If your students are anything like mine, they think whoever is the loudest wins the argument! This resource will help you guide students into crafting sophisticated arguments that consider audience and purpose. Designed to be used in the planning phase of a debate, students will have access to thought-provoking questions based around the traditional stock issues of policy debate: topicality, inherency, harms, solvency, and significance. Constructing a Debate is ideal as a handout/graphic organizer for advanced and upper-level high school students; it is also flexible enough for you to teach into it to challenge younger students. Use it with any topic!
• Assignment Overview
• Alignment to Standards (AP Language and Composition and 11th/12th grade Common Core ELA)
• Constructing a Debate: Considerations (Handout)
• Constructing a Debate: Student Organizer
• Policy Debate Format: An Outline for Affirmative and Negative
This Constructing a Debate system has been a highly successful part of my AP Language and Composition classroom. It would also be appropriate for upper-level high school students, advanced or gifted and talented students, and competitive debate teams or clubs. This product is designed to be used to help students prepare for a policy (problem-solution) debate.
• Students are exposed to a wide variety of perspectives.
– Students must consider all sides of a divisive issue to thoroughly prepare a problem-solution argument.
– Students’ research must allow them to both concede and refute key points related to their arguments.
• Students must synthesize close reading skills and argumentation skills.
• Differentiation may come at many points: students’ access to the considerations handout, debate topics, the research students are expected to complete, etc. This resource is designed to be a flexible support for teachers and students.
• AP Language and Composition students will find that the student organizer functions as a highly effective synthesis essay outline. I use this in my classroom as a tool to help students break out of arguments that are driven by sources and into arguments shaped by each student’s individual stance on the issue.
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