This routine challenged the students to think critically and provided justification for their thoughts. As this was the first time that both the students and myself had participated in a Tug of War, we altered the format slightly. Students were posed with the question and asked to choose one side. Students then wrote their responses and reasons on the orange Post-It and placed it somewhere along the spectrum, from "absolutely yes" to "absolutely no" and everywhere in between. As a class, we then discussed each of the stances and students shared their reactions to each reason. We discussed the outcomes of each stance and then identified lingering "what if" questions.
At the conclusion of the activity, students had the opportunity to reflect on their thinking and share any new opinions they had. These new ideas are marked on blue Post-It notes.
I was very excited to see my students engage in the activity so quickly and enthusiastically. Rarely is it a challenge to get students this age to share their opinions with you; we've all heard the phrase "from the mouth of babes!" However, the students really embraced the challenge to justify their thinking and many made personal connections to the novel that resulted in new ways of thinking that I could not have imagined. I am looking forward to implementing this routine again and adjusting the format to encourage even more critical thinking.