Speech Writer for a Day

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.

A Nation's Argument: An integrated, project-based high school class

A Nation’s Argument

A Nation’s Argument integrates historical and global revolutions and nation-forming with the language and logic skills needed to develop and sustain an argument. By anchoring our investigation in the birth of the United States and learning the structure and language of argument, you will explore the life of the nation within and beyond these borders as a powerful idea–one which was carefully and logically crafted, yet continues to be challenged and transformed. In doing so, you will also deepen your understanding of yourself as a citizen as you evaluate the arguments that shape our ever-evolving national identity, and those of our brothers and sisters in countries around the world.

Policy: A High School Humanities Course

Policy

Policy informs students how to use both rhetoric and argument to agree on a common good, so that living together is sustainable and nurturing. In this course, you will study the decades-long civil rights movement in the U.S. and international social justice struggles, examining the process and different roles by which policies – for better or worse—come into being as you pursue the question: What does it take to make policy (for the common) good?

Rhetoric: An integrated, project-based high school class

Rhetoric

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 us powerfully and clearly articulate our viewpoints. As you study how the earliest Americans manipulated language as conquerors, colonists, and revolutionaries, you will become skilled in analyzing and manipulating language in order to articulate and achieve your own aims. These domestic examples will be juxtaposed with international case studies to strengthen your sense of global awareness, identity, and possibility.

policy

Resolutions- A Policy Online Installation

For the Policy Course, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we contextualize the need for a policy?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

The city’s aldermen have put out a call for resolutions regarding places in the city that need urgent attention regarding the issues of housing, infrastructure, and basic services.

For the resolutions, the aldermen request explanatory papers that focus on the problems, presenting research and relevant data, as well as at least 3 pictures illustrating the issue.

The idea is not to share solutions, but to call the attention to urgent issues, which will be reviewed by a group of aldermen and, then, prioritized and brought to an open forum at later dates.

Please click on the images of different neighborhoods on the North Side of Chicago in the map below. And leave a comment about what resolution you would wish to pass in your own neighborhood.

 

Alignment with Common Core Standards

Writing Standards

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.

a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

Speaking and Listening Standards

SL 11-12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well- reasoned exchange of ideas.

b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision- making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

Reading Standards for Informational Text

RI 11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RI 11-12.8: Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

“I Have a Dream” Speeches – an Online Installation

For the second Argument Action Project, GCE Juniors students investigated the following guiding question:

What is the most persuasive way to share your dreams?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to hundreds of thousands when he shared his dream with others in 1963. You may get there eventually, but today’s Action project starts smaller. Just over fifty years later, Echoing MLK down through history, you will share your dream for your world by writing and performing it publicly with rhetorical skill. Just as MLK joined tens of other speakers at the March on Washington, join your classmates and youth everywhere participating in Mikva Challenge’s Project Soapbox. All students were invited to join youth from everywhere to participate in the Mikva Challenge, by writing speeches addressing a change they wish to see in the world.

Please find below the online installation we created, featuring the video of the students’ speeches. Please click on TVs to view each speech.

National Standards:

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.