One of the biggest challenges I find my students have is understanding exactly what the bill's are asking. I've seen quite a few different forms floating around for gathering information for speeches but none truly met the needs of my students. This form asks students to dissect the bill before heading to the internet for information.
The essential question remains: What is the bill asking? From there, students are asked to write out their specific questions to be answered. This allows them to formulate an educated opinion.
The next biggest mistake I find is that students are strictly pro or con and don't take the time to understand both points of view. Two things happen then. 1- They can not anticipate questions supporting the opposing stance. 2- they can not be prepared to switch views in order to ensure they get the chance to speak in session!
Therefore the backside has pro and con boxes to write out the argument and a matching box for sources and information supporting the argument.
********How do I use this form?********
I print the bills on yellow paper and put them in a three ring binder. Then I print a bunch of these forms pre- hole punched for the binder. Students read and annotate the bill before they fill out the form and research. Lastly, they print relevant articles to insert into the binder.