Gaining Understanding through Discussion and Debate

Classroom Activities to Develop Academic Discussion and Debate

Teachers frequently comment that they need additional activities that contribute to students' readiness for  academic discussion and debate in the classroom. Below are eight that can be used with Word Generation or any debatable topic that arises in the classroom.

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Related Videos from Word Generation Classroom


Compare how a group of Boston seventh grade students debate early in the school year, and then a few months later after Word Generation lessons.

prior to Word Generation

after several months of WG


Listen to how a group Boston fourth graders are allowed to formulate their positions on school uniforms prior to debating the issue.

Fourth grade teacher Monique Conaway decided to have her students formulate their positions in writing prior to their discussion and debate on the issue of school uniforms.


Watch how a fourth grade teacher Beverly Brembt in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District (MA), helps her students think through the various perspectives within a Word Generation unit.

THE WORDGEN  TEAMDevelopment of Word Generation was led by Catherine Snow (Harvard University) through a SERP collaboration with the Boston Public Schools and other districts in Massachusetts and Maryland. Support for Word Generation was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education through grant numbers R305A090555 and R305F100026. The information provided does not represent views of the funders.

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