I changed things up midday and it went well from then on. I gave my students ten minutes to read/listen to as much of the speech as they could. Then I had them make a list of topics discussed, President Obama's view point, and write about if they agreed or disagreed with his statements.
From there we debriefed last nights readings about the enlightenment period and the important thinkers who shaped the founding of our country.
The point of this was not to pick sides on controversial issues, but rather to take the statement that every political pundit makes about the intentions of the founding fathers and ideals of the United States and help them discover what those foundational ideas and theories really are.
The discussion was rich, particularly about the responsibility of government in providing education. Students are pretty deep thinkers. Take the time to listen. I was pretty proud and surprised today.
State of the Union discussion in Dallas Schools