Can Debating Skills Help Children Become Self Sufficient?


Debating Skills for Children
By Louise Harding

Teaching debate skills to children should be pared down from adolescent or adult formats.

Children should be taught how to debate a topic effectively. There is more to having an opinion on something than simply having an opinion. Organization of a child’s thoughts is important to forming a convincing argument and having facts to support those thoughts is paramount. Teaching a child how to debate also involves a confident and persuasive presentation of the ideas and facts gained through research.

Forming an Opinion
Before children can tackle a designated debate topic, called a resolution, such as used in high school Lincoln-Douglas or Team Policy (also called Cross Examination) debates, they need to be shown how to have an opinion. Most children already have opinions on many topics; they might just not realize it. Present a list of topics on the overhead that can have preferences one way or the other (or several angles). Allow the children to write their opinion on each topic on paper or converse out loud. Topics such as current events and political platforms may not be age-appropriate, depending on the children’s ages. Topics such as hamburgers or hot dogs, fast food or homemade, salty or sweet, are simple topics that children usually have a preference for, and seeing these topics listed allows children to realize how many opinions they already have.

Organizing Thoughts
Once a child realizes he has opinions, he should be shown how to organize his thoughts to present a convincing debate. Depending on the age of a child, an organized format of debate, such as what is used in high schools and college, may or may not be effective. Organized debate requires a lot of research, preparation and public speaking skills. Children can effectively be taught how to organize their opinion into three main points. For example, the opinion may be: I like hamburgers better than hot dogs. The child needs to develop three reasons why hamburgers are preferred over hot dogs. For example: Hamburgers can be cooked fresh. Hamburgers can be cooked in more ways than hot dogs. Hamburgers are better for you. Once a child has three reasons why he believes his opinion is right, he is ready to research these thoughts.

Supporting Facts
In a convincing argument, it is not enough to simply have opinions. There must be facts to support opinion in order to persuade someone else that the opinion is correct (such as the debate judge). In organized debate, these facts are introduced in the constructive speech and later are used to refute an opposing argument from an opponent. Facts must be found from reputable sources such as national magazines or established newspapers (Time, Newsweek or The New York Times). Facts may be found in medical journals, educational resources (such as university studies) or reputable websites. Teach children how to find at least one fact that supports each reason for their opinion. For example, in the reason, “Hamburgers can be cooked fresh,” the child could find a fact that details how hot dogs are processed meats made with many preservatives.

Children should be taught that debating is not a verbal assault on another person, but rather persuasion based on facts. Organized debate features a series of timed presentations. Introducing the entire format of organized debate may be too involved for children, but an abbreviated form can be used; for example, using the topic of hamburgers versus hot dogs. One child can give a timed (three minutes or longer depending on the age group) oral presentation stating, “Hamburgers are better than hot dogs,” complete with three points and three facts to support her reasons. A second child can then give an oral presentation stating, “Hot dogs are better than hamburgers,” complete with three fact-supported reasons. Allow the class to vote individually (then tally the results) basing their judgment on the facts presented by both sides of the argument.


Sources: Article Originally Published In Classroom, #WhoIsJohnLakerman Live Streamimg. Photograph,

The Disconnect between Children and their Source of Food.

There is an issue bubbling up concerning young children’s believes of what is the source of the food they eat. So, where do children beliefs their food comes from?

I started asking the same question of others after a recent conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a Horticulturist. He told me about an experiment conducted by an elementary school teacher.

She placed one bag of potatoes next to another bag of potato chips on top of her desk. Then the teacher proceeded to ask her students this very simple question, “Where do potatoes come from?”

When the teacher pointer to the bag of potato chips, the whole classroom of young students raised their hands. On the surface that reaction might be considered quite endearing.

But is it? Is it really?

If you happen to be a Food Production Advocate this story would be alarming. Why? Think about this, how can our Future Pioneers be expected to grow fruits or vegetables when there is such a disconnect between the reality of what is the actual source of food and the child’s knowledge of where does the food come from?

If children have no concept of how fruits or vegetables come from the ground here on Mother Earth, will they be able to respect, connect or even bond with the land? Can they respect something that seems to appear to be without value?

Consider the breakdown in our food production supply channels. If future generations of children see no value in working on the land, who will take on duties of sowing and harvesting food? Who will take on the baton to become ethical stewards of Mother Earth and all her resources?

The possibility that children might never learn the reason to protect something as vital as heirloom seeds could very wełl become a reality. Why would a child protect something that seems to not be of immediate value? If a child’s only experience is to see that all foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, come prepackaged in a bag, box or can, straight out of a supermarket store – what correlation can they make between the actual food source – the land on Mother Earth?

There are so many problematic ramifications that can occur because of this disconnect. So, can you foresee a food security problem developing for our Future Pioneers in the non to distanct future?

I do and would like to know what comes to mind when you think about it?

Norma Burnson

Photograph: wiseGEEK

Food & Manipulation

A few minutes ago I was stunned to read another story about  citizens in the United States being arrested for feeding other of our own citizens who are homeless.

How did we get to this point? The people of the nation known to the world as the United States have always pride themselves for their generosity. So many organizations have sprung from our own citizens to help other countries around the world, take the Peace Corps an example.

So now, is helping our fellow human beings now strictly a matter of foreign policy?

As a world leader, could it be we have reached the pinnacle, the highest level of the Peter Principal, “Do as I say, not as I do?”

The last four letters of the word American spell out the phrase “I Can”, but today it seems more appropriate to update that phrase to “I Can’t.”

Just saying…

Norma Burnson



Photograph: Google Search,

Yep, It’s Here…

Hello Everybody,

The nightmare has begun!

The first time I wrote a book it was nerve wrecking. A few hours before submitting my completed, revised, re-revised, beautifully  edited manuscript the hard drive on my computer crashed!

I will tell you more about that at another time.

The second book for the Sustainable Food for the Globe series was ready. It was my beautiful little fella ready to debut into the world. A second book, it would be as easy a apple pie. Ha! You think?!

Fast forward to book 3 in this series. The contributors for this books have started submitting their chapters. It is a wonderul moment. It is a celebration of seeing the thoughts from the author’s mind enter into a world where words come to life and BAM!

The Gremlin Miester in charge of messing up author’s submissions pops up laughing, “Norma, You really think this book will be ready by the publication deadline? Ha, Ha, Ha! You are hilarious!!!”

The Monitor on the computer died! My iPad is caught in a loop. Best Buy Geek squad is asleep. Hewlett-Packard customer service transfer me to a techno geek who doesn’t speak English!

And of course the pen just ran out of ink!

I need a Piña Colada…


Norma Burnson


* Photograph ~ The Purple People Eater,

Welcome Onboard Phyl Macomber!

Hello Everybody,

Today I have a chance to invite you for a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Over the next few days Phyl Macomber will be sharing with me her ideas about the chapter she will be creating for our book, Sustainable Food for the Globe; Future Pioneers, The Children.

Phyl is a well known author and children’s education advocate. She is very generous in sharing her wisdom, knowledge and expertise with all of us. I trust you will find her chapter full of great advice and super sized with extra sprinkles of TLC.

Warmest Regards,

Norma Burnson

For More Information on THE P.A.C.T. Please Click on the Link Below:

@AllAboutTHEPACT How Can Parents Ensure The Academic Success Of Their Scholars? … — with Phyl Macomber

Hello There… Today is January 3rd, 2017.

What a rush! 2017 is here!

What are your dreams for 2017? So… did you make any New Year’s resolutions? You did! Please do take a few minutes to share them and let everyone know all about your dreams. Many of us would love to read about your goals, so please do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

At this end, the next 4 months, our team will be working to meet the April 22, 2017 deadline in celebration of Earth Day.

So far so good!

Today we had the opportunity to read Dr. Julia Scalise’s first draft of her chapter “Medicinal Gardens“.

The information Dr. Scalise provides addresses various serious health issues including chronic fatigue, inflammation, toxins, etc.

Her advise encompasses how a “Medicinal Garden” can provide multiple health benefits to an individual, their family and their community.

I can’t tell you much more (for now). But I promise to share some of the behind the scenes “fine tuning” that take place between the author and their editor. Wild and wacky events for sure. (No hair pulling allowed – for now).

Lets make sure our Future Pioneers, The Children, have the knowledge and wherewithal to take on their dreams and hit the pavement running towards a glorious future.

Wishing You The Very Best,

Norma Burnson

*Image: Google Search

Back To The Drawing Board.

Well all the authors contributing to the book, “Sustainable Food for the Globe; Future Pioneers, The Children” have been at work, writing for the last 2 months and now are ready, willing and able to move forward into round 2!

The last 2 months the team of authors has been busy working together to create a cohesive message and the first rough drafts for book #3 on the Sustainable Food for the Globe series are in!

I must confide in you that I am not worried about my hair turning white. Been there, done that!

Now my real concern is losing the remaining hair on my head! Hum… Ok, Sorta, Kinda, Maybe… well, it is true that I don’t want to go bald, but stuff like that happens.

Th main concern on my mind right now is – will Alyssia, Brenda, Carolyn, Julia, Nathalie, Phyl, Rachel, Robina, Sara, Shelly, Tracy and Vimala accept the editor’s edits?

Is this the beginning of mayham? Alright, maybe not mayham. Still, it is the beginning of each author’s public journey.

Up until December 20th, all the authors’ thoughts and creative ideas had been private. Now, these thoughts and ideas are on paper. They have emerged into our would.

For the next 3 months the group of authors, editors and publisher will be meeting, dicussing, writing, rewriting, reviewing, back and forth with one goal in mind – to place each word in the exact and precise order.

Why will everyone work so hard to place each word into the exact and precise order?  Because these treasured thoughts come from the author’s’ hearts and souls. They have shared these nuggets of wisdom to empower the children the children safeguarded by you.

Let’s see what happens now. Will you join me to sneak a peek behind the scenes?

Norma Burnson


Oh my goodness! Ask and you shall receives… Yesterday was a fantabulous day! (Yes, I made that word up. Just don’t tell Robina. Ok?)

Kevin and I went on an adventure yesterday. I cannot write much about it yet, but I am very happy. If everything works out, we will have four new Young Ambassadors. There are only 5 openings and the first Young Ambassador is Shellie Hipsky’s daughter, Alyssia. Alyssia is 12 years old.

The rest of the candidates range between the ages of group 12 to 14. This group of 5 young minds will be put to the highest and most difficult test of our time: “What is your plan for the ethical stewardship of  Mother Earth’s sustainable resources?”

In 2012 I accepted first hand the challeged posed, to me and a large group of entrepreneurs, by Sir Richard Branson. “Plan A is not working. We need to go to Plan B.” So I wrote my first book, “Sustainable Food for the Globe, One Square Foot at a Time.”  

Now it is time for me pass that challenge along to 5 candidates to be appointed Young Ambassadors.

I look forward to accompanying them on their magical thinking journey. Thinking that is limited only by their imagination. Hey, we put a man on the moon and submarines in the depths of the ocean. Steven Jobs develpoed his ideas with several friends in his father’s garage.  

Can you imagine what the dreams and aspirations of a 12 or 14 person might be?

Well, I am ready to find out. Are you?