For the first Action Project in Rhetoric, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How will you apply rhetorical techniques in order to convince others?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

You’ve been hired as a speech writer for a politician who is running in an upcoming election. With an upcoming debate in the near future, you must prepare your boss to respond to a series of questions on an array of current topics. You want your candidate’s responses to appeal to your base of voters, and persuade undecided voters to support your campaign.

Review a list of potential questions your candidate will receive during the debate, and select one for which you will craft a 2-minute response, using the rhetorical devices you have learned about in this Unit.

Click on the speakers at the podium to take a closer look at the students’ speeches.

Project Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1a Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

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Why do certain speeches “work” and so many others do not? Rhetoric supposes that we use language to persuade, challenge and unite, in all aspects of our lives. To awaken to this reality, you will explore how language has been, and might be used to help …

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