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Hi.

I'm a high school English teacher who has taught in Title 1 schools for the majority of my career. Disillusioned by the high demands and apathy displayed by my students, I started creating lessons that were high interest and engaging for even the most indifferent student. I realized that if I had once felt burnt out and hopeless, other teachers were feeling the same. It is my hope that Room 2209 can be a lifeline to teachers who are struggling or just looking for something new.

Trump vs. Obama: Analyzing Rhetoric

Trump vs. Obama: Analyzing Rhetoric

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. Obama

Rhetorical Analysis

Things 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:

Activity One: Introduction to Rhetoric

Using slides 1 through 3, introduce the idea of rhetoric (lecture).

·        Slide 2: Definition of rhetoric.

·        Slide 3: Elements of Rhetoric

o   Purpose: the reason for writing or speaking

o   Audience: who the author is writing/speaking to. 

o   Rhetorical triangle: the previous two bullet points in culmination with the author create the rhetorical triangle.  This idea can be further developed at the teacher’s discretion, however for this lesson, students only need to know that all three of the elements of the triangle depend on each other for a piece of rhetoric to be effective.

o   Ethos, Pathos, Logos: using credibility (ethos), emotions (pathos) and logic (logos) to persuade.  These three appeals can be expanded upon at the teacher’s discretion.

o   Logical Fallacies: For a good breakdown of logical fallacies with examples, visit yourlogicalfallacyis.com.  If you’re interested in intervention or study material dealing with logical fallacies, visit my TPT store for a set of flashcards.

o   Modes of Discourse:

§  Narration: in which the author/speaker tells a story to support their claim

§  Description: in which the author/speaker describes an idea to support their claim

§  Argumentation: in which the author/speaker argues their point using appeals to support their claim

§  Exposition: in which the author/speaker explains something to support their claim

Activity Two: Donald J. Trump Victory Speech

For this lesson I wanted to use speeches that were easy to analyze.  The victory speeches allow for easy interpretation because the ideas are surface level.  In addition, they are short and have a lot of exposition that’s not important (i.e. the thank yous) that make discerning important information from unimportant information easier to grasp.

Give each student a copy of “Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech” and “Donald J. Trump Victory Speech.”  Play the video on Slide 4 in the Rhetoric PowerPoint.  While watching, students should follow along on their handout and annotate for the rhetorical elements within based on slide 3.  It is up to the teacher as to how many times the speech is read, or if the annotations are done individually, in a group, or as a class.

Once students have a good understanding of the speech and the ideas presented within, they should complete the handout “Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech” making sure to answer each question completely.

Although answers will vary, an answer key is included.

Activity Three: Barack Obama Victory Speech

Give each student a copy of “Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech” and “Barack Obama Victory Speech.”  Play the video on Slide 5 in the Rhetoric PowerPoint.  While watching, students should follow along on their handout and annotate for the rhetorical elements within based on slide 3.  It is up to the teacher as to how many times the speech is read, or if the annotations are done individually, in a group, or as a class.

Once students have a good understanding of the speech and the ideas presented within, they should complete the handout “Analyzing the Rhetoric Within a Speech” making sure to answer each question completely.

Although answers will vary, an answer key is included.

Activity Four: You Give the Grade

Give each student a copy of “Rhetorical Analysis Rubric.”  Review the rubric and answer any questions.

(This rubric is based on the CollegeBoard’s AP Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric.  If teaching an AP or PreAP class, now would be a great time to go over the expectations of that essay.  You can find their rubric here, along with the explanation of what each number grade means.)

After reviewing the rubric, give each student a copy of “Trump vs. Obama Grading Handout.”  Based on the criteria from the rubric, students should evaluate Trump and Obama’s speeches.  For each grade given, students should add up the points within each Level Achievement and give both Trump and Obama a grade.  With each grade given, students should write a short justification as to why that particular grade has been chosen.  On the back of the handout, students should write a complete paragraph with their own conclusions of the speeches. 

Because this activity can vary greatly, no answer key has been provided.  However, students should note the fact that even though both speeches achieve the goal of their claims, Obama’s speech is more effective because of his expertly constructed and applied rhetoric.

Activity Five: Extension Activity- Rhetorical Speech Presentations

Using the Rhetorical Analysis Rubric, assign students a topic.  Below you will find some ideas of speech topics based on level of controversy.  If short on time, this assignment can be done in groups to condense presentation time. 

Once students have their topic, they should write a speech based on their learning.  An extra element that can be added to increase engagement and rigor is to assign opposing sides, so that topics can be debated.

After allotted time given to complete their writing, each student (or group) presents their speech.  Grade based on rubric.

Controversial

Less Controversial

Safe

Abortion

Euthanasia

Success in school

Prohibition (substance legalization)

The death penalty

What it means to be a hero

Pros/cons of (organized) religion

We are living in the end times

Voting

hazing

Civil disobedience

Credit cards

Sex education

Mental disorders

Athletes as role models

Gun control

Gangs and gang violence

Definition of family

immigration

Platonic relationships between genders

Fad diets

Trump and twitter

Fake news

Cell phones in schools

 

The importance of a college degree

 

 Once students have analyzed the speeches, I think it’s obvious that the conclusion I want them to grasp is that Obama’s speech is full of rhetoric and I would hope that they would model their own speeches after his.

If you’re interested in my handouts, visit my TPT store here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                

Resources for Teaching Anthem by Ayn Rand

Resources for Teaching Anthem by Ayn Rand