Evaluating Purpose and Rhetorical Appeals in a Documentary Film

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SWBAT evaluate the author's purpose and use of rhetorical appeals by writing a rhetorical analysis of a documentary film.

Big Idea

It's not just a Film. It's a documentary! "Youssou N'Dour I Bring What I Love" Students analyze the filmmaker's purpose and how she uses rhetorical appeals.

Introduction to Lesson

Let's Get Started: Quick Review of Precis and Appeals

5 minutes

As the students walk in the door, I ask them to put their homework in the tray. They had to write a rhetorical precis about a review of the movie they are about to watch.  The movie will take the entire period; I don't want them to miss it. I quickly ask the to define the following words: ethos, pathos, logos, and rhetorical precis.  It is a quick review of the new information from the last class.  During the movie, they will have to take notes on the author's purpose and how she uses the appeals in the movie (W 9-10. 4). For homework tonight, they have to write a rhetorical precis about the movie.  

I take volunteers to define the words. I ask if there are any questions.  If necessary, either myself or a classmate answers the questions.  

We just finished reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  I want to stick with the West African theme but move it to a contemporary context.  I also want to build on the skills they developed writing a literary analysis and apply it to informational texts.  

It is movie time. 

Watching: Youssou N'Dour I Bring What I Love

80 minutes

I pass out the handout on the Youssou Ndour movie.  I gave them the title, filmmaker, and date of release at the top of the handout.  The front of the page asks the to answer the questions necessary for a rhetorical precis.  Additionally they have to find and explain evidence for each of the rhetorical appeals. They have to internalize and use the vocabulary linked to rhetorical analysis to complete the activity (L 9-10.6).  The back of the handout instructs them to write a precis and response paragraph to the film.  Students will have to follow the formal style of the precis (W 9-10. 4).  At this point, I am still not expecting each student's voice permeate the precis. I want them to show me that they can identify the information necessary to write the precis and remain objective in their presentation of material.  The response paragraph gives them an opportunity to be more expressive in their writing. 

Students will respond to the questions as they watch.


Wrap Up: Final Thoughts and Homework

5 minutes

As the movie ends, I ask them their opinions of the film. Did they agree or disagree with the reviews we read in the last class?   Finally, I tell them to complete the back of their handout for homework.  They have to write a rhetorical precis and explain how the appeals were used in the movie. The plan is to go over them in the next class. 

As always, if they need help, they can come to afternoon conference (tutoring).