Recognizing Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Published Long-Form Non-Fiction

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SWBAT identify ethos, pathos, and logos in a learned, non-fiction essay.

Big Idea

... knowledge of the "rhetorical appeals" assists students with reading arguments for better understanding ...

Introduction and Context

8 minutes

For this lesson, students will put to use their new knowledge of the rhetorical appeals, as they critically read a longer, non-fiction essay, posted on the internet.  First, though, they will need to find an article that is acceptable and cut-n-paste it (with attribution of course) into a new Google Doc. Students will, then, highlight the article (using the Google Docs highlight function) according to instances of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Locating Your Article for Close Reading

18 minutes

Experience teaches me I will have a "disaster" on my hands if I do not carefully limit student article choices.  If I open this up to Google searching as the core source, we are likely to end up with everything from high school blog posts to Atlantic Monthly cover pieces to terrible junk at the bottom of a sub reddit.  

So, in order to be expeditious, I insist that all of the articles for this project come via Arts & Letters Daily, one of the finest repositories of learned, sophisticated writing on the entire web.  (For more on the excellence of Arts & Letters Daily, you may want to cross-reference my lesson "Using Arts & Letters Daily," posted elsewhere at Better Lesson.)

After driving to A&E Daily, I ask students to locate three or four interesting, longer pieces.  Length is crucial, here, at the outset, and I mention that the article need not be 10,000 words, but it should be more than 500.  There's no perfect science to picking, but, as students are bookmarking up to four "possibles," I circulate and offer my advice.  After everyone has settled on a piece to use, I ask that students print a copy (or post to me a link), so I will have a reference of the pieces being read across all of my classes.  During the spring semester this year, students printed these, labeled them with names and periods, and I kept them in a file folder.  Maybe once I "flipped" though them just to check for any potential issues of length or content ... (If you do peruse the student samples attached in the last lesson of this unit, you will find that my students read a very wide variety of internet-based prose.)

Guided Practice: Color-Coding for the Appeals

18 minutes

Once everyone has selected a suitable article to parse, I ask them to open the article in a separate tab and use the article's site-tool to render the browser window into "single-page view" or "print view," the point being, simply, to prepare for the article being cut-n-pasted.  (This step is crucial, as I have seen students cut into their close-reading template ONLY the first page a piece that is navigable across many links.)

Once each article is in single-page view, students open this Google Doc to use as a "template."  They load the doc, "save a copy," and name the file according to our classroom Google Doc file name protocol (First Name_Last Name_Period_#_Close_Reading).  Then, in a move that is familiar to them (indeed!) they simply copy the ENTIRE article to the clip board and paste it onto their reading template.

I ask them, next, re-read the article and use the Google Docs highlighter to highlight the thesis statement in one color.

Then, I ask each student to chose three other colors and look for ethos, pathos, and logos, highlighting each in their respective colors.  I mention that the Google Docs default highlighter colors -- the top row of color chips -- are fine for four good contrasting colors.  (I attached a screen shot of my instructions, so you can see a color version of these instructions.)