Middle School
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The Great Debate! Argument-based Writing and Persuasive Speaking at the Middle School Level

Argument-based writing, reasoning, and speaking is being pushed strongly with the Common Core, and lends itself perfectly to teens' natural ability to challenge authority. Here are some resources and ideas to help you incorporate this skill within your classroom.
A Collection By Alexis Roesser
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The Great Debate! Argument-based Writing and Persuasive Speaking at the Middle School Level
  • Alexis Roesser says:
    Having students play a few rounds of chess gets them anticipating what will happen next, which is exactly what the rebuttal of a debate is all about. This is a skill that is still developing for many middle school students, who tend to think impulsively without seeing how one action affects the next. Teaching students the valuable strategies in a chess match will serve them well for the most exciting part of the debate.
  • Alexis Roesser says:
    Advice for how to deliver the rebuttal portion of the debate, which can often be a chance for students to really shine with their educated arguments. They will need to quickly decide what points to abandon, and which to highlight in a short amount of time. They will need to strategize as a team to see which points will persuade the audience most convincingly.
  • Persuasive Writing

    Website
    readwritethink.org
    readwritethink.org
    Alexis Roesser says:
    This site has multiple lessons and PowerPoints on persuasive writing that are broken down by grade level to best suit your students' needs. This would ideally be presented, modeled, and practiced with students before you begin the debate unit.
  • Alexis Roesser says:
    Want to show your students an outstanding example of what kids their age can do? Show clips from this debate to highlight the students' speech organization, research, rebuttals, and eye contact.
  • learnnc.org
    learnnc.org

    Debates in the middle school classroom

    Article
    Alexis Roesser says:
    This page takes you through the process of a middle school debate, and how to get students debating in your classroom. The format and process can be adapted to any subject area.
  • Alexis Roesser says:
    An excellent list of potential debate topics that would work with middle school students. Many of these have a connection to science and the environment, as well as social studies. Great opportunity for cross-curricular development within a unit.
  • Alexis Roesser says:
    This is a debate template I created for use within my classroom with much success over the past few years. The debate unit also has students researching informational texts, identifying opinion from fact, pulling out central ideas, and creating persuasive writing that they then present during a real in-class debate.