Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Making an Argument

When my young students start with me, they will answer a question with what they think you want to hear. If you start asking questions, their opinion changes. For example we will have an ethical discussion and the question is: is stealing always wrong? They will answer yes. Then I ask things like "what if your baby is starving and you don't have any money-is it alright to steal then?" or "what if there's a hurricane and you are stranded-your neighbor has food and you don't-is it ok to take it?". You can just see the little cogs in their minds grinding.

Almost every day I give them a question to ponder. Is it better to be an only child or have siblings? Were cell phones a good invention? Television? Should women be allowed to be soldiers? They turn to a partner and discuss this (breakout rooms for my virtual students). The goal of this exercise is to get them to a point where they take a side and defend it. We also write about ethics often in regards to stories we read.

One of my favorite classroom moments was when we were discussing if a woman should be President (this was actually years before Hilary even ran). Chase said no, because women are not strong like men. Cecilia raised her hand and asked me if she could ask Chase a question. She said "isn't your mom strong, isn't Ms. Trayers strong?" They were having their own little debate and I loved every minute of it. They had gotten to the point where they could defend their opinions and that was my goal.

Here is an example of an activity where we explored this. My students love to read about animals and we have learned about many different species this year. My question was "do animals feel love?".

"yes they feel love because their families love."

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