Debates and High Order Thinking

By Brent Vasicek on December 11, 2010
  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8


Filling a child's mind full of facts should not be the goal of education. Teaching them to use their resources to make sound decisions should be. Many teachers struggle with teaching higher order thinking skills. I used to find it difficult as well, until I discovered the power of a good debate.

Warning: A link to a great dollar deal below!



I like to challenge the students by asking them to own their opinions through debates and persuasive essays. I try to provide topics that are of particular interest to kids. For example, Should there be assigned seats in the lunch room? Should our school adopt a new uniform policy?

I found it difficult to come up with a great debate topic every week until a colleague, Ms. Kress, introduced me to the book 50 Debate Prompts for Kids . This book has proven to be the perfect, teacher-friendly book I was looking for. It is well-organized and has many topics to choose from. I love this book for my fourth and fifth graders, and I believe it would work with middle school students as well.

Through the 24th of December you can download an eBook version for $1! By downloading the eBook you are not only saving $10, but you are also living the life of integrity when it comes to copyright laws. As an added bonus, it is much easier to run clean copies of the debates for your class with a nice flat sheet of paper as opposed to a book with a spine crammed under the cover of the copying machine.  And, for you technologically advanced teachers, it is so convenient to be able to send digital pages directly to the copier via the powers of the Internet.

I will admit it is a tad difficult to find this deal on the Scholastic website, so I am here to expose the link on Teacher ExpressClick here for this eBook and hundreds of other eBooks you can download for $1.  It's the perfect holiday gift for a colleague this week.

Fishbowl luigi d ACTIVITY My favorite activity to do with these debates is called a fishbowl. For an explanation visit this link.

I know this sounds like a paid endorsement for this book, but I assure you that I am not forced to type these words. The book is well worth the original price, and when I saw it for $1 during the holidays I just had to share.


Dollar deals and debates,


Fishbowl photo courtesy Luigi Diamanti.






i love helps kids think more quickly.What do you think about it?

I am having the same issues with downloading the eBooks. Can you offer any help? It is still showing the full price in the cart, any suggestions?

I do not believe the $1 deal is still in effect. ~Brent

I was really excited about the Dollar Deals but it doesn't seem to be working. Items are still showing full price in the cart even though they say $1 on the selection list. Is there a promo code? I've bought ebooks with no hassles in the past. Has the procedure changed?

Hmmmm. Not sure. I confirm your difficulties with it today. I will pass word along to others at Scholastic. Thank you for making us aware of the issue. ~Brent

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
RSS Subscribe ButtonSign up to get these great teaching ideas delivered automatically.Subscribe now >