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. 



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:



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).




Unit 1 – Conflict Resolution: Written Reflection

Instructions: Read the situation below, and answer the questions in your copy books using complete sentences.


Some of your classmates are making fun of a new student who is in the other class because he has a funny accent.  They are constantly imitating how he talks and laughing at him.  At first, the boy is also smiling and laughing too, but after some time, you see he looks sad.


  1.  What would you do?  Why?  What wouldn´t you do?  Why not?
  2.  What might happen if you and the other students did nothing and just ignored the situation?
  3.  Do you think your friends deserve to be punished for making fun of his accent?  Why or why not?  If yes, explain the punishment.

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!

What does it mean to be diplomatic?


DIPLOMACY is the ability to deal with others without causing bad feelings (Merriam-Webster simple definition of Diplomacy, 2015).

So, if you can solve problems without causing bad feelings, you are diplomatic!

Diplomáticos de Relaciones-dos-personas-negotiation-blanco-39557925





Gang Of Youths Fighting


a) What do you think happened?

b) What can they do?  What can you do as a By-Stander?

c) How can you be more diplomatic to resolve conflicts?

Click on the link to see some tips on how to be a  more diplomatic person!






Welcome Back!


Welcome back everyone!  5th graders new to debate, 6th graders who learned a lot last year, 7th and 8th graders who are going to have an extra hour to really have some good, fun debates, and finally all you high schoolers, you know how this works, and you know that I know that you know how to have a good debate!


Well, at the end of last year, you spoke and I listened!  This year will be better than ever! The biggest change will be that there will be more oral discussions and debates, and less reading and written work.  But the audience will be expected to work, recording and reflecting on what the speakers say.  This way nobody will be interrupting!  And everything we do will be “con nota”  !!!


Anyway, do what you have to, and do it your best.  That’s how you will improve your speaking and debating, get a good grade and have fun too!