Introduction to Reading for Rhetoric: Television Commercial Analysis

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SWBAT determine an author's purpose or point of view in a text and apply the language of rhetoric to describe how that purpose is achieved by analyzing rhetorical techniques in television commercials.

Big Idea

Knowing and using the language of rhetoric is a critical component of making sense of the world we live in. Today we will begin the process of building our vocabulary for discussing this key concept.

Unit Overview

Today, we will jump into our next unit of study. This is a bridge unit between our study of narrative non-fiction and our first literary text, Othello

One of the key ideas that I will be asking students to consider closely with each new text we encounter this year is rhetoric, or the art of argument. I touched on a few broad concepts with our study of Persepolis, but now I want students to be more fluent with not only the concept of rhetoric, but the strategies authors utilize to create their claims. 

Students were introduced to the three main appeals (ethos, pathos and logos) in 9th grade, so much of this will be review and an opportunity for students to hone their skills with more complicated texts. Therefore, the first few lessons of this unit will serve as an overview/review of language we use to discuss rhetoric (L.9-10.6) and the final lessons of the unit will offer me an opportunity to assess if students are able to identify and analyze rhetorical technique as they read and analyze Machiavelli's The Prince

SSR and Reminder Strategies

15 minutes

I need to spend the first few minutes of SSR reviewing their independent reading reflections from last week. Many of them had the wrong page goals written down and I want to offer them the opportunity to reset their reading goals. I will allow them to do this if they come into intervention (a 45 minute bonus period on Wednesday mornings that students can use to get extra help and/or make up missing assignments). If they come in, I will let them reset their goals. I don't know that this will take a full five minutes, but I will allow extra time for this and/or reading. 

Rhetoric Overview Notes

25 minutes

As this is a review of concepts that students (should have) learned or been exposed to last year in 9th grade, I will go over basic information about rhetoric using a presentation in a traditional lecture format. I try hard not to do these often, but given the significance of this topic to their reading activities for the rest of the year, I want to make sure we all have the same vocabulary and ideas fresh in our minds.

While I go over the notes on rhetorical situation and rhetorical appeal, students will take notes in their notebooks. Within the notes, there is an initial video to get kids thinking about how authors/advertisers use rhetoric (RI.9-10.6).

We will analyze this clip, narrated by Sarah McLachlan to discuss pathos, specifically, but also to discuss what other rhetorical appeals are being utilized and how these achieve her and/or her sponsor's purposes (SL.9-10.1). 

Practicing Rhetorical Analysis with Video

10 minutes

The end of the presentation has a collection of commercials. We will watch these videos together and do simple analysis of rhetorical situation and the main appeal that they see. We will watch as many as time allows.

As we watch, I will ask students to take notes on the various appeals that are being utilized. After we have watched a few, I will pause and ask them to share ideas about which appeals are most appropriate and/or inappropriate for the intended audience and/or which appeals appeal to them most (SL.9-10.3).

Wrap up and Next Steps

5 minutes

To make sure students were tracking with me, since we did a lot of whole group work today, I will ask them to complete an exit slip which analyzes a commercial's rhetorical situation and main form of appeal using the final advertisement that we view.