Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weigh the Arguments before Deciding

There are few things in life that are simply black or white, right or wrong, or true or false. Mel Fisher's fourth graders provided a very good example of this concept today when they debated the topic Smartphones for Fourth Graders. The students decided which side they wanted to represent and then worked as pro and con teams to develop arguments supporting fourth graders having smartphones and arguments against fourth graders having smartphones.

Both sides did a very nice job of presenting their arguments. The group for smartphones provided the four person adult panel of judges with a handout outlining their reasons. The group against smartphones displayed a poster that they had created. The pro group presented their information like a choral reading. The con group took turns presenting their arguments. It was fun to see students working together so closely, to see them so engaged in their learning, and to see them evaluate a topic that really interested them.

It was a pleasure to see these students process their thinking and to see them realize that those who would pretend to live in a world of absolutes are going to struggle. Life is more like a spreadsheet with multiple columns. Weighing the arguments in the various columns and then making a decision is what day to day living is all about. Thanks, Mel Fisher, for inviting me!

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