10 Ways to Transform Decisions & Dilemmas

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Cover of Decisions & DilemmasExplore 10 ideas that you can do with students to transform Decisions & Dilemmas into a fun tool that can help build critical thinking, creative thinking and communication skills. You can also download a PDF of this page!
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SPEAKING + THINKING

1. Daily (or weekly) dilemma 
Guide short dilemma-of-the-day (or week) group discussions. You can incorporate this idea into your routine by adhering to a set time or day. Or be spontaneous: call out a scenario when the kids start to get bored, disengaged or a little squirrelly.

2. Two minute talks
Choose a single dilemma and have kids prepare a two minute talk on it. In their talk, they should say what their choice is, and offer three (or so) points that support their decision. Each point should be illustrated by an example, which can be a scenario they made up, a personal experience, something they read about or saw on the news, or it can be an example from a movie/show/book.

3. Question period 
Get students used to being in the verbal hot seat, while still keeping things fun. Select a student (either spontaneously or designate their day), and select a dilemma. To make the choosing part fun, you can download our free “Make your own cards” PDF in our Extras section.

Read out the dilemma. After the student says what they would do, open up question period by allowing peers to ask related questions that will get the student to think critically about the dilemma at hand. These questions might start with words like why, how, what if, etc.

WRITING + THINKING

4. Paragraph of the week writing
You can keep things simple by getting students to write paragraphs for each dilemma. Piggyback on your language instruction by getting them to include topic sentences, reasons and examples where applicable. Depending on their age, you can keep it to one paragraph or have them write a multi-paragraph assignment.

5. Charts
Create charts or grids as a group in order to explore the decision-making process. Depending on the dilemma, a chart/grid might compare pros vs. cons, risks vs. rewards, costs vs. benefits, reasons why vs. reasons why not. Once the chart or grid is filled in, have kids write a paragraph summing up their personal choice and the strongest reason(s) that supports it.

6. Students in charge
Get students to think of and practice writing their own dilemmas. Consider collecting the dilemmas and trying them out on the class. Provide parameters so dilemmas remain in the realm of appropriateness!

7. Fiction
Most dilemmas in this book are crying out for a story to be told around them. Using the dilemma as the basis for a narrative, students can exercise their storytelling skills by creating short stories, scenes, plays or dialogues between characters.

 

EXTRA ACTIVITIES

8. Creative chart art
Build on #5 by going beyond the basic chart design. Get students to explore other ways to make charts, bringing art into the process. Encourage them to be inspired by the topic, and to explore how they can incorporate images/drawings that reflect the subject of the dilemma. (If you’re on Pinterest, there’s some great inspiration there.)

9. Predicting the polls
Choose a single dilemma and read it out to the group. On one piece of paper, kids will predict how they think the class will split the “vote.” (i.e., Out of X total number of students, Y will choose option 1 and Z will choose option2.) Students will put their name on that piece of paper and hand it in. On a second piece of paper they’ll write down their “vote” and hand in that piece of paper – for this they can remain anonymous if they want.

After both papers are collected, you (or your student volunteers) will tally up the votes (paper #2) and then see which students came closest to predicting the correct results. Perhaps some kind of prize for the winners?

10. Graphic design
We keep our pages simple for a variety of reasons. But kids can transform our simple design into something that reflects their own personality. Choose a dilemma that doesn’t have too much text on the page, and let them take the creative director helm and design their own page. You can combine this activity with #6, and get them to fully create their own page.
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Where to next?

> Check out Decisions & Dilemmas, it's the first in our Reasoning Series, which also includes Agree or Disagree? and A Book of Questions. Check it out!

> Head back to our Extras & Resources page.