What type of conversation are Buzz and Woody having? How do you know?
What are the different viewpoints Buzz and Woody are trying to express?
What do you notice about Buzz and Woody’s voices and hand gestures?
What is the point of having an argument? What is each person trying to do?
Is this a very effective argument? Why or why not?
As a class, brainstorm some topics that family and friends might argue about e.g. how to spend leisure time, what television shows to watch, where to go on holidays. List these as a mind map on the board.
Choose one of the topics from the class brainstorm. Ask two students to volunteer to have an argument; one arguing ‘for’ the statement, the other arguing ‘against’ the statement. While the conversation is taking place, encourage the rest of the class to take note of the language, tone of voice, facial expressions and hand gestures being used by the students.
Discuss the argument as a class. Ask the students:
Which student do you think was more convincing?
Why do you think this?
What language and gestures did you notice during the argument?
Ask the students to form pairs. Provide each pair with a topic card from the Persuasive Topic Cards – Upper Grades. Whichever student is the oldest must take the ‘for’ side of the topic, while the other student must take the ‘against’ side of the topic. Designate a set amount of time for students to conduct their argument e.g. ten minutes.
Ask each pair to report back to the class about how their argument unfolded. Ask questions, such as:
What tone of voice did you use when you were presenting your view?
What information did you present to try and make your partner agree with you?
What types of words were you using as you were arguing?
Did your partner manage to convince you to agree with their viewpoint on the topic?
Ask the students to stand in a circle. Choose a topic card that was not used in the pair game. Taking turns around the circle, students must present an argument for the topic, then an argument against the topic (and so on). Continue around the circle until the students cannot think of any more arguments. Choose another card and repeat the process. This could be played as an elimination game with one student left standing as the winner.
Place more confident students together in pairs for the argument game, so that they may challenge and extend each other's thinking.
Choose an appropriate partner for less confident students for the argument game, so that they feel comfortable to participate.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities