In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Teach: I will say, “In order to show my knowledge of my debate topic and my point of views, I am going to practice the skill debating with my classmates and the strategy reminding myself of the examples I have seen. The process I will use is as follows:
1) Review my debate notes
2) Review the Debate Rubric.
3) Follow the Debate Structure and Rules.
We will do an all class share out in which we will review the examples of a successful debate strategies from yesterday as well as the rubric. I will have volunteers read the debate rubric and rules.
Debate Warm-up: I don’t want my students to have to perform right off the bat. I will give them 5-10 minutes to practice their introductions, main points and conclusion with their partner(s) before the first group starts. For the students who went yesterday, they will listen to their classmates practice and give them a “wow” or “wonder.” I will assign students to certain groups based on who is comfortable with whom.
Student Debates: In order for there not to be arguments or nervousness about “who is going next,” I will put up the schedule of when groups will debate. This can be random or based on which groups I know or have asked to go first.
I will then pick a number between 1-10 or flip a coin in order to determine which group will start with their introduction. I will then put a student in charge of the time constraints for each section of the debate and while watching I will score the students based on the rubric.
Here is an example of students debating. This is from day 1 of my students debates, but I like how it shows my students not reading right off their note cards. They are practicing eye contact and add thoughts that are not on their cards!
When the debate is finished, I will have students score the debate groups and vote on the winner. I make students put their head down and close their eyes to vote. I do not want anyone to have their feelings hurt, so I do not want anyone to see how many votes they get. Another way to do it is have students turn in their scoring sheets and announce the winners the next day. I like to do it during the debates as motivation for the other debate groups.
I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.
Closing: For today students will either grade themselves on how they did on the debates or if they did not perform, they will reflect on what they learned in order to do better next time.