Unit 6 – Refining Persuasion

With the end of the year in site, we must persevere.  Part of persevering involves refining, which is making some small, detailed adjustments to better something.

By now you should at least have an idea of what makes a strong argument, as well you should be able to tell a good speech from a not so good one.  So let´s put the two together and focus on persuasion.

Prepare an argument using one of these ¨silly¨ debate topics, or your own, and present it in a way that is serious, persuading and convincing!

How can you use your voice, your eyes and your body movements to make people believe you?  How can you appear to be more confident and less nervous?  

The speech will be 1 minute.  You might read it once without paying attention to style, then a second time with style focus…  😉

Argument Ideas.


  1. There is life on other planets.
  2. Dogs are the smartest animals.
  3. Everything sounds better with an English accent.
  4. Pink is a man´s color._ml_p2p_pc_badge_tallest15
  5. Dating advice should be taught in school.
  6. Showering is not necessary.
  7. Vladimir Putin is a fictional character.  252261-830-366
  8. The US election was decided by Facebook. (and propoganda)
  9. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  10. The glass is half full.


Given the short time we have left, grades for adequate speeches will be given between 6.0-7.0 using the following format:

No time for speech = repeat class average.

Time for speech, but not completed = 2.0

Speech, but no argument, and/or not taken seriously = 4.0-5.0

Persuasive speech alone = 6.0

Extra components to earn a maximum score = 7.0, are the following:

Eye contact = +0.2, Body language = +0.2, Pauses = +0.2, Word/Syllable stresses = +0.2, Within time limit (45-75 sec.)  = +0.2



Unit 5 – Mini Model UN




Page 52-59 (pdf) – International Human Rights

Page 60-61 – French Headscarves Ban

Pages 124-125 – Human Trafficking


buhari-fayemi New York, Ban Ki-moon

In this unit, every student from Middle School to High School will participate in a ¨mini¨ Model United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Throughout the year, we have carried out various policy debates, in which the Proposition Side presents to the house a real problem and an adaquate solution to that problem, which the Opposition Side rejects.  This process is not all that different from how real-world policy makers work.

Arguably the most important international organization for making real-world policies is the United Nations, where 193 member states get together with the intent to pass resolutions to conflicts, crisis and catastrophes.


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Identify a problem in the world.

Relate to that problem on a personal level ¨putting yourself in their shoes¨.

Create a viable solution to that problem.

You will be working in groups, representing a country and given some problems to resolve.  In groups, you must research your country, the problems and imagine how that country would want to present its case in the matter.  Then, we will have the general assembly, which includes a debate, a caucus, draft resolutions and finally voting.

EVALUATION will be a peer assessment (plus a written component for 7th-8th grades).






MUN Training – Points and Motions:



M.U.N. Vocabulary…  (COPYBOOKS!!!)

  1.  Motion – topic being presented to the table in which country delegates can vote ¨FOR¨ or ¨AGAINST.¨
  2.  Delegate – a speaker present at the United Nations General Assembly meetings who represents his or her country.
  3. Placard – a card with the name of a delegate´s representative country.
  4. Roll Call – when the chairperson calls out the names of the countries present, and delegates respond ¨present¨ or ¨present and voting.¨
  5. Agenda – list of topics to be discussed.
  6. Draft Resolution – a plan for a potential resolution to a real world conflict, which will be voted on (normally a 2/3´s majority vote is necessary to pass a resolution in the United Nations).
  7. Debate – when delegates are invited to present their country´s stance on an issue.  Speeches from a ¨speakers list¨ are usually limited to 1-2 minutes, but there may be a motion to speak longer.
  8. Unmoderated Caucus – a temporary recess (approx. 20 minutes) when delegates can get together to informally discuss topics and prepare draft resolutions.
  9. Point of Information – when a delegate wants to oppose or question something the speaker says.
  10. Point of Order – when a delegate believes the rules of procedure have not been followed correctly.
  11. Point of Personal Privelege – when a delegate feels any personal discomfort (ex. noise, bathroom, distractions, etc.)
  12. Point of Inquiry – when a delegate is unsure about procedures.


  • All students will be delegates representing a UN member state.
  • Groups of 2-4 delegates will work together (Students can choose groups).
  • Students may choose the country they wish to represent, however there are two restrictions: 1) that there is a good representation of the different regions of the world, and 2) that they cannot choose Chile.


  • Students will vote on 2-3 resolutions regarding the following topics: Syria, Darfur, France Headscarves ban, Globalization, Isreal/Palestine conflict, Climate Change, Human Trafficking or North Korea´s Nuclear Program. 



High School Week 3-4 Discussion: Political and Economic Systems and ¨the Father of Capitalism¨


To continue our unit on what exactly a Model Society may look like, it is necessary to discuss politics and economics, and of course review a little bit of the classic literature on the subject!  Last year, we looked briefly at Plato´s The Republic, which at the time (approx. 300 BC), was meant to act as a working guide for Society, from the government official right down to the peasant farmer.

This year we have shifted forward to 1775, when Scottish political scientist and philosopher Adam Smith, who is thought by many modern-day scholars to be regarded as ¨The Father of Capitalism,¨ wrote the first edition of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

This book would prove to be one of the most influential works in 19th and 20th century economic policies, inspiring the likes of Karl Marx, Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman.  As is with The Republic, the book is far too long and complicated to read in our Debate and Critical Thinking class, but we will read parts of it, and more importantly, we will seriously consider Smith´s recommendations for a wealthy and thriving nation.  Key concepts to analyze and discuss (Compare and Contrast, Argue) are the following:

  • The role of the State
  • The role of Business (private enterprise)
  • The well-being of citizens (the public sector)
  • Sovereignty and the Commonwealth
  • Debt
  • Defense and Civil Justice
  • Taxes
  • Divisions of Labor and Wages

LINK TO FULL TEXT PDF  (Read: Intro pp. 4-6, p. 300, p. 545, p. 558, p. 568)


Amongst scholars there has been considerable debate on Smith´s opinion of an ideal society, an especially debatable topic is the concept that Smith calls the ¨invisible hand.¨

There is disagreement between classical and neoclassical economists about the central message of Smith’s most influential work: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Neoclassical economists emphasise Smith’s invisible hand,[79] a concept mentioned in the middle of his work – Book IV, Chapter II – and classical economists believe that Smith stated his programme for promoting the “wealth of nations” in the first sentences, which attributes the growth of wealth and prosperity to the division of labour.

… This last statement about “an invisible hand” has been interpreted in numerous ways.

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.9   (Wikipedia)




6.00-8.00 (excellent analysis of shift from liberal to neoliberal)    9.00-10.00 (trump)    13.00- (fall of globalism)   16.00 (lies of business school)  17.00-18.00 (unsustainable debt vs cancelled debt civil justice)   22.30 (controling language)  24.30 (writers in prison)

AFP Debate, Chile





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Changes” is a hip hop song by Tupac Shakur featuring Talent. The song makes references to the war on drugs, the treatment ofblack people by the police, the perpetuation of poverty and its accompanying vicious-cycle value system in urban African American culture, and the difficulties of life in the ghetto. “Changes” remains one of Tupac’s most notable and popular songs…

… Released posthumously on his album Greatest Hits, the song talks about all of the different issues that were related to Tupac’s era of influence – notably racism, police brutality,drugs and gang violence. The “Huey” that 2Pac mentions in the song (“two shots in the dark, now Huey’s dead”) is Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party. The song refers to the possibility of a black President of the United States, claiming “we ain’t ready”. Further, the last verse of the song refers to Tupac’s anxiety about being shot to death, mimicking the sound of a gun with the phrase “rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat”.

Lyrics 2PAC




Unit 4 High School: Model Society

The purpose of this unit is consider some of the deeper concepts that are fundamental to the overall well-being of a given society.

Throughout history some of the major factors that are the driving forces behind a society are things such as culture and morals, economic and political systems, and human rights.

On the surface these things may seem irrelevant and perhaps having obvious answers, however the reality is that they have long been and continue to be the fuel for the most firey and complicated debates of our times.  From Plato to Hitler to Che Guevera to John Lennon to Tupac Shakur to Bernie Sanders, people continue to question the status quo, proposing what they believe to be the best solutions for all of mankind.

ASSESSMENT: Towards the end of the unit, students will be requiered to write an opinion piece the gives ¨prescriptions¨ to better society as a whole.

Morals, Ethics and Culture Articles:

English 1  English 2

Spanish 1  Spanish 2

Week 2 Discussion Question:  Do universal morals exist?

Key Terms (Merriam-Webster / Real Academia Española):

Absolutism:  2:  advocacy of a rule by absolute standards or principles.  3:  an absolute standard or principle.

Relativism: 1a :  a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing.  b :  a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them.

Moral:  concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior.

Ethic: rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad. : a belief that something is very important.

Value:  something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable.

Skim:  to look over or read (something) quickly especially to find the main ideas.

Scan:  to look at (something) carefully usually in order to find someone or something.

Valor: 1. m. Grado de utilidad o aptitud de las cosas para satisfacer las necesidades oproporcionar bienestar o deleite.

4. m. Subsistencia y firmeza de algún acto.

5. m. Fuerza, actividad, eficacia o virtud de las cosas para producir sus efectos.

Ética: 5. f. Parte de la filosofía que trata del bien y del fundamento de sus valores.

Socialización 1. f. Acción y efecto de socializar. (3. tr. Adaptar a un individuo a las normas de comportamiento social.)   



And this is John Oliver talking about last week´s Republican Party Convention…  #rememberlogicalfallicies?




Lincoln Middle School Internal Debate Tournament


Demonstrate what the team´s role is in the debate.

Elaborate the arguments that support the team´s case in the debate

Argue for the team´s case and against the other team´s case in the debate.





Junk food, Capital punishment, transportation, Immigration, Space exploration, prisoners, Zoos.


Intellectual Property, Immigration Policies, Older versus younger generations, Driverless cars, Organ sales, Drones, Freedom of speech and Censorship.

Resources for 7th-8th Round 1 debates:

Debate #1


Debate #2



Debate #3

9 Things Drivers Need to Stop Saying in the Bikes vs. Cars Debate

Debate #4


WSDC Debate Format


Let´s face it!  Debating is fun!  Team sports are fun!  Competition is fun!  School debate competitions are teams sports.  You have two teams (usually with 3 people per side), and at the end of the debate, one of those teams will win, and one of those teams, despite performing well, will lose.   That is sport.  The thrill of victory!  The agony of defeat!  🙂

This unit we will learn how schools debate competitively.  There is a lot to learn, so let´s begin!

The virtue for Unit 3 is Honesty, which has everything to do with fair play!!

The learning objectives and skills are the following:

Analyze the WSDC 3 versus 3 Format.

Compare and Contrast the roles that each speaker must fulfill, as well the job of

Side Proposition and Side Opposition.

Develop a complete case for the side students represent in a debate.

3 vs 3 Format:


World schools debate championships

Logical Fallacies


Hi students!  The focus of Unit 3 is rebuttal.

Simple Definition of rebut

  • : to prove (something) is false by using arguments or evidence.

The concept of rebuttal connects nicely with our virtue for unit 3: HONESTY.

The skills and learning objectives are the following:

Infer that something does not make sense or sound correct when a person has stated a weak or fallacious argument.

Classify the different fallacies that are typically committed in debates.

Criticize a weak or fallacious argument, stating why in fact the logic is not sound.

To be able to give solid rebuttal, you must first be able to infer that there are flaws in arguments.  You will see that once you have learned about the fallacies, that it is almost impossible to produce an absolutely perfect argument!  So understanding the fallacies will make it difficult for somebody to prove you wrong!

Remember, we are working with the Virtue of HONESTY, and as Aristotle and Socrates said that one can be very persuasive using tricky tactics to falsely win over an audience, but what we should be most concerned with is seeking the truth with logical evidence that proves it to be true!

Sir Sam´s 10 favorites… 



…more Trump Fallacies:



Unit 2 Evaluation – Persuasive Speech

To evaluate our unit on Discourse and Rhetoric, all students must produce a short, original and PERSUASIVE speech, which will be based on a given theme.

Themes will be discussed in class to generate ideas for how you might want to build your speech.


  1. Your speech must be a minimum of 1 minute, and maximum of 2 minutes.
  2. You must use at least one of the rhetorical devices or means of persuasion we talked about, however you are encouraged to use more.
  3. 7th-8th Grades, your speech must be in English.  9th-11th Grades, your speech may be in any language you wish.
  4. Your speech must be persuasive.

Speeches will begin the week of April 26th.  *Students may even wish to wear outfits or costumes appropriate to their speeches.  Take it seriously, but have some fun with it!

THEMES:  *NOTE: How you approach the theme and the examples you use is completely up to you!  But you should choose to agree or disagree with the statement, and avoid being neutral as this is a persuasive speech!


Agree or Disagree:
What the evidence shows (Explanation):

7th Grade – OPTION 1. ¨Rousseau’s Social Contract is important for our security.¨

OPTION 2. ¨Selective breeding, artificial selection and geneticly modified organisims are good for society.¨   (related to recent work in Natural Sciences)

8th Grade – ¨There is no growth without change.¨   (related to recent work in English)

9th Grade – ¨Early Eastern civilizations have had a more profound impact on modern society than early Western civilizations.¨   (related to recent work in Social Studies)

10th Grade – ¨Patriotism is cute; Nationalism is scary.¨    (related to recent work in Social Studies)

11th Grade –  ¨¿Qué onda con la nueva constitución?¨   (related to recent work in Social Studies and Current Events Topics)



and: (only first paragraph) http://wallace.genetics.uga.edu/groups/evol3000/wiki/ce8b9/Selective_Breeding_or_Artificial_Selection.html

  • Video:



  • video (only some parts):



  • Reading: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/why-i-choose-to-patriotism-over-nationalism/
  • Video:


Unit 2 – Persuasive Speech

Objective: Analyze commonly used rhetorical devices and Aristotle´s Three Means of Persuasion

Virtue: Discipline

Welcome to the wonderful world of persuasive speaking.  What is discourse?  What is rhetoric?

Watch Obama´s very moving Yes, we can speech, and consider 1) How he carefully chooses the words that he uses.  2)  How he portrays his expertise.  3)  How he appeals to the audience´s emotions.  4) How he links his speech to reality and logic.


We are going to explore five Rhetorical Devices commonly used in persuasive speeches.

  1. Alliteration – a series of words in a row (or close to a row) that have the same first consonant sound. “I see also the dull, drilled, docile, brutish masses of the Hun soldiery plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts.” –Winston Churchill on the German invasion of Russia
    • Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation…” — Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
  2. Rhetorical Questions – Figure which asks a question, not for the purpose of further discussion, but to assert or deny an answer implicitly; a question whose answer is obvious or implied.

Can anyone look at the record of this Administration and say, “Well done”?  Can anyone compare the state of our economy when the Carter Administration took office with where we are today and say, “Keep up the good work”?  Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, “Let’s have four more years of this”?  — Ronald Reagan, 1980 Republican National  Convention Acceptance Address Note: Reagan was a particularly effective user of  “stacked” rhetorical questions.

3.  Rule of Three – rhetorical device of organizing and presenting topics, words or phrases in groups of threes.  ¨There’s a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.¨  – Matthew McConaughey Oscar Speech.

4.  Repetition –  a rhetorical device, it could be a word, a phrase or a full sentence or a poetical line repeated to emphasize its significance in the entire text. Repetition is not distinguished solely as a figure of speech but more as a rhetorical device.  ¨Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.¨ –  Abraham Lincoln.

5.  Anaphora – the deliberate repetition of the first part of the sentence in order to achieve an artistic effect.   (Epiphora is when the repeated word comes at the end.)

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”  – Winston Churchill.


Aristotle´s Three Means of Persuasion:

Ethos: The Appeal to the Speaker’s or Writer’s Character or Reputation

Pathos: The Appeal to Emotion

Logos: The Appeal to Reason


*Powerpoint on rhetoric: