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Showing posts with the label persuasion

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…

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 …

Incorporating Infographics into the ELA Classroom: Writing an Essay

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In Texas we have this handy dandy standard:

(11)  Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts. Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts and documents. Students are expected to: (A)  evaluate text for the clarity of its graphics and its visual appeal; and (B)  synthesize information from multiple graphical sources to draw conclusions about the ideas presented (e.g., maps, charts, schematics).
and it has been left so open-ended that it be interpreted any number of ways.  I know that in class we're always evaluating images and maps.  They will come up eventually, so I will not have to worry about hitting the standard that way.  But I don't think I'll have another opportunity to go over an infographic. And even if I do, infographics are fun.

So what better way to kill two birds with one stone: handle the standard while also gauging what the kids know and where I need to focus when it comes to essay writing.

I love infographics,…

4 TED Talks to Use While Teaching Things Fall Apart

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Here we go again...

1.  “What makes a good life?  Lessons from the longest study on happiness” by Robert Waldinger


Okonkwo is obviously an unhappy man.  Turns out the key to happiness is the relationships we build.  I guess someone should tell Okonkwo that...

2.  “How movies teach manhood” by Colin Stokes


I love the ideas presented in this talk.  I think the messages that we're sending to our kids through film aren't always inspiring.  Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in censorship.  However, when society has a test to determine how female inclusive a film is and most films fail it, there's a problem.
3.  “The Five Major World Religions” by John Bellaimey

Many of my students don't know anything about religion outside of their own.  This video was, for many of them, an introduction to other religions.  I connected it to the book through the theme of imperialism.
4.  “How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress” by Chika Ezeanya- Esiobu

I thi…

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…

Using Hashtags to Retain Information

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Last week I mentioned hashtag summaries and then realized that I had never mentioned them before. 

Sounds about right...

Anywho... #hastagsummaries have changed my life: they're quick, they're fun, they're creative.  And I've had quite a few kids tell me that this is the easiest way for them to retain information when it comes to those long boring essays that they have to read for the state.  So #winwin. 


Here's the process:
Whenever we have a nonfiction article, I have the student's number the paragraphs.Read the paragraph.Come up with a cute, clever #hastag that summarizes the paragraph in a way the student would remember.           For example, we were reading an article about the 1920s.  Here's the paragraph:


Women were delighted by the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave them, at long last, the right to vote.  Feeling emancipated and in rising demand on the labor market, young, urban and fashionable flappers joined men in boycotting the Proh…

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…

Getting a 4

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Is everyone feeling it?  That current of tension that runs through the English Department right before the STAAR test?  I'm feeling it again, and I have to admit that, this year, it's getting to me.

But this post isn't about that.

This post is about something I created.

I wanted my kids to understand the key term UNIQUE in the STAAR rubric.  And so I created a worksheet where kids can reflect on what made each of these 4s unique and how they can incorporate that uniqueness into their own writing.  Since we're all a little burnt out on the right vs. wrong mentality, I made this worksheet subjective.  As long as their answer is thoughtful and shows true reflection, they receive full credit.

Click here for the worksheet.

6 TED Talks to use with Animal Farm

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Ok, so I cheated a little.  Not all of them are TED Talks. But... that's not the point.  I use TED Talks every week.  Some of the kids love them, some of them hate them, but every Tuesday for about 10 minutes at the beginning of class (sometimes they run a little longer) the kids watch a TED Talk where they have to identify the title of the talk, the speaker, the speaker's thesis, how it relates to whatever we're reading, and how the speaker uses ethos, pathos, and logos.

So here are the TED Talks I use for Animal Farm, in no particular order:

1.  Karl Marx I like to start the unit off with this one.  It explains who Karl Marx was and his philosophy.  It also lightly touches on the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Just a note: the creators of this video use art to make their point, and some of the art is nude.  Use at your own discretion.

2.  Is Capitalism Bad for You? Wisecrack is amazing.  And this series takes heavy abstract theories and uses video game images to illustrat…

Visualizing Persuasion

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One of the biggest issues we have in getting prepared for the STAAR is the writing portion of the test.  Lucky for us (or unlucky; the tides have yet to determine) they took the analysis paragraph away, so when it comes to writing, I can put all my energy into the persuasive essay. Before ABYDOS, my students had written an essay for timed writing.  We had done a two week unit on over overcoming adversity and the essay was the conclusion.  I was worried about feedback, convinced I don’t dedicate nearly enough time on the idea, convinced that it’s probably the most important element in getting them to where I need them to be, convinced that maybe, just maybe, that was the reason they’re all horrible at writing. However, during ABYDOS, I went to a session where she explained that her Pre-AP students were having some of the same problems mine were.  She also expressed the power of visual learning and color. She has the students self evaluate using highlighters.  Yellow= transitions.  Gre…