Town Hall Debate - Are you a Loyalist or Patriot?

6 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT convince others of their opinions in a Town Hall Debate.

Big Idea

On which side do you fall?

Cue Set

10 minutes

During the Cue Set, scholars prepare for the Town Hall Meeting.  Scholars finish up visuals and put on their costumes.  Here are some scholars all dressed up! 

I explained yesterday that scholars could dress up for the town hall debate.  All they needed to wear was a white button down shirt, khaki's or black pants and long white socks pulled up.  I gave extra points to students who dressed up.  This is a very simple way to make the whole process much more authentic and it allows for a bit more fun! 

Once scholars are ready, they can begin to quietly rehearse their parts to themselves.  

Teaching Strategy

5 minutes

During the Teaching Strategy, I quickly model how to make a comment during the Town Hall.  Scholars are VERY familiar with our discussion norms due to the amount of time we spend in seminar, however it is always helpful to remind scholars of the following: 

1. Professional body language & tone 

2. Stay on topic 

3. Respectfully agree/disagree 

Here is the Smart Board shot.  

Guided Practice

15 minutes

During the Guided Practice, scholars pair-up with other scholars who have the same part (i.e. Patriots pair with Patriots, neutrals with neutrals).  They rehearse what they will say, their main points and the evidence that they have for their main points.  

My ELL co-teacher and I circulate at this time to provide support as needed.  We specifically target our friends who recently moved to the United States to make sure that they feel comfortable speaking.

Here are groups rehearsing and groups continuing to rehearse.  

Town Hall!

60 minutes

We do a VERY similar format to seminar, however instead of 3 rotations at 7 minutes each, we do 2 rotations of 20 minutes each.  This is a bigger topic and will be one that is more hotly debated than typical seminar topics.  After each rotation we pause to do a quick reflection & vote to see which way the neutrals were swayed.  

Here is a snippet of the debate: 

As usual, there are two circles (one inside of another larger circle).  Scholars who are participating in the discussion are in the inner circle. Scholars who are watching/listening and evaluating the discussion sit on the outside of the circle.   Here is a picture of scholars debating.

Scholars discuss the following question: 

*Our town is on the brink of civil war - we must choose a side!  We call this town hall meeting to order to decide if we will be Patriots or Loyalists. 

Scholars in the outer circle give an individual rating to their partner (person who has the same color post-it note on their desk) and an overall rating for the group.  This is the Rating Scale for Socratic Seminar.  The rating is a simple 1 to 5.  Five indicating everyone participates, discussion remains on topic, participants respectfully agree/disagree, discussion is interesting,and participants remain attentive.