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Choose A Topic_Debate

Description 

What makes for a good topic for a debate?
Identify an issue that you either feel strongly about or wonder about. 

Time To Complete 

1-2 Days

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.7
  • CCRA.W.8

I Can Statements 

  • I can choose a topic that
    • promotes questioning and encourages my curiosity to learn more about the subject.
    • is clearly and accurately defined and related to my current area of study.
    • Is specific or narrow enough to support a manageable research process.
    • requires critical inquiry and higher-order thinking, such as analysis, questioning, and evaluation.
  • I will know if my topic is of high quality if it:
    • promotes questioning and curiosity to know more about the subject
    • is something I feel strongly about or want to learn more about
    • is clearly and accurately defined and related to the current area of study
    • is specific or narrow enough to support a manageable research process
    • requires critical inquiry and higher-order thinking, such as analysis, questioning, and evaluation

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with students, asking probing questions about their topic to gauge how well the topic meets the quality criteria.
  • Ask students to state their topic and explain (orally or in writing) how it meets the quality criteria for a high quality topic.
  • Ask students to self-evaluate their work after completing one of the activities below. 
Possible Activities 
  1. If students have complete freedom over the issue or topic they select, model your own brainstorming process by showing how you gather information. Model how you connect to news and issues based on your prior life experience, your interests, and what you read. You might also ask students to preview newspapers, watch news segments, and tune in to radio news and discuss their connections.

  2. Have students brainstorm several topics for their presentation and ask them to write, draw, or discuss each one for a few minutes.  They can use writing partners, re-read their own work, or ask the whole class for advice on which topic is the “thickest”, most relevant, or most interesting.

  3. Share a few debates that are relevant to your classroom content and/or students’ interests. 

Downloadable Resources 
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