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Miami School Using Debating Skills to Prep for Common Core

Miami Middle School Using Debating Skills to Teach Common Core

While many debate the Common Core's efficacy, a Florida middle school now has a debate class simply because of the standards.

Bridget McKinney, principal at Miami's Allapattah Middle School, shared with NPR reporters that her students are struggling to pass the state's reading and writing tests, according to a article. When McKinney read the Common Core math and language arts standards this year, she noticed that there is an "emphasis on answering questions and making arguments using examples and evidence from what students are reading."

In response, she decided that her middle school students would take a speech and debate course each year in order to "improve reading and writing skills, and state test scores," said the article.

“It’s been our Achilles’ heel at Allapattah, meeting that minimum requirement for literacy,” McKinney said. “I have to be very, very innovative or an out-of-the-box thinker to make this connection for my students.”

McKinney said the class will allow her students to be more prepared for the exam they'll have to take. 

“Now they’re going to have four sources and maybe two questions,” she said, with sources counting as magazine clippings, textbooks, or poems. “But in those two questions are embedded so many requirements. They have to, one, cite evidence from the four sources. They have to choose a side. They have to use proper grammar and spelling.”

Allapattah teacher LaDemia Albury's class has been able to produce a large amount of essays and explore topics in depth, which makes them more prepared for what's ahead. Albury's class is made up of students who are immigrants and those who come from low income families and they are rising to the challenges presented to them--with Albury's help.

Will more schools institute debate classes? Let us know what you think! Take our poll.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor


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