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There is nothing more gratifying to a social studies teacher than seeing their students engage in a lively and passionate discussion about a current or historical event—even better if their arguments are well reasoned, factually accurate, and delivered in a civil way.
Scored discussions are a technique that can be used to create more of these magical classroom moments by teaching and assessing high-level discussion skills. Teachers introduce criteria for effective discussions and then select a few criteria to “score” students on in any given discussion. Possible criteria:
-Acknowledging the previous speaker
-Clearly stating a fact or opinion
-Using convincing evidence to support an argument
-Disagreeing in an agreeable way
-Speaking with a loud, clear voice
Interrupt a speaker? Veer off topic? Negative points can also be awarded. The game-like atmosphere coaxes students to participate while giving them a chance to practice effective speaking and listening skills. The scored discussion tally sheet also provides you with an informal means to assess participation, content knowledge, and skills.
Ready to try this in your classroom? Scored discussions can be applied to TCI’s Response Groups or can be modified to fit any class discussion style. This detailed document, from TCI’s Bring Learning Alive! book, walks you through the process and provides models and examples. Enjoy!
Download scored discussion document: Scored Discussion_from Bring Learning Alive