How Did He Do That? Backwards Speech Design (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT evaluate a speaker's use of rhetoric by listening to persuasive speaking from a variety of presenters.

Big Idea

Effective speaking requires effective planning and organization. Before we craft our own speeches, let's figure out how others have planned theirs.

Overview of Unit

As we move into this new unit, it seems appropriate to give you an overview of my unit and how it fits within the school year. 

This unit is coming directly after our study of Othello. Students are still working on their final literary analysis papers outside of class. I tend to overlap the beginning and end of units like this because there isn't room for "dead" days in between when a big project/paper is started and finished. 

This unit, in particular, is a tricky fit. The persuasive speeches are a required assessment for all 10th graders in my district. Last year, we tried to align these speeches with the French Revolution unit in history, but upon further study of the standards, it's pretty apparent that we need to make these speeches more open ended and driven by student choice.

Given the strange, holiday filled season we are in, my collaborative team and I feel like this is the best time to do this mini-unit. To help us tie it into where we've been and where we are headed, we will bring in elements of rhetoric and make reference to speeches characters from Othello and then, at the end, we will introduce our next class text, A Tale of Two Cities, by looking at how Dickens uses speech like structure in the beginning of his book. 


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading. I will read with my students today.

Rhetoric Brainstorming Review

5 minutes

Pacing is always a challenge for me. I have to match myself to the other teachers in my common course team and assess my students on all of the district units of study before semester ends right before winter break. I am already a few days behind where I wanted to be, which means I am going to have to short change my speech unit a little.

The good news is the paper the students have been working on for Othello is connected to the speech unit through the common element/skill of persuasion. Because of this, I will frame today's lesson to achieve two goals: 

  1. Solidify understanding of requirements/expectations for the Othello literary analysis paper.
  2. Introduce/highlight the overlap between rhetoric in writing and speaking. 

To do this, I will ask the students to brainstorm with me how they can use ethos, pathos and logos in their writing. I will create a t-chart on the board so they can take notes of what is shared. I will also reinforce my recommendation to review the rubric for their papers as well as the due dates we discussed last week. I will allow them a few minutes of question-asking time, but will invite them to see me or email me if they are having specific struggles with their writing.

Speech Review: Zach Wahls

15 minutes

Once we've completed the t-chart for writing, I will ask them to consider how rhetorical strategies are similar or different for speaking tasks. I will ask them to take notes on what they notice a speaker doing while watching the powerful Zach Wall's speech

to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about being raised by two mothers. This will be the first of many speeches that I will use to as models for their speech creation.

Once we've watched the speech, I will ask students to help me fill in the other side of our t-chart with rhetorical strategies that Wahl's used in his speech. I will ask them to consider the following questions:

  • What was his topic?
  • What was his purpose?
  • What was his strategy?

My intention for framing our discussion with these questions is to help them evaluate his credibility (or how he creates that credibility) and his use of rhetorical strategies (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3), which are all criteria by which I will assess their speeches later in this unit.