K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Resources tagged with discussions are also tagged with these keywords. Select one to narrow your search or to find interdisciplinary resources.

Alternative discussion formats
Class discussions often take one of two forms — either question-and-answer sessions, in which the teacher throws out questions and students answer them, or debates. Both of these formats are useful, but adding a few more ideas to your teaching repertoire can make for more variety in the classroom and provide more opportunities for engaging discussions. This edition explains how to manage dicussions in the form of a public relations campaign, a trial, a talk show, or the design of monuments, memorials, and museum exhibits.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Arts of persuasion
Strategies for teaching middle school students to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and use speaking and writing to persuade others.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Balancing order and learning in classroom discussions
In The First Year, page 3.6
Different learning objectives require different rules for student participation. Make your expectations for each day's class clear to students — and to yourself!
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
CareerStart lessons: Grade eight
This collection of lessons aligns the eighth grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
Caucusing in the middle school classroom
In Arts of persuasion, page 1
Caucusing enables students to practice the elements of responsible citizenship, including persuasive writing and speaking.
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Debates in the middle school classroom
In Arts of persuasion, page 2
A plan for staging a debate, including choosing a topic, "debate do's," and assessment.
Format: article
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History
Best practices, process guides, worksheets, and other resources for teaching with LEARN NC's digital textbook of North Carolina history.
Format: (multiple pages)
The First Year
Essays on the author's experiences in her first year of teaching: the mistakes she made, what she learned from them, and how she used them to become a better teacher — and how other first-year teachers can, too.
Format: book (multiple pages)
History and literature on trial
In Alternative discussion formats, page 3
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 4.3
Putting historical or literary figures on trial makes a lively and challenging alternative to a class debate.
Format: activity
By Kathryn Walbert.
Monuments and memorials
In Alternative discussion formats, page 5
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 4.5
Creating monuments or memorials for historical and literary figures encourages students to think creatively and provides a lively structure for an in-class discussion.
Format: activity
By Kathryn Walbert.
Museum exhibit design
In Alternative discussion formats, page 6
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 4.6
Designing museum exhibits encourages students to think creatively and to use a wide range of thinking skills.
Format: activity
By Kathryn Walbert.
A public relations campaign
In Alternative discussion formats, page 4
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 4.4
By creating a PR campaign for a historial or literary figure, students can practice a wide range of thinking skills.
Format: activity
By Kathryn Walbert.
The talk show
In Alternative discussion formats, page 2
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 4.2
The talk show is a format with which students are already familiar, and it provides the structure for a great discussion.
Format: activity
By Kathryn Walbert.

Resources on the web

The Multicultural Pavilion Teacher's Corner
Provides a “Multicultural Teaching Toolbox” of classroom resources, concepts and philosophies, and much more. (Learn more)
Format: website/activity
Provided by: EdChange.org