Argumentation and Flash Debate: Building Talk Structures, Analytical Thinking, and Logical Expression across ELA, S.S., and Science

Wednesday, December 9 - Friday, December 11, 2020
Institute will be offered virtually through Zoom.

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Grade: 5-12
Hours: 11am-5pm Eastern Standard Time
Featuring: Mary Ehrenworth, Philip Seyfried, and Mandy Ehrlich
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, 525 W 120th Street, Box 77, New York, NY 10027

The past few years have been both painful and beautiful for student activism. Tween and teen voices are raised and heard around the country as never before. At this institute, we will establish a vision for how to launch, sustain, and lift the level of argument work in grades 5-12 across all content areas and across students’ lives, so that students learn powerful ways to analyze evidence, compose logical arguments, and use their voices to advocate for change.

One of the great skills of participatory democracy is the ability to argue on behalf of oneself and others. When students are taught to argue with logic as well as passion (and to listen to and read the arguments of others, testing them for their logic and credibility), they become discriminating and credible, influential and engaged. They have learned not only a skill but an identity and a way of life.

This small and intense institute will focus on the work that can happen in a classroom leading up to argument writing. Participants will practice a protocol for debate and methods of coaching into partner talk during debates. They will learn strategies to teach students to seek and analyze evidence and logic.

Additionally, participants will learn about argument units of study, assessment tools, and checklists, as well as the significance of argumentation as a global and ethical imperative. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to observe students who are deeply engaged in argument, to study their writing, and to learn from their teachers as well as from TCRWP faculty. You’ll also develop your own plan for teaching argument skills, so that you feel confident leading classroom work and sharing this work with colleagues. This institute will focus on argumentation across modalities, so that you can imagine ways to set kids up to be in contact with kids in other schools, around issues they care deeply about.

This institute is designed for ELA, Science, and S.S. teachers, as well as coaches and administrators working with grades 5-12.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.