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Current Events Club and Battle of the Brains Tournament!

Erik, Professor, J.D, MS, BS
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(1,007)
In this monthly club for middle school students, we will discuss, debate, speak, present and read current events on a weekly basis. The month culminates with a Battle of the Brains Current Events Tournament with Prizes!

Class experience

1. Independent Reading
Our Daily Current Events Reading makes reading, writing and learning the news fun and a daily habit for children. Students will read short articles every day. They will always find an interesting topic to read! Children will improve their non-fiction literacy and learn more about the outside world.

2. Vocabulary
Our current events reading have vocabulary lists, activities and assessments. Students can create their own dictionary of unfamiliar words; they can add to their log each day with each edition.

3. Weekly Writing
Students will have the opportunity to write their own news articles, speeches and presentations.  

4. Weekly Speech and Debates
Using our daily current events readings we will return to the Outschool Classroom each week to discuss, debate and speak on current events. Students will learn public speaking skills and debate skills. I teach 10-15 debate and speech classes each month and I am the founder and director of the nation's largest citywide debate league and so students will benefit from my passion and experience in teaching speech and debate. 

5. Dinner Debates
Students can share their knowledge with the whole family! Students can express their point of view based on reliable facts and participate in dinner conversations every day!

6. Games, Trivia, Contests, Prizes and More!
Each week in class we will have games, trivia and contests on our daily current events readings. And what is a game without Prizes! 

7. Geography Enrichment
Students will use context clues that the news articles direct the reader to learn about geography and to use interactive maps.
I have been teaching current events classes for ten years as a New York City School Teacher and another ten years as a full time debate teacher and director. With degrees in Political Science, Law, Social Studies, and United States History - current events has been my lifelong passion! 

I received my B.A. from U.C Berkeley (Double Major in Political Science and United States History), Jurist Doctorate from Hastings College of Law, and Masters Degree in Education at Pace University.  In 2002 I was accepted to Teach for America and I have been teaching since. I have been a public school teacher for ten years with the New York City Department of Education and taught speech and debate classes for about ten years with thousands of NYC students. My debaters have gone on to win city, state and national champion titles. I currently serve as Professor at Baruch College in the Communications Studies Department. I teach Debate and Argumentation classes as well as Political Rhetoric. 

As a teacher I founded New York City's scholastic debate leagues and served as Founder and Executive Director from 2011-2019 building the league into the largest urban debate league in the nation, serving thousands of students every year.  In 2020, I founded the NYC Elementary School Speech and Debate League and the Great Debaters Online program. 

I have received numerous awards in education including: Presidential Youth Award in the Arts and Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Institute of Museum and Library Studies and the White House Commission on the Arts and Humanities, United States Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers Fellowship, Fund for Teachers Fellowship, Plank Foundation Fellowship, Points of Light Civic Incubator Award, Robin Hood's GRIT, Teach for America Innovation Award Finalist, and the We are the Bronx Fellowship Award. 

I love teaching. My grandparents, parents and my brother are all educators. There is nothing more fun than sharing your passion with others. 

My philosophy of teaching is learning should be fun and challenging.  I always begin my classes with current events trivia.  My lectures are interactive with movie clips, songs, puzzles and other engaging tools.  We always practice our public speaking and debate skills. All my classes end with a fun and competitive speech and debate practice or tournament.  My mission is all students should have access to speech and debate.

My Press. Below are some news articles about me and my debaters! I owe everything to my own debate teacher and coach and so everyday my mission is to support future debaters! 

1. Skilled Young Orators Heading to the White House

2. Urban Debate Reborn

3. Energy, Pizza, and Evidence: Youth Debate in New York

4. From Baking Cupcakes to Making History
5. New York City Teacher Creates After School Debate League Lauded by the White House

6. No Debate, They Need Cash!
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
We will be discussing current events ranging from environmental issues to human rights to politics. I understand that current events can be controversial. I have been teaching debate for about twenty years, I was a debater for another ten years, and I have founded and directed the largest debate league in the nation! So I have substantial experience in speaking and debating on issues of controversy. My rule of thumb and one of the first things I say in class and our number one rule: RESPECT - we respect all viewpoints, politics and perspectives. As a teacher I am not focused on what the politics of students are but focused on HOW students express their opinions - public speaking skills, writing skills, reading skills, presentation skills, debate skills and social skills of respect towards all others. Additionally, for any issues of controversy we always discuss other viewpoints and arguments so that students learn and respect different perspectives.
Registration price includes current events reading materials which we will be using in class.  All reading materials are age appropriate and award winning current events resources used in thousands of classrooms nationwide. 

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(1,007)
Hi Everyone!  I have been involved in speech and debate as a student and educator my entire life.  I learned more on my Speech and Debate Club than all my high school, college and law school classes combined. I joined the Speech and Debate Team at... 
Group Class


for 4 classes
1x per week, 4 weeks
55 min

Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(1)
Completed by 17 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 10-15
3-18 learners per class

This class is no longer offered
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