint; it's easy to turn a name upside down if you use text art.  Make & bring extra ones too. I have 3 name plates for each delegate.  I give them one, and I don't tell them I have the extra for when they have lost the first one.
    7) There is a spirit of cooperation that is essential.  This element is what distinguishes this debate from other competitive styles of debate.  Everyone is working on a common goal - to improve the quality of life for our citizens. 
    8) Because the billis that the students write may end up on the Governor's desk, we take it very seriously and with great pride.  It is an honor and a great responsiblity to represent our schools and communities.   

    I really wanted to keep it to 5 items, but... once I'm on a roll, it is hard to stop.  I hand it off to you now to add your words of wisdom / hints for success to this. 


  • 30 Oct 2011 12:36 PM | Deleted user
    Please help your students and the judges by making sure that they always say their last name and school number and letter when they are permitted to speak by the chair.  Say it loud and clear!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 30 Oct 2011 12:29 PM | Deleted user

    For those of you who haven't printed placards before and for those who have:

    Avery has a great software download called Design Pro!!!!  It is free!  Just download the software and then go to "Design From Scratch". Look for Large Tent Cards, #5309.  Get some 8 1/2 X 11 inch card stock paper and play away!  Your placards will be the correct size (per our rules) and look professional.  No markers, no mess!  Print the name and school number and letter in that order for both sides!  Judges and the stu co committee will love you for this!

  • 29 Oct 2011 9:46 PM | Deleted user

    Because the University of Arkansas and Hendrix College were the only two colleges to register this year, the stu co committee allowed us to be innovative.

    Hendrix and U of A will be bringing more delegates!  Both schools will compete with each other.  The schools will split into 4 delegations with delegates from both schools on the same team!

    We are very excited that students from Harding University and UCA will be joining us!  So we will have 4 delegations with 6 students in each delegation.

    Collarboration is the name of the game for the Senate. 

  • 27 Oct 2011 5:50 AM | Deborah Ashcraft

    Every session has an opportunity to earn points for your team.  Probably the most difficult session for points is during the caucus meeting, especially if your team doesn't have anyone running for an office.  The secret is to make certain that your delegates meet candidates during the lobbying time on Sunday afternoon; they should find multiple candidates to endorse so they have a reason to speak. 

    Each candidate is guaranteed an opportunity to speak, but nomiination speeches for Party Leader, Speaker of the House and Senate are limited by time. There is a chance that the delegates may miss an opportunity to speak because the time has lapsed.  Don't hesitate; grab an opportunity to speak early in the nomination process. 

    Remember to read the rules about how we handle elections.  The delegates do not present nomination speeches for clerks or secretaries.

    Prepare to have a great time.  We appreciate every coach who has volunteered their time for this event.  

    Debbie Ashcraft, Monticello High School

  • 24 Oct 2011 11:06 AM | Hannah Sawyer (Administrator)
    Have questions about Student Congress? Feel free to leave a post. Make sure to include your name and/or school so that someone can accurately respond. 

ACTAA:  Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association is a non-profit professional organization serving educators of Oral Communication, Debate, Forensics, Theatre Arts, and Dance in Arkansas.

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