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Lesson Plan

The Pros and Cons of Discussion

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Approximately seven 60- to 90-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Karen Luchner

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students use a Discussion Web to engage in meaningful discussions. Students work in groups to answer the question, "Are people equal?," analyzing all sides of the response, forming a consensus, and presenting it to the class. Students then read "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and use supporting details to complete another Discussion Web that looks at whether people are equal in the story. Groups form a consensus, present their position to the class, and engage in class discussion. Free-writes, a persuasive essay, computer activities, and an informal class debate help students extend and apply knowledge.

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  • "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:In this lesson, students read the short story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. to engage in a discussion of satire and equality. The story is available online to print and distribute to your students.
  • Discussion Web: This printout provides students with a blank Discussion Web, along with instructions for completing it. Have them use it to answer and discuss the question, "Are people equal?"

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Alvermann, D.E. (1991). The Discussion Web: A graphic aid for learning across the curriculum. The Reading Teacher, 45(2), 9299.


Buehl, D. (2013). Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning, 4e. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.

The Discussion Web:

  • Is a strategy designed to encourage all students to participate actively in class discussions and to think critically.

  • Gives students a framework for evaluating both sides of an issue or question. Students are encouraged to process opposing evidence and information before asserting viewpoints, giving them an opportunity to refine their thinking.

  • Requires students to work in groups and helps to develop cooperative learning skills.

  • Incorporates all four of the language arts (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

  • Functions as a prereading, postreading, or prewriting strategy.

  • Helps instill in students the desire to read complex material by providing them with a framework to analyze difficult texts.

  • Develops students who are active, purposeful, and independent learners.

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