The Cookie Game: Teaching Debate


I stood at the front of the classroom, in front of the rowdy students who were carrying their conversations from the hallway into Janine Teacher’s class. It only took two or three students to notice that I was holding a box of Binch cookies before the entire class was silent.

“Teacher, why cookie?”

“Today,” I told each second grade class as their eyes glittered with cookie-lust, “one lucky state group will win the Binch. We are going to have a debate!”

After going through the obligatory textbook exercises on opinions, supporting reasons, and opposing views, I gave each state group a piece of paper.

“Convince me that I should give you the cookies,” I said, walking around the room and helping them write their opinion, reasons, and counterarguments.

At the end of each class, a student from each state group stood up to present their reasons. While some read in their normal voice or with the shy whisper they adopt when speaking English, others adopted a debate persona, speaking with conviction, walking around, pausing dramatically, and using a lot of hand gestures. If time permitted, I also allowed rebuttals and final pleas. When choosing my winners, I usually took into account their teamwork, their content, and their delivery.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Janine Teacher classroom update without showcasing my students’ work. Here are some of my favorite arguments and counterarguments from the past week.



“We need cookies to give to our girlfriends. We have many girlfriends. We are stamina kings.” – Arizona

“We came from the future. In future, Janine gave us Binch. This is destiny. If Janine doesn’t give us Binch, future is changed by her. At the end, space will be destroy. Please right choice, Janine. Peace of space depends on you.” – Missouri

“We always think chocolate when we see Janine because chocolate’s soft feeling is like Janine’s characteristics. Chocolate’s depth is like Janine’s deep eyes, chocolate’s sweet is like our mind when we think Janine.” – Wisconsin

“We have many patience. God helps those who wait. The god is Janine.” – Virginia

“We made acrostic poem. Binch / Is / Now ours / Chosen by God / Halleluya we should eat.” – West Virginia

“Our mouths are very small. But we can eat that big cookie at once. So, we want to show that we eat the cookie.” – New Jersey

“If New Jersey eat the cookies, we may make violence to New Jersey.” – North Dakota

“We have no money. You can feel compassion. Give us the cookies.” – Alabama

“Nobody has eaten a Binch because we was born during IMF [crisis] in 1998. So, we don’t have money.” – New Mexico

“We must have intake sugar because we have a cold. Doctor said that we must have a lot of sugar through Binch. Binch is our sugar.” (Accompanied by a student wearing a surgical mask and feigning a cough.) – New Mexico

“We have short legs, so we must grow up by eating cookie.” – Minnesota

“We had stress because we received exam score. It is terrible.” – Maine

“Binch is very special and great and wonderful and beautiful and fantastic. And also delicious and tasty and good and so good and so so good and very good and very tasty.” – Nebraska

“Our bucket list is getting a cookie from Janine.” – Vermont

“Janine Teacher’s face size is as small as the size of cookies. Janine Teacher’s nose distance seems to be 6 cm because cookie is 6 cm!!!!” (I think this was supposed to be a compliment.) – Texas

“We think you look like Angelina Jolie.” (I don’t. Not remotely.) – Maine

“Oh baby, I think I want to marry you!” (Followed by the entire group breaking into the Bruno Mars song of the same name.) – Minnesota

“There was a girl, but she has gone away from me. Now, I want to stay with her. Please give me the girl. I cannot live without her. Her name is Binch.” – Montana

“Other states almost don’t bring the textbook or fall in sleeping, but Hawaii brings three textbooks and don’t sleep.” – Hawaii

“If you don’t give the cookies to us, I’ll bury you in Gyeongun Mountain.” (They didn’t get the cookies. Now every time they see me, they say, “Teacher – mountain?”) – Iowa

“Yesterday, I dreamed that we will be given cookies by Janine. I hope it is true.” – Kentucky



“Other states may say they are sexy.” – New Mexico

“Other states may say they don’t eat Binch never once, but they’re liar.” – New Jersey

“Other groups may say ‘we eat the cookies to be taller,’ but it is known that after puberty we can’t grow.” – Nevada

“Other states may say they like cookies the most, but we have a friend in our group who really likes cookies, even she wants to marry the boss of the cookies company.” – South Dakota

“There are Binch addiction patients in their team.” – Washington

“Other states may say they are handsome, but there are not handsome person in our class.” – Missouri

“We did enough, so give us the cookies!” – Wyoming

“Other states may say we don’t want to get the cookies, but that is f***ing crazy talk.” – Nebraska



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s