Literary Debate


ELAR-Grade-7 Non-fiction Texts Literary Debate
Students work in groups on a debate topic related to a novel they have read. Each group subdivides into teams for and against the topic. Teams plan their initial speech and rebuttal. They listen to and address the opposing team’s speech in order to adequately address the arguments made. The students not participating in the debate listen and take notes so they may ask the teams questions as needed. The audience votes on which team presented a more convincing argument.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for Literary Debate:

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Overview

In this experience, students work in groups on a debate topic related to a novel they have read. Each group subdivides into teams for and against the topic. Teams plan their initial speech and rebuttal. They listen to and address the opposing team’s speech in order to adequately address the arguments made. The students not participating in the debate listen and take notes so they may ask the teams questions as needed. The audience votes on which team presented a more convincing argument.

Divide students into groups of 4 or 6 people (if possible), so that both the for and against teams have the same number of participants. If you have an odd number of students, you can have two students split presentation of the initial team position, or you can pair a strong student with an ELL student to work together.

The student posts throughout the experience enable you to track student progress and to ensure that the students have divided up the work appropriately. As students work with their teams, monitor their progress and intervene when necessary.

Choosing Literary Debate Topics

All students in each group should have read the same novel for the purpose of the debate. All small groups can debate the same novel, for example, at the conclusion of a class novel study, or each group can read and debate a different novel.

Some sample debate topics include:

  • Of Mice and Men: George is justified in shooting Lennie; the ends justify the means.
  • Julius Caesar: The assassination of Julius Caesar is not justified; the ends do not justify the means.
  • Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein was responsible for the destruction caused by his monster; people are responsible for the indirect outcomes of their actions. This topic could be tied to a current event, such as: “Does the lack of gun control make lawmakers responsible for mass shootings?”
  • The Hunger Games: The government should always consider the good of the public over the freedom of individual citizens.
  • Harry Potter: The Slytherin House should have been disciplined for their racist behavior towards muggleborns.

Objectives

  • Work with a group to prepare a debate.
  • Analyze a novel to prepare a position.
  • Use good speaking skills to present a position.
  • Listen actively to evaluate speeches given by classmates.

Duration

One to two class periods for preparation, and about 3 debates per class period.


Have you ever participated in a debate? Unless you are on a debate team, your immediate reaction might be to say “no,” but you probably participate in debates more often than you realize. Anytime you address an opinion offered by someone else and try to refute it, you are engaging in a form of debate. In this experience, you will be working with a team to debate a topic based on a novel you and your debate group have read. With your team, you will plan and develop speeches to be given during a debate in an attempt to persuade the audience to agree with the position you are arguing.

Objectives

  • Work with a group to prepare a debate.
  • Analyze a novel to prepare a position.
  • Use good speaking skills to present a position.
  • Listen actively to evaluate speeches given by classmates.


Cartoon of Robin Hood shooting his bow and arrow, with caption: What do you mean you disagree with me?

Have you ever read a story or novel in which you disagreed with the actions of a character?


State the title of the book and describe the actions of the characters that you disagreed with. Be prepared to defend your explanation and why you feel the way you do. 

Post your answer

Use student responses to introduce the concept of debating and discussion elements from literature, including character actions and motivations, and theme. Depending on the student responses, try to tie comments to current events and have students explain how one can use literature to examine broad social issues.


In this experience you will debate a literary topic. Together with a team, you will develop an argument and find text evidence to support your reasoning.


Divide students into their small groups. Assign each group a debate topic. When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

End of Preview
The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Non-fiction Texts Unit.
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