"SOAPSTone-ing" Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech

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SWBAT read closely to summarize, identify rhetorical devices, and analyze for tone and purpose by completing a SOAPSTone Chart.

Big Idea

Lather up everyone! Students use a SOAPSTone chart to read an important American speech closely.

Do Now

5 minutes

Last class, we listened to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech." Today, when my students enter the room, I will be asking them to skim over the speech to find the lines that they thought spoke to them the most in the speech. I am having them do this because I want to hear which lines resonated with them and I always love to hear them explain their thoughts about a text by using their speaking and listening skills (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a). I am also having them do this because in the remainder of the lesson, we will be looking more closely at the word choice, including figurative language and rhetorical devices (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6) in the speech and analyzing them in a close reading using a graphic organizer. In this lesson, I will also be able to see if my students can analyze the development of Dr. King's claims about equality (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5)

Building Knowledge: Modeling

5 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I am asking my students to read the "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. more closely by completing a SOAPStone chart.  We are reading this poem because it fits with the unit, Making My Point. In this unit, our essential question is: How are we compelled to act on our beliefs and values?

During the last class session, we read and listened to the speech and talked about examples of rhetorical devices. We also had a general discussion about the tone of the speech. Today, I will be asking my students to put these ideas on paper in the form of a chart.

I am having them complete this SoapsTONE chart with Dr. King's speech because it allows them to demonstrate their understanding of several skills at once, including author's purpose and rhetorical devices (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6),  and tone (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4). This chart is also a great way to collect information in one place about a particular text on the quest to uncover deeper meaning.

Dr. King uses lots of rhetorical devices and provocative diction throughout the speech, so the speech will provide excellent examples for students to practice close reading and analyzing with SoapsTONE. I got the chart from our Harford County Public Schools curriculum resources (adapted from MSDE).

SOAPSTone stands for:







In addition, my students will be summarizing (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2) the poem to show that they understand the meaning behind the words.

I will model the response for the first part of the chart because I want to make sure that the responses are rich and thorough. Each part of the chart has several questions that I want students to answer in complete sentences; therefore, I will model what I want the response to look like. Clear expectations are always important!

Building Knowledge: Guided Practice

5 minutes

For this section, we will continue to build knowledge by doing the Occasion box of the chart together. I will ask students to help me complete this section by answering the probing questions in complete sentences.

The questions are: What is the time and place of the text;the writing of the text; the situation or context which gave rise to the writing of the text?

My students have a tendency to answer 1 of the questions but generally fall short of providing complete responses, so I will be very clear about how thorough these responses should be during the modeling and guided practice.

Application: Completing the SOAPSTone Chart

45 minutes

For the bulk of the class today, I will ask my students to work together to complete the SOAPSTone chart. They will work with partners because I recognize the power in discussing(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4) their ideas before putting them to paper. They learn so much more when they work together. This also helps students that are sometimes less focused because their partners will keep them on pace. At the midpoint (about 22 minutes in) I will have them pause to check in on where everyone is on the charting. I'll also ask a couple of students to share what they wrote on the first page of the chart. (I'm sure they will have completed that section by then.)

I am asking students to share because this is a quick way to check for understanding. Also, since I will have been walking around while they were working, I can strategically call on students that have great responses so that we can celebrate their work. I think it is always important for students to hear scholarly responses that come from their classmates, to build up their confidence for delivering the same types of responses.

Check out this sample of student work that shows sections of a completed chart.

Closure: Summarizing

15 minutes

Now that my students have closely read the speech, I will ask them to summarize (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2) it. In order to facilitate their summaries, I will have them answer specific questions listed on the SOAPSTone chart. I am having them summarize this way because the questions will guide them to a deeper analysis of the meaning of the text. Check out this example of a student's summary of the speech.