SubjectsArts & Humanities
Keywordsdebate, four corner, agree, disagree, persuasive, point of view, summarize, writing, strategy
This simple and active strategy helps students focus their thinking about topics of debate as they prepare to write a well-supported paragraph stating their position.
Before the Lesson
Education World has collected a handful of Web sites that make good sources of timely, high-interest debate topics in the classroom. Click here and scroll to Debate Topics for Classroom Use.
For this lesson, you might use one of the following statements as the starting point for a classroom discussion. Some of the statements are not appropriate discussion starters for elementary level students; select an appropriate statement that will engage your students. As an alternative, you might choose to make a statement about a controversy in the news or about an issue of interest to people in your area.
Select a statement appropriate for your students, read aloud the statement, and give students 5 minutes to collect their thoughts about the topic. Then ask students if they
Hopefully, you have four groups gathered in different corners of the classroom. Appoint one student in each corner to be the note taker, and give students 5-10 minutes to discuss with the other students in their corner the reasons they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree.
At the end of the discussion period, ask one student from each group to share with the class some of the ideas they discussed in their group.
Perhaps one of the four groups made such a strong case that some students have changed their minds about their reaction to the statement. If that is the case, at this point in the activity give students an opportunity to change corners.
Provide 5-10 more minutes for students to continue their group discussions. At this point, every student in the group should be taking notes. At the end of the discussion time, each student uses those notes to write a concise paragraph stating his or her position on the issue. (for example, I strongly agree with the statement [statement goes here] because) Students should include in their paragraphs the four strongest points supporting their position.
Student paragraphs follow the proper form and include at least four solid reasons supporting their position on the topic of discussion.
Lesson Plan Source
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
NSS-C.K-4.2 Values and Principles of Democracy
NSS-C.5-8.3 Principles of Democracy
NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen