Poem A Day:
You won’t have to ask, but go ahead: Ask the students how they “feel.”
The objective today: Students will understand how nonfiction writers use rhetoric to persuade readers to think a certain way or to act.
For today’s lesson, I stuck to the basics- many of these students have zero background knowledge about rhetoric (the art of persuasion).
I defined the types of rhetoric on the white board and then showed various examples of each. It’s a pretty straight-forward lesson, but the kids love it if you pick good videos.
For Pathos, we discussed the emotions we feel that are strong enough to compel us to act, (fear, hate, love) and discussed how each of the following ads evoked those emotions in the viewer (music, graphics, imagery, suspense, word choice, etc.).
And, finally, of course: (cue the water works).
For Ethos, I gave some examples off of the top of my head (I may or may not have made up a story wherein Ben Roethlisberger takes NyQuil in order to prepare for the big game).
Finally, for Logos, we watched some mac vs. pc ads. There are lots of fun things to choose from out there.
Next, I modeled for students how I found rhetoric in my nonfiction novel for my “capturing reality” project.
I made sure to emphasize that I found a lot of evidence that the writer of my book, Dave Eggers, spent nearly 200 pages of his book estabilishing Zeitoun’s credibility as a loving husband and father, a hard worker, a responsible member of his community, and most importantly, a heroic and brave man. I told them that I thought this was intentional, and it was ethos-
I discussed the several moments Zeitoun has where he is feeding dogs and then thinks about what happens to them once he is captured and can no longer take care of them. The anecdotes about dead dogs? Pathos.
This tied the whole lesson together. I cannot stress the importance of modeling your thinking and reading for students. This is how they learn to do it.
Next students had time to delve into their books and look for ethos, pathos or logos.
I reminded students to read their books, and continue brainstorming ideas for their projects.