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. 



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


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:


P.E.E.L. Argument – Written Evaluation Unit 1


Here are the instructions for your evaluation for Unit 1.

You will write out IN YOUR COPY BOOKS a complete PEEL argument for a debate on a given topic.


Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link

Your argument will be graded on how you fulfill each of the four criteria (P.E.E.L.), Use of English and neatness.

Your teacher will write the debate motion on the white board.

Once everyone has completed their arguments, and has had them checked, students will be able to present the arguments in a debate (Crossfire format or 3 vs. 3 format).




Socratic Circle – Intelligent automobiles?

Hello students,

This post was created on last year´s website for high school students.  The idea is that you can see the format and structure of Socratic Circle activity.


Topics for discussion will be selected by the teacher or students, and may consider the following areas:

  • 5th-6th: Conflict Resolution
  • 7th-8th: Immigration or Science & Technology, Environmental Issues
  • 9th – 11th: Modern Day Politicians

Immigration Policies: Democratic Candidates


*Ex. Climate Change Debate for 7th-8th Graders:

Trump (2:35 – 3:309 vs. Dicaprio (1:50 – end)

Nat Geo Article on People´s distrust in Science


Lincoln Debate & Critical Thinking 2015


You will read the following article and you must come up with three questions for next class.  The idea is that your questions can be discussed, that they are not simply comprehension questions, rather they are critical thinking questions you can bring to the circle.



View original post

Debate: Past and Present

(Fill-in-the-blanks on a piece of paper)


Debate dates back to around the fifth century B.C. when the 1)_________ philosopher Protagoras proposed that for every idea, there must be a corresponding opposite or contrary idea.


Around the same time, other Greek philosophers pioneered the ¨sophistic¨ movement, which focussed on the power of rhetorical 2)_________ mainly in the political arena.


Then along came 3)__________.  He blaimed the Sophists for tricking people into believing them via their ¨gift of gab¨ or for being ¨wordsmiths¨.

So rather than simply persuading people with effective speech or writing, his objective was to seek truths through effective questioning.  And although  Socrates´ questioning strategy and ability to make speakers look bad by proving them wrong was sometimes compared to that of a ¨4)_________ charmer¨, his focus was primarily on logical reasoning and rational thought.  Thus, although effective speech is very important, so is being right!



Just like the Ancient Greeks predicted, public speaking and debate would prove to become one of the most important parts of the democratic process in Western Society.


Here: British Prime Minister 5)______________ during the parliamentary debate on whether to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, December 2, 2015.

In fact, in more than a few occasions during US presidential elections, whether it was what they said or how they said it, the vote was directly influenced by candidates performances in the debate.




The 2012 Presidential Debates between President Obama and 6)____________ Romney show us the effectiveness of strong voice, 7)___________ language and clear developed arguments based on factual examples.  (Watch: 0:55 – 2:00, Romney challenges Obama on the economy, Obama rebuts).


Whereas, the debates for the Republican Primary for the 2016 presidential election more closely resemble a 8)________________.  (Watch: 2:55 – End).



Answers to Fill-in-the-Blanks:

  1. Greek
  2. speech
  3. Socrates
  4. snake
  5. David Cameron
  6. Governor
  7. body
  8. *Answers may vary: ex. game, party, shouting match, really annoying reality show, horrible Hair Club for men Commercial, popularity contest on the Lifestyles of the Rich and “Shameless”, Saturday Night Live skit, WWE Monday Night Raw, Animal Planet special on primates or bunch of drunks.



Antonio Banderas and Pitbull (6:40-fin) respond:

Islamic Extremists by numbers

Watch: start – 1:40 only!