Grade: Senior

#4709. Rhetorical Appeals

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted 04/11/2013 by Cinthia Sierra (Cinthia Sierra).
Brownsville Independent School District, Brownsville, U.S.A.
Materials Required: Computer with speakers, Internet, Magazines, Scissors, Writing Utensil, Highlighters, Video Camera
Activity Time: Two Weeks
Concepts Taught: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Lesson Steps (Activities)
1. Give an overall explanation of Aristotle's rhetorical appeals and how they work together.
2. Allow students to write notes on their triangle sheet while you, the teacher, act out current commercials that emphasize each appeal as its primary appeal.
3. Show several youtube videos of more commercials that appropriately use all three rhetorical appeals. If need be, choose commercials in different languages.
4. Together, read Sojourner Truth's speech "Ain't I a Woman" and ask and discuss each rhetorical appeal as a class.
5. To see if they understood what you discussed, give them Abraham Lincoln's letter to his son and have the students pair up and try to find, highlight, and label the appeal while writing about its effect.
6. Have students listen to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech while they follow along in their textbook and then allow them to work in groups to identify appeals and their effect on the public.
7. Discuss how these appeals are also present in ads. Make copies of an ad and discuss the purpose, primary and secondary appeals, along with the ads intended audience.
8. Have students choose their own ad and mimic what you just did as a class.
9. Then, review commercials and have students identify the appeals.
10. Have students choose a commercial at home that they would like to present a synopsis for along with its successful use of rhetorical appeals.
11. Finally, group students accordingly and assign the commercial project: where students design a product or organization they wish to promote. Eventually, have them work on the script that they will act out while they film. Once the commercial is complete, they will share with the rest of the class.
A. Hook
After giving a brief definition to the students of each appeal, I like to immediately and fully animated act out several common commercials that apply to each appeal in order to activate their prior knowledge, help them make connections, as well as generate interest in the lesson. For example, for pathos I pretend I am a puppy who is hurt without a home while the "In the Arms of the Angel" song plays in the background. I do the same for the other appeals and even explain how they all work together in every one of those commercials as well.

B. Teacher Input (I do)
On the board, I draw a triangle and write all three rhetorical appeals along with a definition after giving an example for each. I show several commercials that show all rhetorical appeals being used appropriately and we have a whole class discussion of the appeals being used. If need be, I show a commercial in a different language for my emergent or intermediate bilinguals.
I also use one of the speeches, in this case, "Ain't I a Woman" and read it to the class and discuss the rhetorical appeals together.
I also show several examples of commercials and ads so that the students grasp the idea that these appeals are used throughout different types of media and literature.

C. Check for Understanding
To check for understanding, students read the letter to his son by Abraham Lincoln and try to find one example of each rhetorical appeal; they highlight and label the appeal, then they explain the effect in a couple of sentences.

Students also choose a magazine ad and find each appeal along with its effect. They then discuss the entire purpose of the ad, including the targeted audience, major appeal, secondary appeals, and overall purpose.

D. Grouping (We do)
In a group, students listen and read Dr. King's speech and identify the appeals together. They not only find an example of each, but also describe the effect it had to the public. Conduct a class discussion.

E. Independent Practice (you do)
For homework, students watch television and choose a commercial they feel is appropriate in terms of its ethos, pathos, and logos. They write a synopsis of the commercial and an example of each appeal. They then share with the class the following day.

F. Closure
As a final project, students gather into groups of three and come up with a product or organization they would like to persuade others to purchase or join. They collaborate on a script that includes all three rhetorical appeals and decide on important stage directions and camera shots. Afterwards, students act and film their commercial which they then share with the rest of the class.

At the end of it all, I congratulate everyone on their hard work and remind them about the effect of these persuasive rhetorical appeals. I let them know that they are all around us, and it is important for us to recognize them in order to make wise consumer decisions or simply analyze literature more critically.