Get Your Air Horn Ready: Debate Is Now in Session

Teaching (2)

by Dr. Kim Foster

“It. Was. Awesome.”

Let me paint a picture for you. It’s April. There are three weeks of school left for my senior students. To use one student’s exact words, he is beyond ready to “low-key get on up out of this building.” And I understand. I was a senior in high school once. I was a senior in college once. And I was 8 months pregnant defending my dissertation once. I get it. They want to be done, and I want that for them. They have earned it! However, we have three weeks left together, and I want these weeks to be meaningful. So, as I have for the past three years with seniors, we do a debate unit at the end of the year. “Arguing” with one another keeps them highly engaged. They want to win. They want to be right. Continue reading

The Zine Challenge: Early Reflections


One student expresses her concern with how girl’s lacrosse is played and is arguing for the sport to be more physical with the addition of more protection like boy’s lacrosse has.

I have now been collecting data for a month, which also means my students are in the thick of zine making. The ride thus far has been relatively smooth and entirely fascinating. I did lose an entire day’s audio recordings due to my computer falling asleep and refusing to wake back up, BUT I have my reflections of the day, photos, and video recordings still. I was a little devastated at first, but quickly reasoned that I cannot possibly be the only one who has had this happen. The fascinating part of the study and the class in general right now is how I’m seeing everything they do through my researcher’s lens. While simply anecdotal right now before analysis, my students’ actions in the classroom and the discussions they are having appear rich in both identity exploration and relationship building. Continue reading

Banksy Revisited: Image Meets Rhetorical Text


Last week I posted about revisiting Banksy’s work to inspire some critical visual literacy work with my students. You can read and see some of their images here. I mentioned in that post my intention of pairing their visual work with some academic, rhetorical writing to anchor the overall experience. I am excited to share some of the results with you. Inside today’s post you will see a few new images (as well as one from last week) paired with the student-composer’s rhetorical explanation and intention for the visual.  Continue reading

Where’s the Impact?: Building the Criteria for Effective Rhetoric









Wow. It’s been fifteen days since I last posted. This isn’t because nothing has happened; on the contrary, it feels like everything has been happening all at once!

My entry today focuses entirely on my lesson given in class today. At some point I’ll catch up on my school’s project-based learning initiative and our school’s first project launch, but those will have to wait.

My current unit with my 9th graders centers on argument; specifically, the theme of ‘Everything is an Argument.’ Is this true? Certainly not. As one student pointed out to me two days ago, George Washington being our first president is a fact–one that isn’t typically debatable. My reply to her was simply to consider how even that could be an argument though by making a claim like ‘George Washington was the United States’ greatest president.’ They seemed to catch onto the direction I was headed. Today we started looking rhetoric, diction, and partially syntax. The goal to do this, however, was completely predicated on the criteria students built to this question: what makes for an effective speech? A speech they would listen to–really listen to.  Continue reading