Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Friendly Arguments

It's time for Tried It Tuesday with my sweet buddy Holly!
I tried a DEBATE today with my class and they LOVED IT!
It really happened by accident...we read an article in Scholastic News about killer whales and before we even read the article there was a buzz in the room with their opinions of whether killer whales should be kept in marine parks. Of course, living in Florida (home to Sea World), many students shared their wonderful experiences about the theme park.
We read the article together and I had my students use two different colored highlighters (yellow for PROS and blue for CONS of keeping whales in marine parks) to highlight information they felt was a positive or negative statement about keeping whales confined.

They were starting to have what I like to call "friendly arguments" at their groups, so I decided to have a class debate. I only had one rule: only the people in the "hot seats" could talk, everyone else had to wait in the line they were supporting in this debate.
These two hopped up right away!
See the passion in the girl's gestures?
Normally, a shy young man, this student was very eager to speak his mind! :)
Only moments later, a few have joined the debate!
I love how this picture captured both students referring back to the article to support their arguments!
More are joining the debate party! (And, the two who started are back in line again!)
They made such valid points and with such strong conviction for 9 & 10 year olds!
Ok, now EVERYONE wants in! The expressions tell all!!
Remember the shy student? During all this "heated debate about killer whales" he set up a demonstration at the back of the room while I was mediating the friendly arguments! :)
He had a friend surrounded by chairs in a small area, while he was roaming around the open space. He said, "See, he's the whale that's at the theme park with no where to go, and I'm the whale out in the ocean laughing at him!" I was so impressed with his passion!
They begged me to continue in the afternoon! I loved that they were all engaged, even if they weren't "on stage" debating. I definitely will have to find some more topics to use in this forum.
They used the information from the article and their "friendly arguments" to complete this Pros & Cons Organizer from my Reading Non-Fiction With Post-Its. I used the same color sticky notes as we used to highlight the text to make it an easy visual for my students.
Check out all the TRIED ITS over at Fourth Grade Flipper!
Don't forget to go sign up for my friend Diane's March Madness Giveaway!
Tons of prizes to be won!
Happy Wednesday Eve!


  1. I love the idea of incorporating the hot seats during the debate because there's no question regarding who has the floor. I will definitely try this!

  2. Love this! I bet they had SO much fun! It made me think about the documentary "Blackfish". I've always enjoyed SeaWorld, but don't know if I can ever look at it the same way now.

  3. BRILLIANT! I would've loved to have this article since we will actually be going to Sea World for our field trip in two months! I'm going to go run around and see if anyone in 4th or 5th gets the Scholastic News. For some reason...I think someone does...I just can't remember who. XO
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I love this!! Their expressions are priceless! I love your post-it note pages too and just copied quite a few yesterday. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. What a wonderful and engaging learning experience for your kiddos! Bravo!


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