On Monday night #engchat and #sschat joined forces to have a combined #engsschat.  There were a ton of good ideas flying around and one such idea was explored by Larissa Pahomov – @lpahomov – and I.  The question came up around what teachers were planning to do with the upcoming Presidential Debates and she remembered this great poster on logical fallacies that she used last year.  In addition, I played State of the Union Bingo with my students last year and an idea started to form.  Right after the chat Larissa posted a lovely reminder about the reach of professional collaboration.  She writes:

We teased this idea out during #engsschat, and then I shot of a quick e-mail to the 11th Grade English and History teachers at SLA. Is this definitely going to work out, or look anything like I just described? I can’t say for sure, but we’ll end up with some variation on this idea for sure.

So yesterday I took a moment to revisit the bingo card from the State of the Union, care of the National Constitution Center.  Then I set about creating one that would work for the debate.  So the thought process goes:

  1. Students need real experiences to learn content and skills.
  2. The debates are an authentic event that lends to building fluency with issues related to policy and government.
  3. One of the key parts of analyzing the language of debates is to understand logical fallacies.
  4. Kids like to play games.
  5. Therefore, a game card that reinforces the role of logical fallacies with the content of the Presidential debates will accomplish a plethora of learning goals.

So yesterday, I spent a few minutes and made a game card and suggested directions for use.  Here is the PDF file (Presidential Debate Bingo – 10:03:12), as well as the raw .doc file (Presidential Debate Bingo) and the page where you can see the logical fallacies sheet we used.  There are more logical fallacy sites out there with greater detail – here and here.

If I were to use it… I would have students review the different types of logical fallacies and then place them on the squares themselves.  Allowing choice means a thought process evaluating the options, which will increase their ability to interact with the information as it plays out in the debate.  I would also allow for fallacies to be placed 2 or 3 times if that is what the student felt was going to play out in the debate.  Other teachers may make a different decision.

Thanks to Larissa and #engsschat for the venue to spin up ideas for use in the classroom.