Practice makes perfect. I ask students to write a sentence with an appositive and give them a few minutes to write while I take attendance. We've studied appositives and practiced writing them once before; on this attempt, we're a beautiful 100% correct from our shared examples:
"Tylor, a true hippie, just wants peace."
"Our last game, a nail-biter, ended on a sad note."
When I assessed my students' first essays, I realized they were writing with nice details--specific and logically ordered. I remind them of this today and explain that my job will be to help them reach advanced proficiency with their details this year. I want them to be able to understand and use three different type of details which hail from ancient Greece--logos, ethos, and pathos details. I explain that each type of detail has a specific purpose that they, as expert authors, can choose which type of detail will be most convincing for any given audience.
Why Use Logos-Ethos-Pathos Details
From there, we take notes on the types of details, who might be best convinced by them (and why), and what examples look like. You can check out our notes in the resources section to the right. On our previous essay, we wrote about the use of iPads in schools, especially relevant given that our school has iPads for all students. I use more iPad examples to help connect with students' current knowledge.
I find applying abstract concepts to our actual work helps cement learning, so I ask students to pull out their first essay. We look for the different types of details in their essays and add to our class notes, validating their work and providing examples for everyone to reference. Students are able to correctly classify their own details, though some students do repeat details shared by others (a sign of poor listening which I gently point out, "[Student name] mentioned that just a moment ago, right?"). We also discuss who the essay might best appeal to and why; we consider how we might adjust details to make the essay more persuasive for other audiences. If we really want to change educational policy, we might consider using primarily logos (fact) and ethos (ethics and authority) details to appeal to policy-makers with legal backgrounds.
Excited by their new persuasive abilities, students are ready for their first detail challenge.
I give students a new question, still school related (should parents be able to access student grades online?), and instruct them to write one each of the three types of details. After they write, we share our examples:
Logos: programs like PowerSchool allow easy access to student grades online.
Ethos: students have a right to privacy, so parents should not have access to grades.
Pathos: parents sometimes punish students needlessly for assignments which were only practice, so grades should not be posted online.
This sharing allows me to verify their knowledge without collecting more paper to assess, a time saver which still gives me valuable feedback. Students understand the differences between the detail types and are ready to apply them to their next writing assignment.