I have noticed something incredible recently. Students are engaging in academic and political discourse on their own, with little to no prompting or input from teachers. I hear them bringing up the debates in class and around the school, asking around to see who watched them and who they think performed the best.
So, let’s take this microburst of student inquiry and use it to develop their critical analysis skills. Let’s get them to know what it means to “win” a debate. Let’s make them conscious of the rhetorical strategies used by the nominees in order to sway voters. Let’s make them question the bias behind the brief outtakes and highlight reels they may encounter online.
The more we do to support these kids in truly seeing what is in front of them, and using their critical analysis skills to draw conclusions, the better we prepare them to be conscientious citizens of this country....and the better off we’ll be as a result.
After all, these are the same kids who just
two years ago truly believed that
Kanye West should run for president in 2020.
We've come a long way, baby.
The following sites have great activity suggestions and ready-made lesson plans so you can quickly tap into your students' interest and bring their conversations to a higher level.
1. 12 U.S. election resources to use with students now: compiled by Matt Miller on his blog Ditch that Textbook. These lessons range from elementary-high school level, so all students are reached.
2. NY Times Resources for Teaching Election 2016: With links to in-house content, as well as classroom-friendly political websites, this NewYorkTimes Learning Network collection will enable students to conduct in-depth research into a variety of election issue
3. Election Central From PBS LearningMedia: This collection features a little bit of everything: election news, history, and ideas for facilitating classroom debates.
4. Newsela Students Vote 2016: "Use the Students Vote 2016 Teacher Guide featuring issue-specific articles, profiles, biographies, speeches, and op-eds. And all adapted to 5 reading levels .Create a class of informed citizens who understand issues ranging from education and criminal justice to health care and climate change."
5. DIY! Here are some resources for analyzing rhetoric, so you can get your kids closer to knowing what they're talking about. :) These can all be adapted to your content area and adjusted to the level of your students. Front load them with knowledge of rhetoric, throw on some debate footage, and let them get at it!
Rhetoric Intro Presentation- I use this when first introducing the three rhetorical appeals.
Download and change as you see fit.
Rhetorical Appeals Graphic Organizer- An easy way to log instances of rhetoric.
SOAPStone Student Handout- A student-friendly explanation of the analysis tool SOAPStone.
How to write a Rhetorical Analysis- An in-depth overview of how to write a rhetorical analysis
essay, including syntax, diction, and tone, with suggested vocabulary to amp up their writing.
P.S. If you haven't seen it already, the essay prompt on the new SAT requires students to complete a rhetorical analysis, so you are helping them tremendously by covering this. We know exactly what our kids need to be able to do, so let's get busy preparing them to do it.
Have you had success incorporating the election in your classroom? Let us know what worked in your class by commenting below.
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