Should You Always Get a Trophy?

Rewarding everyone on the team might make kids feel good, but some people worry that it sends the wrong message.

Lexile Level: 760L / Guided Reading Level: Q / DRA Level: 40

Download Story

On Level

Learning Objective

Students will take a side on an engaging topic while practicing opinion writing.

Featured Skill

Main Idea and Supporting Details

Key Skills

Main idea and supporting details, opinion writing

Standards Correlations

This article and lesson support the following standards:

Common Core anchor standards: R.1, R.2, R.6, R.8, W.1, SL.1

TEKS: 3.14, 3.21


Teaching Materials

Activity Sheets

Download All
Quiz - Higher Level
Write an Opinion Essay
What Do You Think?

Lesson plan

Print All

Have students preview the text features. Ask:

  • What are the two opinions people might have about this topic?
  • What is the topic of the debate? (Prompt students to use the debate title and the heading on the chart as clues.)
  • Depending on the reading level of your students, read the debate as a class or break the class into groups.
  • Have students read the debate a second time. Prompt them to highlight evidence supporting each side as they come across it. Using two different colors of highlighters would be useful here.
  • As a class or in groups, have students discuss:
    • Which opinion has the best evidence to support it?
    • Is one side stronger than the other? Why?
    • What is your opinion? What evidence helped you form your opinion?
  • For more advanced readers: Do you think the author has an opinion on this issue? What is your evidence?

Teaching Extras

4-Day Debate

We think this teacher’s 4-day debate plan from the Storyworks Ideabook will inspire you AND make your life easier!

Share Your Experience

We’re guessing that the “trophies for all” school of thought wasn’t as popular when you were a kid (even our youngest staffers didn’t remember getting participation trophies!), so we encourage you to share your experience with your students. It might even lead to a great classroom discussion.

A Take From the "No" Side

This short “Today” show segment about a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers who returned his sons’ participation trophies falls squarely on the “no” side of the debate. It could be interesting for the kids in your class who think trophies for all is a good thing!

A Moment of Pride

Try flipping the conversation a bit and asking students if they can name a time they received a trophy they were truly proud of. What was the sport and what did they do to deserve it?