This packet contains information on how to hold a successful classroom debate in Social Studies classroom on a topic of Syrian Refugees. However, all handouts might be used to explore any topic of your or your students' choice. The packet contains whole class instruction : introduction to a debate, debate format, and the debate vocabulary and types of speeches; individual handouts for the audience/jury (scoring sheet and reflection); judges' manual and common phrases to use for constructive feedback; common phrases to use for presenters and instructions on how to make their claim. In addition, you will find a rubric for the teacher to evaluate individual presenters and the poster that students will make to present their claims.
This debate took me 3 days to conduct. It is suggested that if you like this particular topic you may want to pre-teach a background story on the topic of Syrian Refugees before you have the class to debate. I have used a lesson from the Constitutional Rights foundation ( free) http://www.crf-usa.org/images/pdf/SyrianRefugeeCrisis_Package.pdf to pre-teach my students.
The entire debate lesson took me three 90min lessons:
Day 1: Read the background story and discussed as a class. Students were given an opportunity to choose pro- and con- sides ( whole class)
Day 2: Students conducted an extensive research in the library and gathered evidence for their claim; then they selected their own team's strong speakers ( 3 from each team, and 3 assistants for each team). Each team created a poster; the teacher has selected 2 judges ( 3 in total, including the teacher) and used judge's manual to train them while others were getting ready with their topics; the rest of the students were jury/audience.
Day 3: Actual debate and judging/scoring
My students enjoyed this activity and it was very successful. You may replace the topic with any topic of your choice; the handouts will match any theme.