Lesson: Preparation and Debate

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Lesson Objective

Students complete research, organize cases, and prepare for the debate

Lesson Plan

Lesson Name: Debate Preparation            Course: High School Language Arts by Anke al-Bataineh

Objective:  Students complete research, organize cases, and prepare for the debate


Previous Lessons

Tutorials at Ehow.com




Index cards


Plastic index card boxes for each team (depending on amount of evidence, each team might want one for affirmative and one for negative)

Anticipatory Set:         (10 min)
Watch this video (again?) with students. http://www.howcast.com/videos/308401-How-To-Learn-LincolnDouglas-Debate

Discuss how ready they are: what do they understand well? Not so well? What are they ready for? Not so ready for? Tailor the scheduled activities to these needs.


Input:         (15 min)

It is important to discuss and model the flow sheet. The flow sheet must make sense if the team stands any chance in the debate. The teams should practice making them for each side and for different arguments, to get used to using them. You might do this once as a class on the board to model the thought process.


Guided Practice:         (25 min)

You may want to pair up teams and ask them to pretend to be on opposite sides. Don't have them actually debate, just have them say to each other "we will argue ____ and ____." Then, the other team practices choosing their rebuttal evidence, and proceeding with the flow sheet as their guide. They walk through 2-3 debates with different scenarios to practice thinking of what evidence they should use. The key here is to learn to be topical, and not to freeze under pressure. You might circulate and demonstrate you would win in each case by pointing out the strength of points or places where points went uncontested.


Independent Practice:         (20 - 90 min)

Teams should now spend their final time together, making sure all evidence is prepared and practicing their delivery. Put this framework on the board for them to follow, and circulate to coach them and keep them on task. Give enough time (perhaps more than one class) for each team to be reasonably prepared for the big day.


To be ready, you should :

Þ           Collect several pieces of evidence for each side of each argument.

Þ           Make sure every piece of evidence is on its own card, with the source completely written on the card. Make sure every card is clearly labeled with the topic, position (AC, AR), and how to rephrase the evidence into your own words.

Þ           Make sure every piece of evidence is filed correctly in your card box. Each topic should be clearly divided and labeled.

Þ           Make sure you can read, understand and pronounce everything on all of your cards. PRACTICE pronouncing difficult words and names.

Þ           PRACTICE presenting an argument and a rebuttal to your partner.

Þ           PRACTICE conducting cross-examination with your partner.

Þ           Talk with your partner about how you will handle questions you can not answer or points you can not refute.

Þ           Get sleep, food, dress nicely and RELAX before the debate.


Assessment and Closure:         (10 min)

Circulate and challenge teams by stating an argument and allowing them to cross-examine or rebut you on the fly. This will help them feel confident and prepared.



Lesson Reflection:

What went well?

What would you change?

What needs explanation?

In my experience, students love the official feeling of having a card box and dressing nice, although you may get initial resistance. They need lots of positive encouragement.

Throughout the unit, limit the documents provided and the evidence sought if you are going to be tight on time, or if overload is a big risk for your students.

If you were not a debater yourself, you should watch the tutorials a few times. You will also be the judge, so you might want to review these tutorials several times and prepare your criteria in writing. Judges usually use a flow chart just like debaters to keep track of who argued what and how well.  It is ideal if several teachers can all be judges together, but that can be difficult to arrange.







Lesson Resources

PalPrepDebate   Lesson Plan


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