Fun Classroom Citizenship Debates: Back to School Learning Skills (SEL)

Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
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Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
79 slides, 20 pages of handouts, 52 pages of lesson plans
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17 high-interest CLASSROOM DEBATES for BACK TO SCHOOL season!

Kick start your classroom community in SEPTEMBER.

The slideshow teaches everything. You just guide the class conversation!

Use this life-long tool over and over again!

  • Use it in SEPTEMBER during Back to School with your new class to set the tone for a year of learning!

  • Teach important lessons if you ever need to fill a period.

  • These debates are also a great way to kick off a Global Studies unit or English Language Arts unit on essay or persuasive writing!

  • Leave the detailed lesson plan for your substitute teacher to teach.

FAIR is not always EQUAL!?

Explore being an active citizen at school and in the world!

Help students COMMUNICATE and APPRECIATE differences in opinion.


Using these timeless citizenship debates is a perfect way to get students to think more about SEL:

  • who they are (Self-Awareness)

  • diversity and equity (Social Awareness)

  • communicating effectively (Relationship Skills)

The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is now.

DISCUSS the difference between equal and fair.

BUILD classroom community as students explore the difference between a citizen and a good citizen (or active citizen) 

REMIND students how to communicate respectfully, even when they disagree.

EMPOWER students to reflect on their ideas and to think about how equal doesn't always mean fair.

APPLY what they learn by asking students which groups of people are invisible?


  • "My students love debating, so this resource was great!"
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Jennifer C)

  • "Very thorough and has built a community in my classes. Thank you"
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Mary S)

  • "This is an exceptional high quality resource that is worth more than it is, once I opened this product I was so impressed with the professionalism and dedication that was put into creating a high quality informational unit that is based on reliable sources throughout the entire package! I am very pleased with this purchase as my scholars are too, for they are the ones that receive this credible, reliable, and highly beneficial learning information that gracefully supports students through the learning process with rigorous content, that allows deeper learning opportunities for those that need that deeper level concepts for true engagement into their learning experiences! Highly recommend this phenomenal resource."
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Deanna S)

  • "This resource has been a real lifesaver to both my lessons and teacher training. Many skills are covered in this resource and I use it at any stage in my curriculum as lead-in for new topics, to end of units or to reinforce and supplement certain areas. We move from a local to global perspective, and this resource guides you through the entire process. I eventually got the entire bundle, and it is an added value to my teaching resources. Thank you for an excellent product."
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Josephine M)

Please look at the PREVIEW pdf. It shows you everything you get!

  • If you're looking for the "easy button" here are my EASY products.

These high interest citizenship debates are a safe but powerful way to teach students that

  1. We can have opinions.
  2. My opinions can be different from yours.
  3. Your opinions can be different from mine.
  4. And both of our opinions can be equally valid.

The 17 debate questions go through a series of "fun" questions to more "serious" questions as they get students wondering about fairness and equality.

✅ The slideshow lesson teaches the concepts.

✅ You can also EDIT THE FILES to fit your classroom needs.

✅ The slideshow lesson is comprehensive and teaches the lesson:

  • DISTANCE LEARNING or 1:1 LEARNING in Google Classroom
  • FACE to FACE LEARNING in your real classroom


Create the following assignments in your Google Classroom

Assignment #1: 

  • File 3a Lesson A1 slideshow  (Student can view file)
  • File 4a Review - Lesson A1 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #2: 

  • File 3a Lesson A2 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout - option 1  (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review - Lesson A2 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #3: 

  • File 3a Lesson A3 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout - option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review - Lesson A3 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #4: 

  • File 3a Lesson A4 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout - option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review - Lesson A4 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #5: 

  • File 3a Lesson A5 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5a Handout - option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 4a Review - Lesson A5 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #6: 

  • Link to video:
  • File 3b Lesson B1 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 4b Review - Lesson B1 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #7: 

  • File 3c Lesson C1 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 5b Vocabulary Builder (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 5d Venn Diagram - Google Classroom version

Assignment #8: 

  • File 3c Lesson C2 slideshow (Student can view file)
  • File 6 Student Self-Evaluation handout (Make a copy for each student)
  • File 7a Chapter Review (Make a copy for each student)

OPTION 2: FACE to FACE Learning 

  • Teach using the Google Slideshow (FILE #3) - all of the slides are in this file
  • Lesson Plan (File 2b) identifies which slides and handouts you need for each lesson.

Recent global events during the coronavirus pandemic have also highlighted the need for conversations around empathy, equity, and compassion.

The Covid-19 pandemic makes it painfully obvious that we are all interconnected global citizens.

The danger, of course, is that when an issue affects some people more than others, it’s very easy for us to think it’s not my problem.

That’s why now is an especially important time for us to teach our students what it means to be good citizens and why it matters.

This is the time to explore issues of empathy, fairness, and equality.

  • Why do I need to stay at home or do physical distancing? I’m not going to get sick.

  • It’s mostly older people who are in danger. It’s not my problem. (No offense.)

  • The problem is that people are not getting vaccinated. Or, the problem is that the government is forcing people to get vaccinated (or shut down schools and businesses.)

  • It’s that country’s fault. Or, I don’t have to worry about it because my country is fine.

This is the time to remind students that while everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, we do have to respect that other people may have opinions different from ours.

(And those opinions matter just as much to them as our opinions matter to us!)

Even though we might not be at school, we need to explore how to be a good citizen… at school, at home, and in all of the communities we belong to, especially the global community.

NOTE: This package does not contain any information, examples, or language specifically about recent events in the US, systemic racism or the Coronavirus pandemic.

Again, that’s a good thing because that makes this lesson package timeless. Use this lesson today to address

  • systemic racism from a perspective of fairness, empathy and social justice.
  • Covid-19 and having to figure out distance learning,
  • or you can use it in the future when the next obstacle appears.

We need to explicitly teach students HOW to be good citizens so they can actively participate in our classroom/school community!

⭐ The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is now. 

NOW is the time to hook your students with high interest, visual lessons that introduce concepts of Citizenship, Empathy, and Fairness through FUN DEBATES!

PSST: If you know anybody who teaches Spanish, this resource is also available en español.

..... Do you want to do something FUN, but meaningful at the End of the Year?

  • Try this SURVEY so your students can see what kind of mindset they have.

  • Watch these VIDEOS and figure out if teamwork is the same as collaboration. (Spoiler: not always.)

  • This one is MY FAVORITE. Students have a lot of fun with the group activity in Section A. The viral video in Section D is shocking... but are we really surprised at this point?

My name is Michael Fuchigami. I'm the teacher behind Educircles.

  • I want to help you SAVE HOURS of PREP.

  • TpT support has clarified that we are not allowed to include contest information in our product descriptions or anywhere else on their platform. More info.

⭐⭐⭐ Teachers around the world have DOWNLOADED over 59,727 Educircles resources!

  • Check out where teachers have bought my resources (map.)

  • THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased an Educircles product.

  • 10% of your purchase helps students going through a tough time.

  • With your help, Educircles has DONATED $9,344.68 to STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH organizations!

  • Here's why I do what I do.

SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) in a world of Covid, Systemic Racism, and Constant Change...

  • Help students with SELF AWARENESS and SOCIAL AWARENESS. Start by asking your students Who is Invisible...

SAVE HOURS OF PREP (and money) with a bundle!

Why am I so passionate about 6Cs and Social-Emotional Learning? Because SEL helped save my life.

SAVE HOURS OF PREP WORK. These lessons are high-interest and visually appealing. It will hook your students!


▶️ Watch this preview video to find out more about the bundle:

In the zipped file, you get:

OVER A WEEK of lessons to do with your class to help your students understand empathy, fairness, and community through 17 debate questions.

  • 79 slides in POWERPOINT and GOOGLE SLIDE format
  • 55 page lesson plan PDF with 8 DIFFERENT lessons (45-55 min each.)
  • 2 page graphic organizer to analyze debate questions (HANDOUT + sample answer key)
  • 2 page Vocabulary Building Graphic Organizer and Venn diagram (HANDOUT + sample answer key)
  • 1 page Citizenship Learning Skills SELF-EVALUATION handout
  • 2 page Citizenship Review Assessment - What did you learn? (7 short answer questions + sample answer key.)

THIS IS A TOTAL OF 171 SLIDES / PAGES in 8 LESSONS. If you want to introduce citizenship and community participation, we just saved you an incredible amount of prep work!

And the slides and handouts look legit good.

NOTE: THIS LESSON IS PART OF A LARGER BUNDLE about Exploring the Six Cs / 21st Century Skills / Competencies

The Six Cs are a bunch of transferable skills that you can use at school, at home, at a job… pretty much anywhere. They’re learning skills to help us be successful in the 21st century.

Each Chapter package focuses on a different “C” and contains different lessons, slides, videos, and handouts. Although we use the same structure in each chapter (activity, video, vocabulary building), there is no overlap of content between packages.

Lessons can be purchased individually, or you can SAVE MONEY and purchase the entire unit as a BUNDLE.

PSST, do you know the one magic phrase that teachers should tell their students? It's not what you think. Hint: It helps build a growth mindset...


Lesson Plans / Handouts

  • You need Adobe Reader or something that can open PDF files
  • (OPTIONAL) You need Microsoft Word if you want to edit the DOCX handout files

Google Slideshow / Google Docs

  • We suggest using Chrome as your web browser to view the slideshow at its best
  • (OPTIONAL) You need a Google account if you want to make a copy and edit the Google slides


We provide over a week of lessons to do with your class to help your students explore what it means to actively participate in the communities that we belong to - whether we are members of our classroom, our city, our country, or the world.

In this package, we:

  • Introduce the concepts of empathy, fairness, and respecting different perspectives.
  • allow students to explore citizenship and community involvement by working through 17 question debates to develop critical thinking and the ability to support arguments and consider other points of view from our own.
  • provide discussion points of a YouTube video visually exploring global statistics - if the world were a village of 100..
  • allow for deeper exploration of the concept of “Citizenship” by playing with the term using the Frayer Model of understanding and a Venn diagram.


After this chapter, students will be able to explain that Citizenship is about:

  • Being part of a community (i.e. literally a citizen of a country or community)
  • Giving back to the community (i.e. being an ideal citizen)
  • Being part of several communities: school, country, global citizen

The concept of Citizenship is actually a little tricky. There are 3 separate ideas that we explore in this lesson bundle:

1. What is a citizen, literally?

The dictionary / literal definition of citizen is about “being a citizen of a particular country” (as in having a passport, and having legal rights from the government.)

2. What is an active citizen, or an “ideal citizen”?

We also explore the learning skills definition of a citizen, which is really about being a “good” citizen or an “ideal citizen” that is an active participant in society:

  • Do you understand local and global perspectives and address environmental, social, and economic problems through engaged citizenship
  • Do you take action to make a positive difference in the community and the world?
  • Do you participate in physical and virtual communities in a socially responsible and sustainable manner?

3. What are different communities that you can belong to (and be a citizen of)?

We explore being a citizen of a country, being a citizen of your local community / school community, as well as being a global citizen.


We provide over a week of lessons to do with your class to help them start to think about their values, their understanding of global and local injustices, and their concept of what an active citizen looks like.

(Each lesson is between 40-50 minutes long. We have a complete breakdown of ALL 8 LESSONS at the bottom.)

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • EXPERIENCE increasingly tough choices exploring fairness, empathy, critical thinking, and argument support
  • WATCH a visual representation about global facts and inequity
  • UNDERSTAND what “citizenship” is by using a vocabulary building graphic organizer (Frayer model) to brainstorm features of Citizenship, examples and non-examples of being a citizen, and finally narrow down essential characteristics of the word.


Teachers could use this package in their classrooms to introduce the concept of citizenship and participating both in the classroom, at school, and beyond.

1. Homeroom teachers

  • Do this package in the first month of class, to reflect on citizenship, and to practice a classroom culture of respectful communication. There are 17 debate questions for students to practice your classroom routines.
  • Teachers who have a social justice or a diversity / equity focus in the classroom will find the debate questions allow a high-interest, interactive way to introduce progressively difficult issues:
  • --- clean water vs medicine…
  • --- education vs war…
  • --- racism vs sexism…
  • --- Hunger - local vs global

2. English Language Arts teachers

This is an opportunity to link into oral communication / debate skills. Students will be looking into defending their choices with support through oral debate using a written graphic organizer to help them prepare their ideas.

This can also become a precursor to persuasive paragraph and essay writing. From a Bloom’s Taxonomy perspective, students get a chance to:

  • List ideas about their choice. (REMEMBER)
  • Explain their ideas / concept (UNDERSTAND)
  • Compare / contrast their ideas vs other points of view (ANALYZE)
  • Justify an opinion by appraising key criteria of their ideas, and then weighing which criteria is more important to them (EVALUATE)
  • Some students may be able to analyze the arguments of people on the other side of the debate, appraise which criteria is most important to them, and then develop a counter argument (CREATE)

3. Geography / Social Studies / Civics Teachers:

Possible ideas of what you could link to:

  • Roles and Responsibilities of Government and Citizens (Ontario Gr 5)
  • Responding to Global Issues (Ontario Gr 6)
  • Global Inequities - economic development & quality of life (Ontario Gr 8)

School leaders (Principals, Admin, Division Leaders) could use this package in their schools to create a common language and exploration of growth mindset.

4. School Learning Plans (SLPs) exploring “School Community,” “Diversity” or “Critical Thinking”

The 17 mini debate questions provide an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills and communication skills.

You could use this package and then explore ways students could help make the world a better place - both locally and globally.

Some of the debate questions begin to look at equity education concepts of empathy and fairness.

5. Common Language, Common Learning Goals

This unit provides a systematic way for a grade, division, or school to explore learning skills / character development as a framework of delivering provincial / state curriculum..

The debate questions provides everyone with a common experience between classes so that students can support each other, even though they’re in different classes. This is an opportunity for classes and extra-curricular clubs to develop social justice projects and open ended deep learning projects.

Doing the same (Frayer model) vocabulary building graphic organizer provides a common tool / framework that students and teachers can build around in other areas (i.e. math concepts, grammar concepts, science concepts, etc).

Ultimately, this chapter is meant to kick off a year / lifetime of discussion, as opposed to being a one-off activity. If all classes start off with the same approach, then throughout the year, as teachers do different activities, you could still connect it back to concepts of perspective, and recognizing that it’s okay for other people to disagree with you - can you empathize with their perspective, even though you don’t agree?


We based this schedule on a 50 minute period and providing around 40-45 minutes of content per lesson. (Let’s be honest. It takes your students a few minutes to wander into class, and you’ll probably need a few minutes at the end of class to go over homework or administrivia stuff for your class.)

Depending on your teaching style, how often you see your class, and classroom dynamics, you may find that you can get through all 8 lessons in 5 days… or it stretches out to two full weeks (10 days).

TEACHER TIP: If you’re short on time, pick and choose which debate questions to do.

DAY / LESSON 1 - Part 1 Activity Food for Thought - SLIDES 1-16 - 50 min

  • Introduction - What is a citizen (slide 1-2) - 5 minutes
  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 1 (slide 3 - 16) - 45 minutes
  • ---Introduction (slide 3 - 7)
  • ---Debate Question 1: Chips vs Chocolate (slide 8)
  • ---How to play (slide 9-13)
  • ---Debate Question 2: Early vs Night (slide 14)
  • ---Debate Question 3: Microwave vs Oven (slide 15)
  • ---Debate Question 4: Fork vs Spoon (slide 16)

DAY / LESSON 2 - Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) - SLIDES 17-30 - 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 2 (slide 17-22) - 25 minutes
  • ---Review how we play (slide 18) - 5 min
  • ---Debate Question 5: Only child vs Siblings (slide 19-20) - 5 min
  • ---Debate Question 6: Left Hand vs Right Hand and videos (slide 21-23) - 15 min

  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 3 - 25 minutes
  • ---Intro + Handout (slide 24-28) - 5 min
  • ---Debate Question 7: Sight vs Hearing (slide 29) - 10 min
  • ---Debate Question 8: Dog vs cat (slide 30) - 10 min

DAY / LESSON 3 - Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) - SLIDES 31-36 - 45 min

  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 3 continued - 45 minutes
  • ---Review what we did last time (slide 31) - 5 min
  • ---Debate Question 9: Vacation vs $500 (slide 32) - 10 min
  • ---Debate Question 10: Social Media vs YouTube (slide 33) - 10 min
  • ---Debate Question 11: 5 instruments vs 5 languages (slide 34) - 10 min
  • ---Debate Question 12: Uniform vs No Uniform (slide 35-36) - 10 min

DAY / LESSON 4 - Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) - SLIDES 37-45 - 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 4 - 50 minutes
  • ---Introduction of heavy stuff (slide 37) - 2 min
  • ---Minds on - 2 quotes (slide 38 - 42) - 15 min
  • ---What is empathy
  • ---What is fair?
  • ---Review what we did (slide 43) - 3 min
  • ---Handouts / Respect
  • ---Debate Question 13: Clean water vs Medicine (slide 44) - 15 min
  • ---Debate Question 14: Food vs Shelter (slide 45) - 15 min

DAY / LESSON 5 - Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) SLIDES 46-49 - 50 min

  • Activity Food for Thought - Round 4 continued - 50 minutes
  • ---Review respect and note taking (slide 46) - 5 min
  • ---Debate Question 15: Racism vs Sexism (slide 47) - 15 min
  • ---Debate Question 16: Education vs War (slide 48) - 15 min
  • ---Debate Question 17: Helping your students vs helping a country (slide 49) - 15 min

DAY / LESSON 6 - Part 2 Video - SLIDES 50-56 - 45 min

  • Part 2 Video - 45 minutes
  • ---Introduction - Minds On (slide 50-53) - 20 minutes
  • ---Watch video (World as a 100 people) (slide 54-56) - 25 minutes

DAY / LESSON 7 - Part 3 Vocabulary Builder - SLIDES 57-74 - 40 min

  • Introduce Part 3 - Understand (Vocabulary Builder) - Slide 57
  • ---Graphic Organizer set up - Slide 58-59
  • ---Minds on - Slides 60-61
  • ---Filling out the graphic organizer - Slides 62-65
  • ---Revising graphic organizer - Slides 66-70
  • ---Other Communities - Slide 71
  • ---Summary - Slides 72-74

DAY / LESSON 8 - Self Evaluation / Review - SLIDES 75-79 - 40 min

  • Student Self Evaluation - slide 75 - 78 - 10 min
  • Chapter Review Test - Slide 79 - 30 min

THE READ ME file in the PREVIEW file section tells you exactly what you get when you buy this product.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below! You can also find information about this Good Citizenship Lesson Plan package or 21st Century Competencies / Skills on our website.

Version 2.8 Update (May 13, 2021)

  • No changes to teaching content.
  • Now includes a PDF (File 1b) with current TpT Gift Card giveaways for you to recover the cost of investing in this product!

Version 2.6 Update (Sep 7, 2020)

  • This product has been re-organized to help you find what you need.
  • No changes to teaching content.
  • Shorter file names.
  • Google Drive
  • -- Folder 1: files to print and teach.
  • -- Folder 2: files you can edit.
  • -- Folder 3. files for Google Classroom.

The complete change log can be found at the end of the READ ME FIRST file.

Total Pages
79 slides, 20 pages of handouts, 52 pages of lesson plans
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.


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