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How Teachers Across the Country are Using ThinkCERCA

Looking for ideas? See how teachers across the country use ThinkCERCA in their classrooms.


For the past three years, we've asked teachers from across the country to show us what ThinkCERCA looks like in their classrooms.

From station-based rotations to movement to debate, teachers showed us the many ways ThinkCERCA can be a part of regular classroom instruction.

Take a look below to watch our favorite classroom videos, including the winning video submitted by CICS West Belden in Illinois.

Winning Video

CICS West Belden

Chicago, Illinois


In this video, Teacher Kelly Pollack has her third- and fourth-grade students working in groups as they complete various components of their CERCA arguments.

"By using this rotation system, students have the opportunity to make real-life connections, while understanding the purpose and importance of current questions," Kelly shares.

"Our students have many opportunities to collaborate with each other while debating a [class discussion] question, determining the order of sentences in a completed CERCA, and while working on understanding vocabulary to be successful!"


C.J. Hicks Elementary School

Conyers, Georgia


In this video, Teacher Lakendra Swanson and her students demonstrate how they incorporate physical activity into their CERCA lessons.

"I assign each section of the room a letter. The sections are labeled A,B,C, and D. Based on what students feel is the correct answer choice, they will stand in the designated area. This opens up a debate. Students are required to explain their reasoning and provide evidence to support their answers," Lakendra shares.

"ThinkCERCA facilitates collaboration because it opens up a gateway for students to have plenty of classroom debates...The impact of this instructional practice has truly helped my students to become fluent writers, confident speakers and experts in answering constructed response questions."


Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy

Chicago, Illinois


In this video, Teacher Susan Bohman's students are engaged in a debate about the CERCA arguments they created for the Writing Lesson, "Grandmother's Robot."

"Debating CERCA [arguments] is one of, if not my students' favorite activity, because they get to share their reasoning and they have the chance to respectfully find flaws in the other side's argument. I know my students feel heard by their classmates when they debate and the structure of a debate creates a safe learning environment. Through peer feedback, students ask each other the same types of questions they ask in a debate. It is as if the students are already thinking ahead to a debate and trying to strengthen their partner's argument so there are less flaws," Susan shares.

"Strong collaboration begins with communication, and that is what ThinkCERCA facilitates through the Debate Game and it carries over to peer feedback."

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