This exercise helps take two sides to a controversial subject and arrange the points in a coherent manner. In this ecercise we lookat the pros and cons of organized and unorganized children’s sports.

Comparison Contrast Exercise:

Basic concept is to engage your student in:

A. Brainstorming a controversial subject into Pro and Con lists

B. Further organizing Pros and Cons into related topics or buckets (in this exercise: skills, discipline, emotions, appearance)

C. Create an outline that compares and contrasts in one of two patterns (see below)

D. Write a comparison/contrast essay using the buckets as topic sentences for building block paragraphs

A. Brainstorming

Ask your student to brainstorm all the reasons why he/she thinks unorganized sports is better for kids than organized sports. Here are some prompts/supplementary concepts you might use after your student has run out of ideas. Number the ideas.

Unorganized is better

  1. Pick up games teach kids they have to get along with each other.
  2. They have to pick sides but most everybody gets to play.
  3. Kids find out who is better than others.
  4. Children who play sports on their own learn more than organized teams.
  5. Kids who play on the street or in the schoolyard learn to do things on their own instead of having grown-ups tell them everything.
  6. Kids learn from each other.
  7. It don’t matter who they play with as long as they can play the game.
  8. Kids learn how they’re supposed to argue and how to work things out so everyone can play fair.
  9. Pick-up games mean kids play for the fun of the game not for the uniform and the cheering.
  10. Playground games let kids make their own rules. So the game is theirs and not the coaches and referees.
  11. Kids don’t need uniforms. Skins and shirts is good enough if they’re a boy.
  12. High school is soon enough to get into competitive sports.
  13. Kids can re-pick sides and don’t have any losers and winners.
  14. There’s no pressure to play for school pride. Or sadness if they let the team/school down

Organized is better

  1. Kids learn how to do it right from the beginning
  2. Kids play by the rules
  3. Kids get to have team pride and school pride
  4. Kids find out what it’s like to play under pressure
  5. Kids get to wear team colors and show they belong to a special group
  6. Coaches teach teamwork
  7. Coaches don’t have to unlearn bad habits
  8. Kids learn to be part of a team
  9. There is no ’I’ in team
  10. Kids learn plays
  11. Kids can win trophies for themselves and maybe for the school
  12. It feels good to have grown-ups in charge when kids play
  13. Someone will stop fights and explain the rules
  14. Kids can go home and not have to see the people they play with after the game
  15. Organized sports teaches kids how to practice and workout on a regular schedule not
  16. just when they feel like it
  17. Kids learn to eat right and sleep right so they can play their best for the team

B. Further organize Pros and Cons into related topics or buckets

(A.skills, B discipline, C emotions, D appearance) by placing the number for each concept into the related bucket

C. Create an outline that compares and contrasts in one of two patterns:

a. bucket by bucket e.g. Unorganized sports skills vs. Organized sports skills

or

b. all the buckets for Pros vs. all the buckets for the Cons e.g. Unorganized sports (skills, discipline, emotions, appearance) vs. Organized sports (skills, discipline, emotions, appearance)

D. Write a comparison/contrast essay using the buckets as topic sentences for building block paragraphs

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