Nurturing the English Lit Club in your School

I have been pondering over the induction of a lit club at my school, and thankfully this year we have been able to start one. Post searching a lot over the net and post mixing some of my ideas this is a list of activities one could use to foster a literature club at their school. I have taken a lot of ideas from SASKATCHEWAN ELOCUTION AND DEBATE ASSOCIATION, www.saskdebate.com.  Thanks to them for keeping their draft over the internet for us to see.

 

Objective: The objective of this club is to promote the literary zeal amongst the students. The activities undertaken by the members of the club would encompass the following areas;
·         Promotion of students’ debate.
o   Work closely with members of staff regarding the organization of literature competitions and festivals.

·         Develop listening skills

·         Develop writing skills

o   Draw inferences and conclusion

·         To learn to be a part of Group Discussions and other such speech related activities like

o   Impromptu speech / Extempore speech

o   Literary Jam

o   Arguments and Counter Arguments

 

o   Declamation

 

 Suggested Activities

Activity (1) – Three Corners Debate

Description: This activity introduces students to persuasion. By the end of the lesson, students are able to express their positions, as well as opposing arguments, on a particular issue.

Objectives:

1. Students will work in groups to clearly verbalize their positions on a specific issue/topic.

2. Students will practice listening skills while other groups present their positions.

3. Students will be able to use convincing arguments to sway others’ opinions.

4. Students will write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay that presents point of view clearly and addresses opposing positions.

Materials:

• 3 large pieces of paper with these words written on them: Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree

Procedure:

·         Post the three pieces of paper in the three corners of the classroom.

·         Write a controversial topic on the board (for example: Schools should eliminate report cards / There should be no uniform in the school/ there should be no fix timings for school/ Students should select teachers / There should be separate schools for boys and girls).  

·         Have students move to the corner that best matches their position (Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree)

·         Ask each of the students to write down 3-5 points supporting their stand.

·         Ask students to come together to their corner and form a group and discuss their points for 5 minutes.

·         Each group selects a spokesperson to express the group’s position. He/she has 1 minute to express thoughts concisely and persuade their classmates. Other groups must listen intently. Direct each group to present their group’s position in turn.

·         Allow students to move to the appropriate corners if they have changed their minds.

·         Ask all the students to go back to the page which they have written initially and summarise their point of view and their supporting logic. Each student will write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay. In order to receive a maximum score, the student must express his position clearly, use appropriate logic, and address opposing viewpoints.

Activity (2) – I speak
Description
Students will prepare a small presentation of 5-6 slides on any topic which they like and present. 
Objectives:
Procedure

·         Students will present a presentation with max 6-7 slides on any topic of their liking.

·         The entire speech will be video graphed

·         Students will be shown their presentation and will be given feedback on the following basis;

o   Accent  & Tone

o   Body Language & Eye contact

o   Pronunciation

o   Structure of the presentation

Activity (3) – Listening to great speakers and the election of the president of the Literary Club

Description

Students will listen to archival historical speeches and identify the main points of argument, persuasive elements and overall significance.

Objectives:

1. Students will develop their listening skills.

2. Students will appreciate the art of elocution and be able to identify the structure of a speech.

3. Students will be able to summarize the main arguments of the speech.

4. Students will be able to explain the historical significance of the speech.

Procedure

·         Students listen to the speeches of Rahul Gandhi / Obama / Narendra Modi

·         Each student will write down on a page the common traits between the three speakers.

·         Teacher will ask nominations for the post of Literary Club president.

·         Nominated will prepare a speech and class would vote post listening to them.

Thanks giving speech by the elected president.

 
Activity (4) – The Edible Argument – The Battle Between Eclairs and Alpenliebe

Description:

Two groups will be formed to argue which is a better choice – Eclairs or Alpenliebe.

This lesson can be used to teach the beginning stages of argument, students also use their writing skills. Students use examples of price, advertising appeal, ease of consumption, appearance, dangers, nutrition facts, feel, smell, and taste to support their topic.

Objectives:

1. Students will be able to develop a thesis statement and two paragraphs which support that thesis statement using appropriate forms, conventions and styles to communicate ideas and information to an audience (for the purposes of persuasion and argumentation).

2. Students will be able to write a paragraph identifying one opposing viewpoint and write another paragraph that attempts to challenge that viewpoint.

Materials:

• Éclairs and Alpenliebe for participants

• Pen and Paper

Procedure:

·         Distribute the chocolates within the class randomly.

·         Ask students to have the chocolate and save the wrapper. Students with the same wrapper can sit together.

·         Inform students that they are to begin a unit about argumentation.

·         Tell them that they are going to argue about something very important today — Chocolates!  Tell the students that they need to imagine that there are only two brands of chocolates in the world — the ones being discussed.

·         Encourage them to work together to make a list of the top 10 points for why their chocolate bars are the best.

·         After they have come up with their lists, have each group elect a representative to write their 10 reasons on the board. The result will be a split board with éclairs on one side and Alpenliebe on the other side.

·         Next, have students vote on which of their side’s three reasons best representing why their respective chocolates are the better value. Erase all the others. This will result in a split board with three strong points for each side.

·         Then, tell the groups that they are to individually, or in teams of two or three, write a thesis statement which expresses the idea that their chocolate is the best value. Then they are to craft two short paragraphs of three or more sentences (the paragraphs must be linked with transitional expressions) for each point they’ve chosen for their side.

·         While students are working, assist each group and view their progress. The result will be a thesis statement and two paragraphs which support it.

·         After the paragraphing is complete, tell the students how important it is when arguing to be fair and to demonstrate that others may have differing opinions.

·         Then, direct them individually, or in teams of two or three, assume the position of the other side and identify what they consider to be that side’s strongest point about why they have the best value chocolates.

·         Eclairs groups will write a paragraph supporting Alpenliebe and vice versa. Encourage students to spend a few minutes in discussion with members of the opposing groups, so they can adequately explain and support their points.

·         Eclairs members will solicit information from Alpenliebe members and vice versa.

·         While they are working, assist each group and view their progress. The result will be one paragraph, linked to the first two, which demonstrates the opposing position.  This will be one challenge paragraph linked to the previous three paragraphs. Encourage students to share their completed paragraphs.

Assessment: Collect students’ paragraphs to assess completeness and students’ ability to logically demonstrate argumentation in writing.

Activity (5) – Clash Builders

(a). Devil’s Advocate

 

Purpose: To provide opportunity to speak in a direct clash environment. One person speaks, and advocate clashes or raises a related point.

Size: This can be played by a group of 4 people up to an entire class. The advocate takes one side, and everyone else in the group takes the other.
Structure: A moderator controls who has the right to speak and when. The moderator alternates between the big group and the advocate. The advocate can be a teacher or a student who likes to argue.
Topic: The topics vary. It might be a student issue like gum in the classroom, or a controversial issue

like capital punishment. Using a debatable issue within a unit theme is the most common choice.

(b). Two Person Clash

Purpose: To give each student practice with directly opposing another’s argument in a non-threatening environment. To practice listening and note taking skills.

Size: Played by the entire class simultaneously, in groups of two.

Structure: The students break into pairs. One person rises and states a series of opinions for up to 2 minutes. The other one makes a flow sheet (see attached). When person number one sits down, the second person stands and directly attacks all the arguments of the first speaker for up to two minutes. While this happens, the first speaker completes a flow sheet. Then the first speaker stands again, and directly argues for one minute. The class will need about 5 minutes preparation time to think of arguments and decide a topic. Since all the pairs do the activity at the same time, students are less self conscious.

Topic: The topics vary. Students may choose topics themselves by searching for something they disagree about. Alternatively the teacher may provide the topics and students select the sides.

Activity (5) – Impromptu Speeches

Subject: Language Arts, Social Studies, Science

Duration: 20 – 60 minutes

Description: To help students practice developing and organizing thoughts quickly and clearly.

Objectives:

1. Students will be able to speak fluidly on an unprepared topic confidently.

2. Students will speak in a persuasive manner.

Procedure:

·         Prepare a number of possible topics. They may or may not be linked to a unit of study or class investigation.

·         Create chits on random topics, place them in a basket in the middle of the group of student. Topics for beginning students could include: simple statements or topics 1 – what is your favorite book, what is your favorite movie , what is your favorite movie star, what is the worst food you’ve eaten. Topics for experienced students could include: resolutions – general, issue based or off beat like literary quotations & or characters – historical characters or events, artistic reproductions

·         First student invited to speak will get 3 minutes minute to think before starting to speak.

·         The next student will pick the chit as soon as the first one starts to speak.

Example for topics

Watermelon

Life on other planet

Colour Blue

Oceans

How my life is so tough

How to improve school

How to make lots of money

What irritates me

If I become president of this country for a day

If I become a movie director

Which film actor looks like me

Cricketer is a boring game

My dream car

My favorite TV show

Bubble Gum

Best invention ever

Best Dance form

Telephones

Observation

The analysis of the speakers would be on following parameters

Delivery Technique:

Facial Expression (relaxed, animated, and responsive)

Vocal Expression (variance, rate, pitch, volume, intensity, inflection)

Diction, Grammar, and Word Usage (No “you know’s,” “um’s,” or “ah’s”)

Eye Contact (looks at audience, not overly dependent on notes)

Bodily Action and Gestures (relaxed, comfortable stance, no distracting movements, notes handled well)

Organization and Content:

Introduction (attention step)

Body (followed organized outline and developed points)

Conclusion (summary and closing comments)

Activity (6) – Triple Speak

Description: An exercise in impromptu speaking using three ‘topics’ (person, place & thing) which the speaker must link together in a cohesive speech.

Objectives:

1. The student will be able to connect three dissimilar topics in a coherent speech.

2. The student will perform an organized speech with introduction, reasoning and conclusion.

3. The student will speak fluently for 3 – 5 minutes in length.

Size:

 

Full Class or Small Group

Structure:

One Speaker, One Moderator which may or may not be the Teacher and Time Keeper.

Materials:

• Topics that are Person, Place and Thing – An example is attached but please modify this list to the grade, subject and ability level.

• Three topics copied on different coloured paper

• Optional: Time Keeper with timer & time cards (numbers ½ – 10 and STOP)

Procedure:

Explain the purpose of Triple Speak is to connect three dissimilar topics (person, place & thing) into a coherent, logical and entertaining speech. Remind students that in order to speak coherently and fluidly for 3 – 5 minutes they will need to elaborate on the topics and think quickly on their feet. The grade and ability level will determine how long the students will have to speak on each individual topic. Typically, each topic is handed to the student between 45 seconds to 90 seconds. If handing the topic to the student mid speech is too much of a distraction, having the student pre-selecting the three topics and laying them face down is an alternative. Rotate through class.

Example for topics

Person

Doctor

Lifeguard

Police Officer

Best Friend

Sibling

Father

Rock Star

Lawyer

Mother

Teacher

Super Model

Cricketer

Place

Garbage Can

In the snow

On a submarine

Inside the cockpit

Under the blanket

On the moon

In the bus

Inside a cupboard

Under the desk

Inside the shoes

North Pole

In a parachute

Thing

Rope

Thread

Broom

Ball

Computer

Microphone

Lunch Box

Pencil

Watch

Lighter

Bottle

Tractor

Activity (7) – Pass – Pass – The Consensus Builder

Purpose:

To provide each student the opportunity to speak uninterrupted. To provide an opportunity for students to share ideas.

Structure:

·         Students sit in a circle so that everyone can see each other.

·         A topic (very easy to invite maximum participation) would be introduced.

·         Students will be instructed they can against as well as for the topic.

·         The duration of the discussion will be 30 seconds X number of speakers.

·         An object (like a book/ball/duster) is handed over to anyone in the circle.

·         It is passed around the group in a continuous direction. Everybody has to speak when the object reaches their hand.

·         At the end when the time elapses, the one who receives the object last concludes all the statements.

Suggested Topics

Favourite Movie, Best Dish (Food), Best Subject, Best Soap etc

 

Activity (8) – Endless Fable

Description: Students will listen to the portion of an impromptu speech of a classmate and be able to add to the speech in a logical manner. The aim of Endless Fable is to create one continuous speech within the group despite the many

speakers.

Objectives:

·          Students will develop their listening skills.

·         Students will be able to logically follow an argument.

·         Students will be able to fluidly continue someone else’s topic and argument.

·          Students will speak with confidence and ease.

Procedure:

Divide the class into small groups of 3 students each, sitting in a circle.

Teacher starts the story, there was a boy who was lonely in a village, Teachers asks the group to take over and the chain would start. The next speaker MUST build on the previous student’s story in the group and continue developing it and so on and so on. The students are to behave as if one speaker is delivering the story.

For a teacher possible initiations could be

·         A Lion named George lived in the jungles of Africa with his two sons

·         In ancient times, a princess was born without the power to speak

·         There lived a fat king in the state of Chaattisgarh in ancient times

·         Ram had a friend called Shyam, both of them were very good friends

·         A sailor called Aryan once decided to take a voyage around the world

·         God decided to enter the modern India one day and ask his wife to accompany him

·         Shreya is a very hard working student, but there are difficulties in her life

·         In a jungle there lived two friends Elephant Eelu and the monkey Manku

Activity (9) –Learning to DEBATE

Three-Card strategy –  

This strategy provides opportunities for all students to participate in discussions that might otherwise be monopolized by students who are frequent participators. In this strategy, the teacher provides each student with two or three cards on which are printed the words “Comment or Question.”

Procedure:

·         A topic will be introduced to the class.

·         Two students / Two teachers will read a written speech one FOR and one AGAINST the topic.

·         Now the debatable question is put up for full classroom

·          When a student wishes to make a point as part of the discussion, he or she raises one of the cards; after making a comment or asking a question pertinent to the discussion, the student turns in the card.

·          When a student has used all the cards, he or she cannot participate again in the discussion until all students have used all their cards.

This strategy encourages participants to think before jumping in; those who are usually frequent participants in classroom discussions must weigh whether the point they wish to make is valuable enough to turn in a card.

Tag Team Debate Strategy

This strategy can be used to help students learn about a topic before a debate, but it is probably better used when opening up discussion after a formal debate.

Procedure

·         In a tag team debate, each team of five members represents one side of a debatable question.

·         Each team has a set amount of time (say, 5 minutes) to present its point of view.

·         When it’s time for the team to state its point of view, one speaker from the team takes the floor. That speaker can speak for no more than 1 minute, and must “tag” another member of the team to pick up the argument before his or her minute is up.

·         Team members who are eager to pick up a point or add to the team’s argument, can put out a hand to be tagged. That way, the current speaker knows who might be ready to pick up the team’s argument.

·         No member of the team can be tagged twice until all members have been tagged once.

 

Focused Group Discussion

The class is given a page with some information before the start of the topic, possibly containing an account of a certain phenomenon/ happening/Personality etc.

The debatable question/policy is not introduced prior to that time.

Teacher pose the question and then have students spend time gathering information about the issue’s affirmative arguments (no negative arguments allowed) and the same amount of time on the negative arguments (no affirmative arguments allowed).

Teachers open the discussion and moderate the flow of the group at the same time.

Lincoln Douglas Debate Format

Affirmative constructive (4 minutes) can be completely written and learned in advance!  

Introduction

·         Greet – state your name, that you are speaking for the affirmative; express pleasure for the opportunity.

·         State the resolution.

·         Define key terms.

·         Describe the issue, using a combination of logos, ethos, and pathos.

Body

·         Establish validity of the resolution – this is your thesis statement!

·         Demonstrate significance – qualitative/quantitative importance.

·         Itemize your contentions and present (some of) your evidence

Conclusion

 

·         Summarize your position.  Say “Thank you.  Now I stand for questioning”

                                               

Negative Cross-examination of Affirmative (2 minutes)

·         Negative will ask questions in an effort to clarify or pin down the Affirmative’s position.

·         Ask short questions to confirm damaging facts and elicit damaging admissions; you are looking for yes/no answers, not giving your opponent more time to build his/her case.

·         Never ask a question if you do not already know the answer.  Never attack a point that is unassailable.

·         If you hit a telling point, quietly go on and wait to hammer it home during your closing rebuttal.

                                               

Negative constructive (4 minutes)

Introduction

·         Greet – state your name, that you are speaking for the negative; express pleasure for the opportunity to debate the topic of __________.

·         Correct definitions presented by affirmative and propose new ones, if necessary.

·         Add to affirmative’s description of the issue, using logos, ethos, and pathos to support the negative.

Body

·         Preview your case with your thesis statement (“I intend to prove that  . . .).

·         State negative’s position and philosophy – why the resolution is a problem.

·         Support your position by itemizing your inferences, using evidence, expert testimony, and reasoning.

·         Refute affirmative’s points with evidence and reasoning

Conclusion

·         Summarize the negative case so far. Say “Thank you.  Now I stand for questioning”

                                               

Affirmative Cross-examination of Negative (2 minutes)

·         The Affirmative has the opportunity to ask questions of the Negative in an effort to clarify or pin down the Negative’s position.  This is also the time to get Negative to agree to points Affirmative made!

·         Ask short questions to confirm damaging information; don’t allow your opponent time to build her case.

·         Never ask a question if you do not already know the answer.  Never attack a point that is unassailable.

·         If you hit a telling point, quietly go on and wait to hammer it home during your closing rebuttal.

                                               

Affirmative Rebuttal (2 minutes)

·         Refute points made by the Negative and restate own case.

·         Point out any arguments the Negative dropped.

                                               

Negative Rebuttal (4 minutes)

·         Negative will attack all of Affirmative’s points and review own case.

·         Point out any arguments the Affirmative dropped.

·         Be dramatic in your big picture.  Make your audience side with your position against the resolution.

·         Thank the audience and judge(s) for this opportunity, their time and effort.

                                               

Second Affirmative Rebuttal (2 minutes)last speech!

·         Sum up the debate, hopefully to the advantage of the Affirmative.

·         Be dramatic in your big picture.  End with a strong appeal to accept the resolution.

·         Thank the audience and the judge(s) for this opportunity, their time and effort.

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Abhiney Singh

Abhiney Singh

Managing Director at Brighton International School
I run a school called Brighton International School (www.brightoninternational.in).
I am also now a partner with a School consulting company which helps budding educators or investors start school or gain access to help related to school. The help could be in the form of Turnkey School Consultation, Detailed Project report, Project Finance, Business Plan consulting, Recruitment planning, Infrastructure consultation, Affiliation Consultation, Teacher’s Training, Academic and Curriculum Planning. I now have a decade of work experience. I strongly believe in improving every day and I have tremendous respect for people who pursue their dreams with undying passion and enthusiasm.
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