Debate Time! Characterization Activity

Debate Time Cover.jpg
Debate Time Cover.jpg

Debate Time! Characterization Activity

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This listing is for a sample lesson sequence from The Big Book of Characterization (sold separately). The full book contains over 100 pages of lessons centered around the literary element characterization but also has students analyzing a bunch of different literary elements and techniques while targeting reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These are great activities to make Characterization the entire focus of your ELA curriculum! So, if you like what you see here, check out the listing for the ENTIRE BOOK!

"Debate Time!"

To debate different aspects of characters using textual evidence to support character analysis

To develop criteria for analyzing character
To support analysis with textual evidence
To use rhetorical skills for constructing and supporting an oral argument
To construct an effective argument supported with logical reasoning and textual evidence

Common Core Standards
R1, 3, 6, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 10/ SL 1, 3, 4, 6/ L1-3

One of the most engaging and interactive ways to get students involved in class discussion is through a debate. For the FIVE debate activities included in this listing, you will assign your students to a specific character from a specific piece of literature. Then, students will answer the yes or no “focus question” for the debate activity by providing textual evidence, reasons, and character traits to support each side of the debate for the assigned character. Each debate activity also includes an optional “Post-Debate Write-up” that students can complete after they have debated the question in class. This writing activity will help students to synthesize the class debate and arrive at their own character analysis. 

If you would like to assess the quality of student responses as well as create a more independent debate, consider using the rubric included here in this packet. This rubric requires students to speak a certain number of times, and students are assessed on the quality and depth of what they say—not just for merely speaking. There are also ways for students to earn bonus points during the discussion according to this rubric. The checks and symbols on the rubric are how I notate student credit during the debate. 

Overall, these discussions will get your students involved in analyzing literature on a deeper level and using textual evidence to support arguments.