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Unit Plan Idea – Debating!

Erich Koerner

Informal Unit Plan – Debate

·         I would like to teach this lesson in the second quarter of an 11th grade English class. I feel that the reasoning and writing skills that will be addressed over the course of this unit will be beneficial to students as they work on their college applications and move closer to graduating.

·         Working Title: Junior Debate

·         Goals/Purposes:

o   Students will be able to identify a topic that is arguable and be able to rationally examine both sides of the argument via extensive research.

o   Students will be able to address the class orally with prepared information based on their research, as well as with rebuttals of opposing position’s arguments during debates.

o   Students should understand the elements of a strong argument and be able to apply them to their own presentation as well as a critique of other presentations.

o   Students should be able to communicate through writing their position on a given issue, possible counterarguments, and by briefly evaluating other group’s arguments for content, logic and emotionally appeal.

·         Expectations

o   Students will brainstorm debatable topics with the teacher and the class will decide what topics will be best used for debate

o   Students choose their top choices of the given topics (and positions on them) to debate on. (Debates will be done in groups of 2)

o   The teacher will explain the debate format, and that their research and ensuing papers should be geared towards preparing them to speak for the determined amounts of time

o   After topic assignments, students will research in the library for the paper that their arguments will be based off of.

o   Papers will be due the day of the debates and students will then go ahead and debate in front of the class

o   Audience members of the class will given a score sheet based on the requirements of the debate and will be expected to critically evaluate numerically and briefly in writing each debate to determine who won. (Students evaluation will be a % of the debate grade)

·         Key Texts/Assignments

o   School Library/Computer Access

o   Paper

o   Evaluations

·         Challenges

o   What to do in case of an odd number of students?

o   Preventing kids from making arguments personal instead of about topic.

o   Preventing students peer scores from being a popularity contest instead of being based on merit.

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