Gina Wickstead AKI KUROSE MIDDLE SCHOOL, SEATTLE, WA
7th Grade ELA : Unit #10 - Engaging in Debate : Lesson #1

Introduction to Debates

Objective: SWBAT will watch speech and debate examples in order to understand how to perform during a debate.
Standards: SL.7.4 SL.7.5 SL.7.6
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Lesson Opener - 10 minutes

Connect:  I will say, “We have just finished our persuasive essay unit and in order to keep practicing our persuasive techniques, we are going research and perform a debate. 

Teach: I will say, “In order to understand the important components of a debate, we are going to watch a couple of examples of what debate looks like, I am going to practice the skill of watching examples in order to understand the success criteria. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Read through how I will be graded

2) Read and watch examples

3) Determine how these examples met the success criteria

In order to help students understand why speaking is important instead of just writing it down, I am going to have them read Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I Woman*”, then they will watch Kerry Washington’s rendition of it in order to understand how the meaning of the speech changes through presentation.

For this example (and two other after), I am focusing on the introduction of a topic since the focus for my students during the debate will be the introductory speech and the closing speech. 

 

*Shout-out to Kristal Doolin for this idea!

Giving students the end in mind
Developing a Conceptual Understanding

When introducing a lesson to my students, I believe it is so important to give them an example of the end product. I want them to have a great debate, but I really want them to concentrate on great introductions. This is something they are lacking in their essay writing so far, so for them to see great speeches, gives them an example of how to creatively introduce a topic. I am hoping this transfer to better writing. As our trainer Cornelius Minor says, "If they can say it, then they can write it (and vice versa)." 

2 Active Engagement - 10 minutes

Active Engagement: After reading the speech I will say “Jot down with (Exploring Speeches) your initial understanding of what Sojourner Truth is saying.”  I will check for understanding by quickly reading evidence from my different levels of learners (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). 

I will then show them Kerry Washington’s rendition and have them jot down their understanding.

 

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I will check for understanding by quickly reading evidence from my different levels of learners (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). 

We will then have a whole class discussion about how our understanding changed by watching a performance of a speech, versus just reading it. We will then read through the rubric together and the students will jot down how Kerry Washington met the success criteria. 

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, Remember in order to start thinking about how to perform during a debate, debaters practice the skill of watching examples in order to understand the success criteria. They read and watch examples in order to determine how these examples will meet the success criteria

 

3 Independent Practice - 20 minutes

Independent Practice and Partner Work: I will say, “Now you are going to watch a couple of more examples and fill out the rubric.” I will show the students two more examples of persuasive introductions, then part of one of Obama and Romney in the last presidential debate.

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Students will be directed share their notes with a partner after viewing each example. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share the evidence you have so far of each example meeting the success criteria. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A has the same or different evidence as you do, then share what your partner did not pick up on. 

4 Closing - 5 minutes

Closing: For today students will jot down the answers to: “What did you see in the examples from the persuasive introductions and debates today that you will try during your debate?
Here are my students' reflection about what they could use from the speech examples.