To declare independence or not to declare independence, that is the question. The students have been diligently preparing for a debate between patriots and loyalists on this topic. To being this work, the students viewed video clips about how debates work and also watched a few examples. My goal was to show them that debates are organized disagreements and not just arguments. Each student has been assigned a role for the debate process: debater, producer, or arbitrator. On Day One students worked individually to research and take notes about the viewpoints of a historical person on the debate question. Day Two was set aside for debaters to meet as teams to compare notes, to elaborate on points, to determine strongest arguments, and to decide the order in which each person will present. Arbitrators met to decide ahead of time what arguments they really wanted to hear from both sides during the debate and how they will award points. The producers worked together to create an artifact such as a letter to the editor or journal entry for the debaters to use as testimonial during the debate. The producers are also in charge of coaching the historical figures on how they should present their arguments according to descriptions of that figure's character traits. Today, Day Three, will be the debates. The arbitrators will be judging the debate and determining a winner based on this debate, not on what we know occurred in history. In the end students will complete a self-reflection rubric about their participation throughout the process, and I will be completing the same rubric for each student.
Bell School has a debate team that begins in sixth grade. If the students enjoy this experience, it is something they should keep in mind next year as they consider extra-curricular activities. Good luck to Patriots and Loyalists!
Hello Bell School! My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Saint Mary's College in Indiana, a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. My love for social studies was instilled in me by my dad who loves to talk about history. My parents always included historical sites on our family vacations.