Modern Research Synthesis (Day 3 of 3): Hot Seat Debate

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SWBAT demonstrate their ability to respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives by participating in a hot seat debate style discussion.

Big Idea

We have come to our last day. Students will use this last bit of time together to discuss controversial ideas using evidence and thoughtful discussion techniques.

SSR Reflection and Summer Reading Suggestions

20 minutes

We still start our last day of class with a SSR reflection. I will ask students to fill out a brief survey so that I can gather some evidence/ideas for next year. 

Once we're done with this, I will ask students to share out their favorite books from the year. We will make a list of titles (you can see our list in the background here--sorry it isn't a better picture!) on the board so that students have some ideas of things to read over their vacation. 

I want to take the time to do this today as a mini-celebration of all the reading that we've done together this year and to encourage them to keep reading this summer. I am so proud of all that they've done with this reading time this year and hope that by highlighting it here, they will be able to celebrate with me.

Hot Seat Debate Set-Up

10 minutes

Once we've finished our SSR reflections, my teaching partner and I will spend a little time explaining the set-up and process for the Hot Seat Debate. 

The format for this style of discussion is simple. To do it, you place a set of chairs in the front of the classroom. Since we have 58 students, we put eight chairs in a row. Students are only allowed to speak when they are sitting in one of the hot seats. They will be able to chose the topics of discussion from our hot seat debate prep sheet and may only stay in the hot seat to say one argument. While they are not in the hot seat, they will sit in their own seats in the room and take notes about what others are saying so that they can build on the conversation with new or different information.

This format of debate serves a couple of purposes. One, it allows all students to present arguments orally (SL.9-10.4) within a specific structure. It helps to limit those that might dominate discussion based debates and allows shy students a format that allows them to break into the conversation without having to engage in argument with their peers. Additionally, and this is something my teaching partner and I will make sure to point out before we start, it is difficult and inappropriate for students to attack each other's ideas in a spiteful way. Instead, students have to argue with ideas instead of people (SL.9-10.3). Because there is not opportunity for students to work themselves up in a back and forth argument, it is less likely that things will become personal. Instead, they will hopefully work within the structure to respond thoughtfully to their peers' ideas (SL.9-10.1d).

Jim and I will model this for students and then step back so that they can lead the discussion. We will choose a silly topic (i.e. English is clearly the best high school class) and take turns sitting in a hot seat to share our ideas. We will remind students that they should not line up to enter the hot seat, but just wait patiently in their seats until a seat opens up. This has never been a problem for me when I've done hot seat discussions in the past, but it bear mentioning so that students don't feel anxious about the process.

Hot Seat Debate

60 minutes

The rest of the period will be spent in the Hot Seat Debate. I will grade students based on the arguments they present, as well as the evidence they use to support their arguments (W.9-10.1 and W.9-10.1b). I will not use a rubric (this is the last day of class, so I am trying to save on paper), but will take notes on what students are saying so that I can compare my observations with my teaching partners' observations after class to determine what grade students should receive. While this is a speaking exercise, it is also my last chance to grade them on their ability to create an argument, so I will focus on the writing argument standards in addition to SL.9-10.1 as I grade.

I will also watch how they interact with each other and, if the opportunity presents itself, join the discussion by sitting in a hot seat. 

I will remind students that this is their last opportunity to show me what they can do and will encourage them to sit in a hot seat at least once over the course of the class period. 

The discussion will center on the six arguments from their hot seat debate prep sheets: 

We tried to create statements that would inspire discussion due to the lack of one correct perspective. Students were able to prepare both sides of an argument for each and may use their papers when they come up to sit in a hot seat (SL.9-10.1a). 

Wrap Up!!

15 minutes

We will use the last 15 minutes of class to get the room back in order, to collect papers and to offer our thanks and recognition for a great year. I really want to make sure that my students know how grateful I am for their hard work and flexibility. I will hopefully be able to get through my little speech without getting choked up, but who knows. This has been a great group of kids to work with and that is truly a gift.