Whose up for a little debate?

I watched an amazing teacher (Kelly Boland Hohne) do a debate with an upper grade class. I love how it really engaged the students. There was so much talking and working by the students. It combined opinion, informational and narrative reading and writing as well as numerous speaking and listening skills. I set out to figure out how it would look in a K-2 classroom. I have been playing around with the structure, however, what I did find out is that 1) kids love it! and 2) the possibilities are endless.

The first debate I tried out was “Do skunks make good pets?”  I broke the debate down into 3 steps 1) Listen 2) Caucus and 3) Debate. The basic outline of the debate it below.

What might a debate look like in my classroom?

1. Listen

You can read aloud a text or do a video aloud on a text  (announce the debate question before, so students can listen with the lens of the debate).You can show multiple texts around a topic. The purpose of the listen step is so students can gather reasons around the question. You can also teach students to take notes during the listen portion for the debate. For the skunk debate I read aloud “A Pet for Petunia” and we watched a video called “skunks 101”. These two text provided students with reasons on both sides and were a combination of fiction and nonfiction as well a combination of video and text. You can assign students a side or let them choose. Line students up in 2 lines facing each other, they can then shake the hand of the student across from them (their opponent) – tell them to remember their opponent

2. Caucus

Students gather with the students of the same side (example: All students that are pro-skunks as pets can meet together) Students share ideas and the reasons to support their argument they were thinking about. The purpose is so students can strengthen their arguments and prepare for the debate.

3. Debate

Students meet the person they are debating from the other team. The person whose hand they shook. They can find a quiet spot around their room to sit facing their debate partner.  They tell their debate partner the reasons they have and talk back to the reasons their partner said.Image

What makes a good debate question?

– Something open ended, where there is evidence on both sides.

– Students need to argue both side so make sure there are reasons on both sides that show up clearly in the texts.

What can I debate?

Anything

– Debates are good in any unit

– Fairy tale example : Who is more evil the stepmother or the witch in Hansel and Gretel?

– Nonfiction example: Are snakes dangerous?

– Series example: Is Junie B. Jones selfish?

– Cross genre: Are skunks good pets? (after reading a story and listening to an informational book on skunks)

What can I teach into?

– Debates hit many Common Core standards around speaking and listening as well as the opinion/argument standards

– Possible lessons around debate

– Sticking to your position

– Using text evidence

– Listening to your opponent and asking them questions

– Taking notes to support your side

– Content area knowledge

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Test Me Maybe?

Nobody deals with the stress of the test better than Mrs. M and Ms. C at P.S. 169…so proud to say I know them!

Test Me Maybe

To the tune of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Lyrics Written By: Leah Murray & Rochelle Curran
Performed By:  Class 3-215, P.S. 169

 

I think I’m gonna excel
Don’t ask me I’ll never tell
I look it over so well
And now I’m on my way

I’m ready now and I wish
That no question I miss
I’m trying hard for this
And now I’m on my way

Four score I’m holdin’
ELA knowledge showin’
Math facts I was flowin’
Who’s rockin’ this test baby?

Hey we can do it
And this is crazy
But I’m determined
So test me maybe

Workin’ hard to  get right
at in lately
But I’m so ready
So test me maybe!Hey we can do it!

And this is crazy
But I’m determined
So test me maybe!

And all the questions
They try to trick me
But I’m not worried
So test me maybe!

I took my time with the prep
I always know my next steps
I have no fears at all
Nothings in my way

I solve, write and I read
Multiply and divide
Let’s get ready to say
We’re on our way!

Four score I’m holdin’
ELA knowledge showin’
Math facts I was flowing
Who’s rockin’ this test baby?

Hey we can do it
And this is crazy
But I’m determined
So test me maybe!

Workin’ hard to get right
at it lately
But I’m so ready
So test me maybe!

Hey we can do it
And this is crazy
But I’m determined
So test me maybe

And all the questions
They try to trick me
But I’m not worried
So test me maybe!

(Instrumental Dance Break)

Hey we can do it!
And this is crazy
But we’re determined
So test me maybe!

hey what’s the big idea?

Main Idea/Big Idea/Main Topic….Add any other terms you have heard for this concept. It is not only a very difficult concept to teach readers, but it is also important to know the differences between the terms and how the CCSS uses the terms.

Main Topic – This term is used in K and 1 in the CCSS and many lower level books have main topics as opposed to main ideas. Think of lower level nonfiction texts that are about a topic that is often their title. The book “Sharks” – the main topic of this books is simply “sharks”.

Main Idea is more complex. The main idea of the book “Sharks” could be “Sharks are not that dangerous to people, people are more dangerous to sharks”. The main idea, is an actual idea that can be supported with text evidence.

Keep in mind the lower level books may not have a main idea, they often only have a main topic. Once kids start moving into books with main ideas, get ready to teach them some strategies to find these ideas in their books.

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