Whole Group Rhetorical Square

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SWBAT generate a whole group rhetorical square that analyzes a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut.

Big Idea

Collective analysis makes every student smarter!

Partner Sharing

10 minutes

I begin class today by having my students connect with the table partners on the opposite side of the table partners they worked with in the previous lesson, in order to share the completed results of their rhetorical squares that analyze a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut.  This will give them an opportunity to compare results with a fresh mind.  As they share, I encourage them to add ideas to their analysis, should their partners offer something sound that did not occur to them.

Whole Group Rhetorical Square

30 minutes

After the partner sharing, I tape a poster-size rhetorical square that I have drawn and labelled on the back wall and ask for a student volunteer to serve as scribe.  I explain to my students that we are going to generate a whole-group rhetorical square, based on the offerings of each other.  This is a task I have been working towards, as explained here.  Once each class has completed the process, they will be able to compare their analysis to the students in my other classes and assess their performance against each other (I have learned that even the slightest notion of competition tends to raise the level of participation).

I begin by asking for student volunteers to express their statements of author's purpose and help them shape their ideas into a collective statement that satisfies all (or most).  The student scribe then records the agreed-upon purpose on the giant square.  Having a student do the writing frees me up to monitor student participation more readily, and also tends to generate more student interaction, as my students are more relaxed with, if not critical of, one of their own at the helm.

This is the procedure we follow around the steps of the square.  When identifying argument, I remind my students that there will most likely be more than one.  As they arrive at persona, I require that they support each word they ascribe to the author's voice with concrete evidence from the text, which can then be listed as strategies inside the square.

When the analysis of the text is completed to their satisfaction, I turn it over and tape it face down on the wall, so that each class must generate original analysis without the aid of seeing what their peers have already done.  At the end of the day, all rhetorical squares will be displayed on one of my classroom walls, for my students to scrutinize the next day.

Book Banning 2013

30 minutes

The final focus of the lesson is a continuation of the argument chart my students began in this lesson, which kicked off our week of exploring the practice of book banning.

I explain to my students that today's articles explore recent incidents of books being challenged, even as early as this school year.  I distribute copies of articles about books being challenged in Alabama and in North Carolina to each of my students.  I allow them to work with either table partner and instruct them to read each article and record three arguments against book banning and three arguments for the practice that they detect in the articles on the same chart they created earlier this week.

There should be enough time left in class for my students to complete this activity, as both articles are relatively small and fairly accessible.  However, whatever they are unable to complete will be assigned as homework and reviewed in the following lesson.