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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…

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 …

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…

3 Videos to Use During the Holidays in the ELA Class

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Yes, I know it’s March.  But I just found my PowerPoint and so I’m sharing now.



1. History vs. Christopher Columbus by Alex Gendler
Why do we still celebrate this holiday?  This animated TED ED talk goes into what’s not taught in elementary school about Columbus.  Cliff Notes: he was a bad dude.

2.Can Art Amend History? By Titus Kaphar
So I teach a lesson about the first Thanksgiving.  Days 1-3 delve into the English version of the holiday and what most people believe about Thanksgiving.  Days 4 and 5 discuss the Native American perspective, which isn’t discussed enough.  This TED asks the question: Can we learn about the unpleasantness of our history through art?  Is it more palatable to digest that way?  Super entertaining talk.

3.Black Friday: An Accident of History by Hank Green
Not technically a TED Talk, but it’s good.  Hank Green talks about Black Friday and its origins.  We all get a little preachy about the meaning of Christmas (vs. the commercial ideal that’s taken hold) and…

5 TED Talks to Use with the Theme of Fear and Mystery

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I can’t believe I’m about to talk about fear and mystery right after Valentine’s Day, but here goes.



1.What Fear Can Teach Us by Karen Thompson
Really great TED Talk about how instead of shying away from our fear, we should embrace them, turn them into stories, and then act upon them.

2.Vampires- Folklore, fantasy, and fact  by Michael Molina
An animated vampire talks about the mythology behind vampires.  It’s kind of corny, but it’s interesting to see the origin and various country interpretations.

3.Zombie Roaches and Other Parasite Tales
Ed Yong describes a parasite that attaches itself to its host and takes over their body.  He also talks about the tapeworm and other such gross things.  The talk is entertaining and actually changed the way that I think about the creepy crawlies that I’m afraid of.  Especially the ones that might take over my body.

4.Where Do Superstitions Come From? By Stuart Vyse
In this TED talk, several popular superstitions are dissected.  There’s not much els…

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…

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