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Trump vs. Obama: Analyzing Rhetoric

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We can’t have enough lessons over speeches or the rhetoric within those speeches. There is no end to it. The least we can do is have fun.So… I created a lesson, analyzing Trump’s victory speech and Obama’s victory speech. I wanted to give students a look at a speech that is heavy in rhetoric versus one that is… well, not so heavy in rhetoric. Anywho… if you’re interested… here is the lesson plan.Trump vs. ObamaRhetorical AnalysisThings You Will Need to Teach This Lesson:·        Lesson Plan·        Rhetoric PowerPoint (included)·        Student Handouts: Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech (x2), Trump Victory Speech, Obama Victory Speech, Trump vs. Obama Grading Handout, Rhetorical Analysis Rubric (included in this pdf)·        Answer Keys Before the Lesson:·        Please review the lesson plan and PowerPoint.  Delete anything that isn’t applicable to you.  Add things that are.  Make this lesson your own.·        Print the student handouts and review the answer keys.Lesson:Act…

If I Could Get Away With It: Movie Edition | The Royal Tennenbaums

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Wes Anderson. Le Sigh. Here’s the trailer. When this movie came out I was a freshman in high school and I fell in love. This movie is whimsical and quirky and my teenage brain didn’t understand how the story worked but I knew that it just did. And I knew that it was brilliant. And because of this film, I have seen every Wes Anderson movie (although… outside of the aesthetics, I don’t think that I’m a fan).The Tennenbaums are extraordinary. And they have been since they were children. One is an actress, one is a tennis player, and one is a mogul. They are all famous. They reunite after 20 years because their father claims he’s dying, and just like any catalyst to a story, it sets off the domino effect that changes the course of their lives. If I could get away with teaching this movie, I would use it to teach characterization and style. Every single character in this movie is three dimensional, every character has motivation. We would start of the unit with a note taker and…

Analysis Overview

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When it comes to evaluating students at the beginning of the year, I find that analysis is one of those topics that get swept under the rug. We assume that by high school, students have already learned these skills, and yet we find out, year after year, that that is not the case for some of them. This lesson I created adresses some of those issues.Analysis OverviewPreTest, Overview, Close Read, AnnotationsThings You Will Need to Teach This Lesson:·        Instructions·        Analysis Overview PowerPoint·        Analysis PreTest Handout (Included in PDF file)·        Analysis PreTest Answer Key (Included in PDF file)·        The Story of an Hour Handout (Included in PDF file)·        The Story of an Hour Answer Key (Included in PDF file)Before the Lesson:·        Please review the lesson plan and PowerPoint.  Delete anything that isn’t applicable to you.  Add things that are.  Make this lesson your own.·        Print the student handouts for each student.Lesson:Activity One: Analysi…

Teaching Collectivism and Individualism for Anthem by Ayn Rand

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The two philosophies of collectivism and individualism are heavy throughout Anthemby Ayn Rand. When I decided to teach this book, I researched both ideas and knew that if I wanted the kids to understand these heavy concepts, I was going to have to simplify and condense.And what better way to simplify and condense then pictures!?As the kids came in, I had this picture of V from V from Vendetta on the board: Those that have already seen the movie knew the reference, and it got the wheels turning. I then showed the kids several pictures of people doing things alone. With some discussion they were able to grasp the theme that I was going for.I switched over to several pictures of people doing things in groups. This one was easier to get at because they could already see the patterns we were making.Then I gave them the definitions for individualism and collectivism. They wrote them down in their notebooks. We discussed a little and by the end they understood that the basic tenants of …

Using Mulan to Teach Gender Stereotypes

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I love Disney.Honestly, at this point, it’s probably a bit irrational.My husband doesn’t understand it.My kids don’t understand it.But Disney movies in the 90s were the companion to an only child, i.e. me.So anytime I can go back to my happy place I will.Therefore, I use a lot of Disney in my teaching.
When I do my big unit on gender stereotypes, I reference Mulan a lot.One year, I had almost an entire student group tell me that they hadn’t seen the movie.I dreamed that night about all the lessons I could plan around the movie.Besides viewing it as literature, I had the students identify any point in the movie that supported the idea that gender norms/ stereotypes can be beneficial, and any point in the movie that supported the idea that gender norms/ stereotypes are not beneficial.I had them transfer those into a graphic organizer that also had a bubble outline for a persuasive essay.They then had to choose a side and write a draft using the movie as evidence.Pretty easy.
If you’d l…

Audience: Teaching Persuasion

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There is a certain time of the year where I feel like I eat, breath, and dream ethos, pathos, and logos.State of Texas, can I please teach mythology? Or archetypes? Or WHOLE NOVELS?I’ll even take Julius Cesar at this point.
But alas, it’s always coming up persuasion.
Anyway, audience is always a tricky subject.Either the kids get it, or they don’t.Either I have time to teach it fully, or I don’t.Depending on the group of students and depending on the year I’m either dedicating a few days to the concept or barely making it a topic of discussion.
I guess my point is to say here is a worksheet that I use to evaluate if the kids get it.If they do, I move on.If they don’t… well, then I use more in-depth measures.

Advertisement Project: Teaching Persuasion

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I know that everyone who has to teach persuasion has done this at least one time in their teaching career.So I’m not proposing anything new.I’m just putting mine out into the ether.


Hands down, the best way to get teenagers to understand persuasion is to appeal to their hungry little consumer on the inside.  It seems like, for about of month out of the year, I become an expert in commercials.  And once the kids begin to break it down, see how advertisements work, see how marketers use formulaic methods to get people to buy their stuff even without realizing their being marketed to, the kids want to try their hands at it. 
The Advertisement Assignment is pretty simple: the kids work in pairs to create a print ad or a commercial for an assigned product.  They get a blurb of what the product is about, and they have to create a name, a logo, and a tagline with a clear message, all while using persuasive elements that they’ve learned from over the course of the unit.  Other than those in…

An Introduction to Gender Stereotypes

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I'm not going to get on my high horse about what happened to Cracked.com.  That isn't what this post is about.  It is, however, a post about one of their articles that I've been teaching for a while.

The 6 weeks before STAAR become STAAR prep.  Therefore, all of the units that we work on become debatable thematic units.  The first one I usually tackle is gender stereotypes.  For some reason,  it is super engaging (more than I thought it would be) and the kids enjoy tackling an issue that is very much applicable to them.  However, they don't understand that gender norms are a fluid thing.  The things that we have come to associate with a particular gender aren't the things that have always been associated with that gender.

Back on track...

... I start my unit off with an article from Cracked called 5 Gender Stereotypes That Used to be the Exact Opposite as an introduction to the above idea.  It does have bad words in it (I print out an edited version for my student…

Six Videos to Use While Reading Anthem

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I've talked about my love of TED Talks both here and here.  When we did our Anthem unit at the beginning of the year, I found more in the other channels that I subscribe to on YouTube than I did on TED that related to the book.  So here they are: six videos I used to supplement Anthem by Ayn Rand.  If you're interested in the PowerPoint I use, you can find it in my TPT store here.



#1: "Changing Educational Paradigms" by Ken Robinson
This is the RSA Animate version of the longer TED Talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity" by Robinson.  In it he discusses the idea that culture and learning have changed, therefore schools need to adapt to the way kids are learning.  The whole video is an interesting watch, but what I used to relate to Anthem was the bit about divergent thinking.  We had a whole group discussion about divergent thinking and how it relates to Equality.  The students were also able to relate other parts of the video (such as the assembly line idea) to

Using "Race: The Power of Illusion" to Dispel Racial Ideas in Preparation for Desiree's Baby

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Every year I teach Desiree's Baby.  It's my favorite short story to teach students; the look of shock on their faces at the end... it's awesome.

The first year I taught it, I was shocked at how little the kids knew about race.  A lot of my students know what race FEELS like: they know what it feels like when someone underestimates them because of the color of their skin, they know what it feels like to see people praise a person who villainizes them, they know what it feels like to grow up having a different experience than the ones they see in the shows they watch.  But a lot of them don't KNOW race: the history, the science, the misconceptions.

Enter my favorite Webquest thanks to PBS!



Race: The Power of Illusion is an interactive website that explains almost everything you could ever want to know about the idea of race.  And it was just what I needed to get my point across in as little time as possible.

I needed the students to understand that race is just a constru…

Groovy Greeks: An Overview of the Ancient Greeks for Context

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I love reading A Midsummer Night's Dream with my kids.  Over the years I've realized that a lot of them do not have the context to understand the first scene of the play.  I discovered the animated show Horrible Histories while searching for a quick way to give them that context in a way that they'd actually pay attention.  To make sure that they did while watching, I created a guided questioning handout.  I also realized that the video wasn't going to be enough.  So I found an article on CommonLit that dissects the class system.  Because students need to understand Hermia's plight and why the mechanicals are the comedic relief (I use a subsequent lesson to drive this idea home), the assessment is two paragraphs where they have to use both resources to explain what life was like for women and the working class.  
The lesson plan is below.  If you're interested in the handout I use, you can find it in my TPT store here.


Groovy GreeksIntroduction to the Ancient G…

Teaching Plot and Inference with Harrison Bergeron

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I love teaching Harrison Bergeron.  I take a whole week to go through it.  And my kids seem to love it too... which makes me love it even more. Things You Will Need to Teach This Lesson:·Instructions ·Harrison Bergeron PowerPoint  ·Index Cards ·Bill of Rights ·Day 1 Opener Handout  ·“Harrison Bergeron” ·Harrison Bergeron Plot Points  ·Harrison Bergeron Plot and Inference Chart  ·Harrison Bergeron Plot and Inference Chart Answer Key  ·2081  ·Harrison Bergeron vs. 2081 Handout 
Lesson:Activity One: What is your best quality? As the students walk into class, hand them an index card.  Using slides 1 and 2, introduce the story that you’re about to read.  Have the students write their best quality on the index card.  Once students have completed the task, split them into four different groups based on their best quality: ·Those that said some type of athletic is their best quality·Those that said their best quality has something to do with their beauty·Those that said something musical or artistic is t…