Is it possible to get middle school students to talk respectfully to one another, especially if they don’t agree? Award-winning middle grades history teacher Jennifer Ingold considered this a challenge and set out to integrate debate into her Enduring Issues units. Here’s how!
End of year is an optimal time for educators to step out of our comfort zones and try innovative techniques with our students. Don’t fall into “countdown mode.” Think of this time as a gift, without the pressure of state testing. Give Valentina Gonzalez’s strategies a try!
Despite the success of last spring’s well informed debates in her 8th grade U.S. History classes, Sarah Cooper is taking an indefinite break from the no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all style of discussion in favor of more collaborative, consensus building strategies.
Bit by bit, during each Friday’s 43-minute current events session, Sarah Cooper’s eighth graders come closer to a democratic classroom culture that students really own – through their ideas, through their questions, through their wondering how the world works.
Middle schoolers are “notorious sponges” who soak up the emotional energy around them, says teacher Elyse Scott. In the wake of a divisive election, she recommends an activity that can help kids build collaborative skills, empathy and acceptance of other viewpoints.
Learn how Socratic Seminars can help students develop effective habits of discussion, explain their ideas, and support them with evidence in this guest post by Sarah Tantillo, who provides a complete how-to with many resources!
Teaching Argument Writing: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning is not a portable guide, says reviewer Jaime Greene, but a book that “did help me begin to wrap my brain around what quality argument in the classroom sounds and looks like.”