Rhetorical Analysis Project * Mark Weedman
: Large piece of poster board (1/student), 3x5 index cards (c. 25/students), colored pencils or highlighters.(Note: Colored Post - it Notes are also effective.) If every student had an iPad, that would work too. I also recommend that students listen to lectures from Michael Drout’s “A Way With Words” outside of class as preparation for this project.
: It’s important to note that this lesson plan is scalable. For advanced students, just use a passage that hasa longer, more complicated argument and different rhetorical devices. What I have here is intended for beginningstudents. I rarely get through all of this in three class sessions. 1.Day One: Logic of the Argument. The goal of this session is to help students recognize the way Pauldeploys and develops his argument (for 2011 we’ll do 2 Cor. 4.1 - 12)a.Step 1: Identify the topic of the text. It may be necessary to pay attention to the letter as a wholeand, especially, the section just preceding our session. b.Step 2: Identify the thesis of the argument.
Write this thesis on an index card and outline it in blue so that it can be easily located as the thesis card
.c.Step 3: Identify all of the individual “arguments” that the author uses in the text. (It’s generallyeasiest for beginning students to do this by clause, i.e. each clause = one argument. It’s also easier to give them the text without versification.)
Write each argument on a separate index card.
Students should now organize their index cards on the poster board to show the progression or logic or Paul’s argument
. I have students write the argument out word for word and then try tosummarize it on the same card (this is why index cards are better). Having them use a different pen or color is helpful for keeping track of which is which. For beginning students it’s generallyenough to get them to recognize main arguments and their subordinate arguments. Thus somethinglike this: 2.Day Two: Find the Rhetorical Devices. This lesson is especially scalable. For more advanced students,it is appropriate to introduce more advanced rhetorical devices. I usually keep it fairly simple and tryto introduce students to devices that they will encounter in their text--plus a few more. (There is agoodlist here. Andhere. In addition to those listed there, I always include “tangent,” which is one of Paul’s
favorites.) I proceed by setting up a series of “stations” around the classroom that illustrate a rhetorical device. (Thisusually includes a definition and some examples of that device in practice.) I supply each station with a