Reflection: Rigor Creating a Road Map of Rhetoric Days 2-4 - Section 2: Group Map Making/Teacher Consultations


This was a messy, but very beneficial process that I think really helped students understand what it means to do a rhetorical analysis, and also beneficial for me to see their process.  The groups generally started making lists of rhetorical strategies, but needed to be prompted by me when I visited them to consider how these items are contributing to the reader’s feelings about the central ideas. . . or to really define the central ideas.  This speaks to the learning curve of recognizing that the structural elements, diction, figurative language, etc., all work together to develop central ideas, and that is the only real reason to focus on them—a movie maker could try all kinds of camera angles, colors, set designs, music, etc., but if they aren’t all toward a single effect it will likely be a bad, confusing movie.  This has been an on-going discovery for me in shifting to the grades 11-12 part of the common core—that the students in this class (advanced students) are really good at picking out individual parts—at getting things “right”—but aren’t as good at seeing the bigger picture that makes each text unique. 

Establishing the central ideas kick-started the mapping process for students, and sent the discussions of rhetoric in a very good direction, as was the checklist.  There was a lot of good discussion and debate among the students on how to show what the author was doing rhetorically—which led to some deeper understanding of the rhetorical concepts.  For example, the group who read an article “My Zombie, Myself:  Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead” by Chuck Klosterman chose to depict the writer’s notion of the Zombies being like relentless emails and annoying responsibilities by creating a round-about where all the roads lead, but with no outlet.  Another group had a series of "Anaphora Lanes" that looked the same to show how the author used that device frequently in the writing, and another built a Wall Street-like structure to depict the central idea of "Facebook Friendonomics" by Scott Brown as facebook friends becoming like money to people.   Coming to these kinds of decisions took a lot of discussion and going back into the text to review what the writer was doing, and a frequent reflection on the central ideas (as well as reminders by me to do so!)--it has been, I think, a valuable three days of digging into rhetoric, and I'm looking forward to their final presentations.

  Rigor: Valuable Process and Assessment
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Creating a Road Map of Rhetoric Days 2-4

Unit 10: Deepening Rhetorical Analysis
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: SWBAT create a visual representation of an author's use of rhetoric in developing central ideas by collaborating on developing a rhetorical road map.

Big Idea: Creating a visual representation of ideas can deepen our understanding of the ideas themselves.

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