Creating Organized Curriculum Aligned to Standards and Outcomes

O1: Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. Organizing a curriculum around Common Core standards and outcomes, means choosing the standards and goals for the unit, as well as the desired end result or outcome, then planning lessons, activities, and multiples ways of assessing progress toward the chosen standards and goals. I had the opportunity to practice creating organized curriculum during my internship this year. Before beginning a unit on Debate—persuasive writing and speaking—I designed a unit outline identifying the three standards, skills I wanted to students to develop throughout the unit, and the way in which students would show evidence of learned skills.

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Mentally mapping out an entire unit in this way was challenging, but knowing what the end goal was, helped keep my lessons focused. Additionally, centering each lesson on specific learning targets kept lessons aligned with my chosen Common Core standards and ensured that each lesson was purposefully constructed to meet that learning objective. Furthermore, including learning objectives or measurable goals for each lesson helped make me aware of when to scaffold certain concepts or activities as well as to build on skills and deepen understanding as lesson progressed. Not only were daily learning targets beneficial to me as an instructor, but they also provided students with clear, purposeful, and measurable expectations for each day’s lesson. When students understand what is expected of them and why, they not only become responsible for their own learning, but also, they are able to self-assess their progress toward each learning goal. This opportunity for self-assessment teaches valuable skills in reflection and self-analysis by giving students a stake in their own education.

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Unit Plan Outline: Debate

Unit Goals:
1. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
2. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
3. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

Week 1
Mon: Gateway activity: Edible argument
Learning Target: Students will apply the elements of argumentation by writing a thesis statement and two paragraphs that support the thesis. Students will consider opposing viewpoints by writing a paragraph identifying at least one opposing viewpoint and writing a paragraph challenging that viewpoint.
• 5 mins: Attendance. Explain rationale for the unit & unit goals. How many students like to argue? How many do not? Why? Why is arguing well an important skill to have? Why is it important to be aware of persuasive and argumentative elements?
• 10 mins: Introduce activity and objectives. “Today we will be arguing about something very important—candy bars!” Inform students that the class will be divided into two sections. One section will receive Snickers and the other Kit Kats. Students are not allowed to eat the candy bars—yet. Students will receive candy bars.
• 10 mins: Students will gather into their “candy bar” group and will begin imaging that there are only two brands of candy bars in the world—the ones they have received. Students will eat their candy bars and then work together to make a list of “logical” reasons why their candy bar is the best in the world. Students should use examples of price, advertising appeal, ease of consumption, appearance, dangers, nutrition facts, feel, smell, and taste to support their reasoning. Then students will choose a representative from each side to come up and write a list on the board of the top ten strongest reasons for why their candy bar is best creating a split-board between Snickers and Kit Kats. Then, students will vote on which of their side’s three reasons best represent their candy bar. The others will be erased leaving the three remaining strong points for each side.
• 10 mins: Teacher will review what constitutes a thesis statement and students will work individually to write a thesis statement that expresses their idea about why their candy bar is the best value. A few students will share out and then students will draft two paragraphs of three or more sentences for each point they have chosen for their side—these paragraphs must support thesis and be clearly linked.
• 5 mins: In groups of two or three, members of the same team will then assume the position of the other side and identify what they as a group believe to be that side’s strongest point. Then as a group, students will craft a third paragraph demonstrating a point of the opposing position. This paragraph must include a transition the clearly links it to the previous paragraphs.
• 10 mins: Finally, I will explain to students that their job after identifying a strong differing opinion is to directly and convincingly challenge it. Reflecting on what they know about candy bars, nutrition, packaging, pricing, advertising and logic, they must try to construct one short paragraph (including a transitional element) to disprove the other side. Afterward, students will be encouraged to share their completed paragraphs. I will collect and assess students’ paragraphs for completeness and students’ ability to logically demonstrate argumentation and evaluate an opposing viewpoint in writing.

* This activity was designed by Mark A. Schneberger
Email: markusschneberger@hotmail.com School/University/Affiliation: Oklahoma City Community College Date: November 20, 2001

Resource: http://www.saskdebate.com/media/2875/2007gamesandactivitiesguide.pdf

Tues: Credible Sources
Learning Target:Students will evaluate sources. Students will learn how to conduct scholarly, credible internet research.
• 15 mins: Attendance and overview of the debate assignment (constructive instructions & outline – for merge) Answer any questions.
• 20 mins: librarian will come and give mini lesson on databases and credible sources. Students will receive handout from librarian of what databases to use for research as well as what to look for when evaluating sources.
• 10 mins: introduce and go over questions in “Evaluating Sources Packet” which students will complete for homework. Students will be required to answer a series of questions evaluating 2 Pro articles and 2 Con articles: Is there an author? What are his or her credentials? When was this written? Does this source cite other reliable sources? How do you they are reliable? Who is the intended audience? How do you know? What is the purpose of the source? Is this source accessible? How?
• 5 mins: assign debate topics

Wed: Credible Sources continued…
Learning Target: Students will evaluate sources. Students will learn how to conduct scholarly, credible internet research.
• 5 mins: Attendance, collect homework, housekeeping
• 2 mins: SNL video: http://katabatic.tv/work/snl-red-flag/#.UzOd2lxRFg0
• 8 mins: Discussion: When it comes to meeting someone new at a party or going on a first date, there are often “red flags” that we look for. What do I mean by red flags? –Untrustworthy, Fake, Immature, etc. Students will raise their hand and contribute to a list of potential “red flags.”
• 7 mins: Students will work in small groups and make a list of potential “red flags” to look for when evaluating trustworthiness or credibility of sources.
• 8 mins: Student groups will share out and teacher will make collective list on the board. Students will take notes and add to their own lists.
• 15 mins: Teacher will go through Powerpoint diving a little deeper into internet research and what constitutes scholarly source material. What to look for.
• 5 mins: Students will write Exit Ticket (1) identify two ways in which their understanding of what constitutes credible/scholarly research was expanded, challenged or changed as a result of the days lesson (2) identify at least two specific ways you will evaluate the credibility of sources as you conduct your research

Thurs: Elements of Argument & Cornell Note practice
Learning Target: Students will identify the elements of argumentation: claims, evidence and warrants in the article, “Truce by Told” by Lory Hough. Students will evaluate the validity/credibility of the source.
• 10 mins: Teacher will initiate prior learning regarding research and credible sources by asking students questions: ”What does credibility mean?
(reliable, authoritative, sincere, trustworthy). Okay, how many of you have used WIKIPEDIA as a resource when writing a paper? Based on the pro/con packets we this last week, how might you evaluate whether or not information from Wikipedia is credible?(check the date, check footnotes, expertise/credentials, compare info).”

“Well, in order to have a credible, authoritative, convincing argument, you must not only use credible information, but you must also include the three main elements of argumentation.”

“Can anyone name one of the three elements of argumentation?”

Teacher will post slide defining 3 elements.

“So, we are going to read an article about how perspectives regarding Wikipedia have shifted a bit over the years. As you read the article, I want you to highlight or underline each element of argumentation because the learning objective for today is to identify the elements of argumentation (claim, evidence and reasoning) and evaluate whether or not the source is valid.”

“It is important that you are able to identify these elements, because you need to understand what they look like and how they fit together before you begin crafting your own arguments, which will be the heart of your debates”
• 1 min: Teacher will ask students if there are any questions or confusions before moving on.
• 20 mins: Teacher will divide students into pairs and hand out article: “Truce be Told: by Lory Hough. Teacher will instruct students to follow directions on the top of the page: identify and highlight claims, evidence and warrants.
• 9 mins: Teacher will have students pause if they have not finished the article and have student pairs discuss their findings by sharing out and evaluating claims, evidence and warrants.
• 15 mins: Teacher will inform students that for the next 6 sources they find for their debates, they will begin looking for these elements within the sources they find, in addition to evaluating the credibility of each source. Students will write Cornell notes for each of the 6 sources as a way to monitor their understanding and glean information from their debate.

“Now, we will practice Cornell notes based on the article we just read. It should not take you long to fill out this page of Cornell notes because you have already highlighted a lot of the key information within the article”

Although most students will know what Cornell notes are, Teacher will provide a graphic organizer, to create some scaffolding for those who may be unfamiliar with this particular style of note taking.

Teacher will pass out Cornell notes and invite a student to read the directions and questions on the backside before the class begins practicing Cornell notes using the article, “Truce be Told.”

Teacher will circulate to answer any questions that students may have regarding Cornell notes.
• 5 mins: Exit Ticket: –The article we read in class today claims to have used Wikipedia as a resource. Is this article credible?
–Are you able to identify the elements of argumentation?
–Did you meet the learning target/objective? Why or Why not?

Fri: Research Day in the Library
Learning Target: Students will conduct research in order to answer their question/debate topic. Students will analyze and categorize each source by taking Cornell Notes.
• 3 mins: attendance, collect homework, housekeeping
• 5 mins: migrate to library and log in to computers
• 40 mins: conduct research (students must have min. of 4 sources printed by the end of the period)
• 2 mins: discuss homework–10 sources total printed (mix of pro & con) and 6 Cornell notes completed by Tues.

Week 2
Mon.: Appeals
Learning Target: Students will learn and apply the three persuasive appeals: ethos, pathos and logos.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 3 mins: Activate prior learning of appeals—what do we already know?
• 7 mins: Ari video from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4tTugqBkJU
• 15 mins: students work in groups of three, choose argument from a box and formulate three different arguments: one based on each appeal.
• 20 mins: student groups will try to persuade their audience—the class—by share one mini argument for each of the appeals—looking through an appeal specific lens.

Tues. Appeals and Audience
Learning Target: Students will consider and evaluate appeals, purpose, audience and task.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping, check off Cornell notes
• 5 mins: Journal entry: introduce Obama video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWynt87PaJ0. Obama is keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 (before he’s President). Students will answer: “How might Obama appeal to his audience?”
• 7 mins: Powerpoint/discussion mini-lesson on audience, purpose, rhetoric, persona. Handout hard copy of Obama’s speech for students to annotate—identify appeals.
• 8 mins: watch speech. Pause. Model. Show my sample (highlighting appeals)
• 15 mins: watch speech. Pause. Have students share out what they found. Evaluate. Discuss.
• 5 mins: Journal Entry: Revisit journal entry from beginning of lesson. How was your prediction correct or incorrect? Similar or dissimilar to how Obama actually appealed to his audience?
• 5 mins: homework—Appealing to your Audience handout due Wed.Debate- appealing to your audience & Debate- appealing to your audience 2

Wed: Introduction to Outlines
Learning Target: Students will learn how to organize information, reasoning, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically according to Debate Outline handout.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 15 mins: introduce and evaluate Debate Outline handout
• 10 mins: Evaluate student sample as a class
• 20 mins: Collaborate with partner regarding the division of Pro/Con claims for outlines (each partner must cover two different claims).

Thurs. Outlines
Learning Target: Students will present information, reasoning, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically according to Debate Outline handout.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 10 mins: Collaborate with Partner regarding the division of Pro/Con claims for outlines.
• 5 mins: migrate to library and log into computers
• 30 mins: begin drafting outline—Must have one paragraph completed by end of period.

Fri. Outlines continued…
Learning Target: Students will present information, reasoning, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically according to Debate Outline handout.
• 3 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 5 mins: migrate to library and log into computers
• 40 mins: students will continue drafting outlines
• 2 mins: Reminders : One Pro/One Con due MON.

Week 3
Mon: Constructive Speech
Learning Target: Students will evaluate and construct elements of persuasive speech essay.

• 5 mins: attendance, collect outlines (one Pro, one Con), housekeeping
• 7 mins: Coin flip for Pro/Con sides. Record.
• 15 mins: Handout and explain final speech assignment, debate structure and debate rubric. LA 10-DebateRubric (Affirmative) & LA 10-DebateRubric (Negative) & 10th Debate Structure2014_alt
• 8 mins: mini lesson on Introduction (thesis) and Conclusion
• 15 mins: Students annotate, evaluate student sample and share out. Discuss together as a class.

Tues. Constructive Speech continued…
Learning Target: Students will evaluate elements of constructive speech. Students will evaluate their own progress toward the unit goal and provide 2 specific steps toward the completion of their persuasive speech essay.
• 3 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 15 mins: mini lesson on Constructive speech: Body paragraphs and commentary—What is commentary/How much commentary should you have? Transitions (handout).
• 15 mins: Annotate and evaluate student sample. Students will share out.
• 2 mins: return outlines
• 5 mins: look over outlines and feedback provided by teacher
• 10 mins: Exit Ticket: Considering the instruction from the last few days and the feedback/comments provided, (1) what are two areas of strength, (2) two areas of weakness, (3) what is your plan—provide 2 specifics steps you will take to improve as you transition from the outline to the rough draft persuasive speech essay.

Wed. Cross-examination
Learning Target: Students will formulate and pose two cross-examination questions based on an Affirmative/Pro case.
• 2 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 5 mins: Journal Entry: students will record thoughts and observations on video clip from To Kill a Mockingbird: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44TG_H_oY2E
• 3 mins: students will share out observations and what they already know about cross-examination. Teacher will record list on the board and students will take notes.
• 8 mins: Teacher will give Powerpoint mini lesson on purpose of cross-examination, probing, what types of questions to ask, and roles of “questioner” and “witness.” Teacher will introduce “Take this, Take that” activity.
• 5 mins: students will grab pen/pencil, notebook and move chairs into a circle. Teacher will hand out 2 playing cards to each student to ensure equity. Each student must play a card before posing a cross-examination question based on the Affirmative/Pro case.
• 5 mins: Student will read Affirmative/Pro case aloud to the class. Students will actively listen and take notes on cross-examination questions they could pose.
• 12 mins: Students will toss a playing card into the center of the circle before posing their cross-examination question. Each student must play both playing cards.
• 4 mins: students will restore desks to original layout, gather playing cards and return to their seats.
• 5 mins: Exit Ticket: Students will answer questions posted on the board: (1) Did you meet the learning target for today? Why or why not? (2) How was your understanding of cross-examination expanded or changed? (3) What do you now know that you did not know before? (4) What would you still like to know about cross-examinations?
• 1 min: Reminder: Bring printed sources tomorrow.

Thurs: Evidence Cards & Rebuttal
Learning Target: Students will synthesize multiple sources on their subject into 10 evidence cards—(4) by the end of the period in order to demonstrating understanding of the subject during cross-examination and rebuttal.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 2 mins: teacher will provide rebuttal assignment/handout.
• 10 mins: Powerpoint mini lesson on rebuttal: intro (typed before debate), two body paragraphs (one that counters a claim made by the opposition, one that defends one’s own claim that was questioned during the cross-examination—each following a specific outline that includes heading, evidence and commentary) and conclusion (typed before debate).
• 5 mins: mini lesson and handout on evidence cards
• 3 mins: evaluate a few student samples
• 25 mins: time to work in-class on evidence cards. Must have at least 4 completed by the end of class. Teacher will circulate and check off students for completing at least 4.

Fri: Peer Editing of Rough Drafts
Learning Target: Students will evaluate an argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient by answering questions and providing examples according to the Peer-edit form. Students will identify examples of strengths and weaknesses according to debate speech requirements and elements of argumentation by completing Peer-edit Form.
• 4 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 5 mins: review directions for peer-editing ( students work in groups of 3, so each writer receives feedback from two peers)
• 13 mins: writer one’s paper is read aloud and then two peers fill out peer-edit form
• 13 mins: writer two’s paper is read aloud and then two peers fill out peer-edit form
• 13 mins: writer three’s paper is read aloud and then two peers fill out peer-edit form
• 2 mins: Reminder that final drafts are due on Turnitin.com by Monday before class. First debate group will present on Monday.

Week 4
Mon: Final draft due (final draft rubric: ELA-Debate Speech Essay rubric)/ Begin debate speeches
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity (those in the audience must evaluate the arguments presented throughout the presentation by recording the main claims for both pro and cons sides of the debate and then identifying who they would side with and explaining why), reminders

Tues: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Wed: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Thurs: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Fri: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Week 5
Mon: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Tues: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Wed: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Thurs: Debates
Learning Target: Students will present persuasive speech: claims, reasoning and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, organization and development in a way that is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Students will analyze an argument by identifying specific claims and evaluating the logic and support/ evidence for each debate—students will complete “Debate Engagement Activity.”

• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 40 mins: debate
• 5 mins: debrief, collect debate engagement activity, reminders

Fri: Debate Debrief and Reflection
Learning Target: Students will reflect on their learning over the course of the unit by completing the “Reflection” handout. Students will analyze and assess their progress toward the Unit Goals/objectives.
• 5 mins: attendance, housekeeping
• 30 mins: Reflection handout/writing activity
• 10 mins: discussion-debrief on debate unit, share out regarding reflection/personal growth and development/meeting of learning targets/unit objectives, etc.
• 5 mins: what’s up next—new unit

Unit Outline and Goals

For the overarching concept for this unit, I am focusing on “Learning a Key Strategy:” the strategy of argumentation through debate. As sophomores in high school, my students are approaching adulthood and are crafting their own unique identities and perspectives. Many have very strong feelings and opinions about different topics, and love to engage in discussion. The goal for this unit is to teach students the art and craft of argumentation—how to present their ideas in a well-informed, logical, respectful way. This unit is important because each student needs to understand how to, differentiate between credible and unsupported information, and understand the logic and structure behind persuasive/ argumentative writing and speaking. Regardless of where life takes them, these students will be interact with people and information all their lives, information that will contradict their own perspectives and people that will try to manipulate, persuade, or argue for and against the thoughts and feelings of these students. They need to be able to identify when this is happening, so as to be sure to respond to explicit and implicit messages in a way that is consistent with what they truly believe or intend. The goals for this unit are 1. to consider different perspectives/points of view and 2. to develop a well-reasoned and supported argument.

The justification for these goals and for teaching debate as a key strategy fosters higher-level thinking skills and is justified by a focus on “Civic Awareness.” Debate emphasizes important real-world skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork. Additionally, debate requires the development and practice of higher level thinking according to Bloom’s taxonomy as described in Effective Teaching Methods: analysis (requiring students to differentiate between credible sources, compare and contrast, recognize and support relationships between ideas and outline arguments), synthesis (requiring students to compile information from a variety of sources to form a unique solution to a problem or question, to formulate a logical and well-supported argument, and to predict and compose counterarguments) and evaluation (requiring students to assess the credibility of source material, judge the credibility of an argument based on specific criteria, defend and support their position on a topic or issue) (Borich, 2007, pp. 92-96). These skills not only contribute to the success of students within the classroom, but also in their future workplaces, in their social and political lives and in their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies.

The development of these individual skills impacts the larger society by allowing individuals the opportunity to actively engage in a “more equitable, democratic, and dynamic society”—key justifications of a unit centered on developing civic awareness and navigating difficult social issues according to Smagorinsky, author of Teaching English by Design (Smagorinsky, 2008, p. 143). A debater must consider and study both sides of an argument of question. IDEA suggests that in this way, debate inherently “teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence and respect for different points of view.” Training in open-mindedness and the patient and purposeful consideration of varying perspectives is essential to developing well-informed opinions and views. In Carroll Lahman’s Debate Coaching, a Handbook for Teachers and Coaches, she quotes John Stuart Mill commenting on the process of developing informed judgments about crucial issues: “No man [or woman] understands his [or her] own side until he [or she] understands the other side” (1930, pg. 13). Debating fosters an energetic exchange of ideas and has the power to “break down national, economic, cultural and ethnic boundaries, showing that opposing views can be explored in a way that connects rather than divides people” (IDEA). Teaching debate is a worthwhile focus for a conceptual unit because the framework and skills developed extend far beyond the classroom experience, contributing to the development of responsible, respectful and reasoned individuals.

Unit Goal Assessments:

IN-Process Texts/Activities:

• Pro/Con Packet and Cornell Notes : Students are required to gather at least 10 articles as research for their debate. For the first four articles (2 pro and 2 con), students must complete a series of questions evaluating the credibility of each source. This in-process activity is meant to train students to critically evaluate sources before they do the majority of their research. For the remaining 6+ articles that students gather, they will incorporate their learning about the credibility of sources and build on that knowledge by practicing Cornell style note taking in preparation to synthesize these sources to produce the outline for their debate.

* I will read through the pro/con packets and respond to students regarding areas of strength and weakness. Packets are graded according to a check plus, check, check minus, check minus minus scale. I will also grade the Cornell Notes according to this scale and provide students with feedback.

• -Speech Outline: Students will draft an outline of their speech. This activity is used to scaffold the rough draft of the debate. The goal is to ensure that all students include the necessary elements of argumentation and debate.

*Students will work in groups of two and peer-edit another classmate’s outline according to handout with questions on one side and a rubric aligned with Common Core.

Culminating Texts and Activities:

• Rough draft of debate: Students will complete a rough draft of their debate speech including all the necessary elements and based on the outlines they have already completed. This will be a fleshed out version and the last opportunity for feedback before the final culminating activity.

* I will review the rough drafts and respond with comments so as to continue to support and aid students in refining their debates before the deliver their speeches in front of the class. I will provide feedback based on the Debate Rubric/Score Sheet that will be used to assess the culminating activity—the performance of the debate.

• Debate: Students will complete a final draft and participate in a debate—two teams of two arguing opposite sides of a controversial issue/topic.

*I will evaluate the debates as they are performed in accordance with the Debate Rubric/Score Sheet also used to assess the debate drafts.

This learning we will be facilitated and guided by three Common Core State Standards regarding research and evidence for supporting claims (pro/con packets & Cornell Notes), synthesizing multiple sources to formulate a stance or opinion on a topic or question (outline/rough draft), and finally, presenting that information, supported by evidence in a logical format suitable for a particular audience and purpose (debate): CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010).

While the process of researching and developing a well-informed opinion on any topic is clearly valuable, some worry that debate teaches students to be argumentative or combative when they disagree with one another. While this is a legitimate concern, the purpose of debate is to teach students how to think (rather than argue), how to analyze information and logically process and articulately present that information. While students will defend different positions on a topic, in order to defend their position, they must first consider and have researched the opposing view. This process shows students the ineffectiveness of blind argumentation and teaches students that in order to formulate a reasoned understanding or opinion requires considering and analyzing different perspectives. It is inevitable that students will interact with people who think, act and feel differently than they do and in preparation, it is vitally important that we equip students with a tools and skills so that they can interact in meaningful, respectful, well-reasoned, constructive exchanges. Without active engagement with whom we disagree, it is likely that elements of truth remain uncovered, as explained by Mahatma Ghandi: “honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress” (IDEA).

Resources:

Borich, G. D. (2007). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.

IDEA. “WHY DEBATE?” International Debate Education Association. 2011. Web. Idebate.org

Lahman, Carroll Polock. “Chapter I WHY DEBATE?” Debate Coaching, a Handbook for Teachers and Coaches. Vol. I. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1930. 11-17. Print. IV.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards (English Language Arts). National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. Web. http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards

Smagorinsky, P. (2008). Teaching English by design: how to create and carry out instructional units. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hope Reflection

O2—Offer appropriate challenge in the content area [1]. My understanding of offering an appropriately challenging curriculum includes providing units and lessons that present students with opportunities to develop and practice authentic, higher-level thinking skills. According to Bloom, cognitive complexity is arranged according to a hierarchical structure where evaluation and synthesis require more complex mental operations such as formulating or composing an argument, making judgments about the validity of a source, or supporting and defending a position on a topic than the rote memorization of facts or mere comprehension of a concept (Borich, 2007, p. 92-96) [2]. As part of my internship, I have created a course rationale that explains why the debate unit I have designed is not only cognitively complex and academically challenging, but also socially responsible.

My rationale claims that the preparation and practice of debate requires the use of higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, and has far-reaching social implications by teaching students about their roles as citizens of a democratic society, such as requiring that students research and understand both sides of an argument before they are able to debate. John Dewey considered the school a primarily social institution, a concentrated form of community life, a vessel for social progress and knowledge created in a community centered on unity and individual accountability (Dewey, 1897, p.2) [2]. A debate unit provides students the opportunity to construct new knowledge in community, with partners and in teams, while also cultivating a respectful, open-minded environment where students are accountable and must logically and articulately defend the opinions they possess, but also an environment where differences of opinion is accepted, and learning is constructed by thoughtfully considering both sides.

Figure 1 shows a screenshot of my course rationale and explains the ways in which this unit on debate will push students to practice the more advanced and challenging critical thinking skills from Bloom’s taxonomy while engaging in authentic, meaningful activities that will better prepare them to participate as socially responsible and informed members of a democratic society.

Figure 1:Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 7.04.05 PM

This figure shows evidence that I have learned how to plan challenging curriculum by designing activities and instruction that promote higher level learning behaviors [3]. For example, students will practice evaluation as students “assess the credibility of source material, judge the credibility of an argument based on specific criteria, and defend and support their position on a topic or issue” [3]. In creating this evidence, I was reminded of the importance of planning units and lessons that are not only relevant but also appropriately challenging for my students. Additionally, this activity was beneficial because I had never written a course rational before and after doing so, I recognize the importance of planning in such a way that I am able to articulate and defend my reasoning and purpose for teaching any given lesson or unit [4]. I must always be metacognitive and reflective in my thinking about my teaching choices and techniques—this is a way of doing so, before I teach. This assignment is a key exercise and way of self-assessment, ensuring that in the future, I continue to plan lessons and units purposefully in order to provide a justified and challenging curriculum for my students [5].

Next steps I can continue to take might include taking the time to write a rationale for each unit of study I choose to teach. While I recognize that this may be a time consuming “extra” step, I need to maintain metacognitive practices throughout my teaching career and I want to be able to justify my teaching with evidence-based practices, theories and state standards without a second thought; consequently, increasing my effectiveness in providing a relevant and challenging curriculum may include writing rationales for each unit I choose to teach [6].

Resources:

Borich, G. D. (2007). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Dewey, J. (1897). “My Pedagogic Creed,” The School Journal, 54, (3), pp. 77-80.

Why Teach a Unit on Debate?

Thesis: According to the International Debate Education Association, the process of debate offers profoundly far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for individuals, societies and for the global community.
Debate emphasizes important real-world skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork. Additionally, debate requires the development and practice of higher level thinking according to Bloom’s taxonomy as described in Effective Teaching Methods: analysis (requiring students to differentiate between credible sources, compare and contrast, recognize and support relationships between ideas and outline arguments), synthesis (requiring students to compile information from a variety of sources to form a unique solution to a problem or question, to formulate a logical and well-supported argument, and to predict and compose counterarguments) and evaluation (requiring students to judge the credibility of an argument based on specific criteria, defend and support their position on a topic or issue) (Borich, 2007, pp. 92-96). These skills not only contribute to the success of students within the classroom, but also in their future workplaces, in their social and political lives and in their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies.

The development of these individual skills impacts the larger society by allowing individuals the opportunity to actively engage in a “more equitable, democratic, and dynamic society”—key justifications of a unit centered on developing civic awareness and navigating difficult social issues according to Smagorinsky, author of Teaching English by Design (Smagorinsky, 2008, p. 143). A debater must consider and study both sides of an argument of question. IDEA suggests that in this way, debate inherently “teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence and respect for different points of view.” Training in open-mindedness and the patient and purposeful consideration of varying perspectives is essential to developing well-informed opinions and views. In Carroll Lahman’s Debate Coaching, a Handbook for Teachers and Coaches, she quotes John Stuart Mill commenting on the process of developing informed judgments about crucial issues: “No man [or woman] understands his [or her] own side until he [or she] understands the other side” (1930, pg. 13). Debating fosters an energetic exchange of ideas and has the power to “break down national, economic, cultural and ethnic boundaries, showing that opposing views can be explored in a way that connects rather than divides people” (IDEA). Teaching debate is a worthwhile focus for a conceptual unit because the framework and skills developed extend far beyond the classroom experience, contributing to the development of responsible, respectful and reasoned individuals.

This learning we will be facilitated and guided by three Common Core State Standards regarding research and evidence for supporting claims, synthesizing multiple sources to formulate a stance or opinion on a topic or question, and finally, presenting that information, supported by evidence in a logical format suitable for a particular audience and purpose: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010).

While the process of researching and developing a well-informed opinion on any topic is clearly valuable, some worry that debate teaches students to be argumentative or combative when they disagree with one another. While this is a legitimate concern, the purpose of debate is to teach students how to think (rather than argue), how to analyze information and logically process and articulately present that information. While students will defend different positions on a topic, in order to defend their position, they must first consider and have researched the opposing view. This process shows students the ineffectiveness of blind argumentation and teaches students that in order to formulate a reasoned understanding or opinion requires considering and analyzing different perspectives. It is inevitable that students will interact with people who think, act and feel differently than they do and in preparation, it is vitally important that we equip students with a tools and skills so that they can interact in meaningful, respectful, well-reasoned, constructive exchanges. Without active engagement with whom we disagree, it is likely that elements of truth remain uncovered, as explained by Mahatma Ghandi: “honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress” (IDEA).

Bibliography

Resources for Rationale:

Borich, G. D. (2007). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.

IDEA. “WHY DEBATE?” International Debate Education Association. 2011. Web. Idebate.org

Lahman, Carroll Polock. “Chapter I WHY DEBATE?” Debate Coaching, a Handbook for Teachers and Coaches. Vol. I. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1930. 11-17. Print. IV.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards (English Language Arts). National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. Web. http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards

Smagorinsky, P. (2008). Teaching English by design: how to create and carry out instructional units. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Texts:

Goodner, Bruce. (2008). “Persuasive Appeals: Ethos, Logos, Pathos.” Web. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4tTugqBkJU

Lang, Oliver. “Opening Pro-Vaccine Speech” (student example)

Lahman, Carroll Polock. “Chapter I WHY DEBATE?” Debate Coaching, a Handbook for Teachers and Coaches. Vol. I. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1930. 11-17. Print. IV.

National Forensic League. (2012). “A Guide to Public Forum Debate.” 1-3. Web. http://www.nflonline.org

Obama, Barack. (2014). “State of the Union Address” Web. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/29/president-obamas-2014-state-union-address

Smith, Michael. “Evidence: An Essential Element of Debate.” Ballard High School. Handout.

Storey, Kristin. (2013). “What Constitutes ‘Good’ Evidence?” Ballard High School. Handout.

Hope Reflection: https://megannallenbportfolio.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/hope-reflection/