Are you looking for a way to improve your students' classroom discussion skills? Are you interested in incorporating debate into your lessons but wary of the learning curve or time demands? Do you want to teach your students how to disagree with each other in a respectful manner while exploring their thoughts on controversial issues? Are you intimidated by the Common Core Standards of incorporating more discussion into your classroom routine?
This high-interest activity allows students to develop speaking, listening, and debate skills without having to learn complex and time-consuming policies and rules of formal styles of debate. The topic focused on in this debate is whether or not the US should help Syrian refugees.
Included in these zipped files are a teacher's guide, guidelines for expectations and procedures, and student handouts, including a worksheet to complete before the roundtable debate and a post-roundtable reflection writing prompt. There is a link for a free, high-level non-fiction text to use for the debate. Simply print the text, and students will complete a close reading of the text and prepare to discuss it in a roundtable debate. During the discussion, students will practice and develop the skills of showing initiative and attentiveness, reflective listening, citing evidence, making connections, and being respectful listeners to other students. The files include information on associated Common Core Standards along with suggestions for differentiation and assessment methods.
This activity requires one and one-half to two class sessions to complete, and once students complete it once, it requires less preparation.
Best of all, this lesson keeps kids engaged and challenged! I have used this for eleven years in my public speaking and debate classes and my students ask to do it again and again!