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Monday, November 6, 2017

Breaking Up: Rhetorically Speaking...

The exhilaration of a new relationship and the world-ending-feeling after a breakup summarize the range of emotions that occur in the daily life of a high school student. The longing for acceptance by self and others is everything as high schoolers gain a better understanding of themselves as a friend, partner, student, and job-worker. What better way to get students interested in Rhetorical Analysis than to compare it to element’s of their everyday life.


To begin, students in English III at Byron Nelson High School deconstructed one of the nation’s oldest break up letters, the Declaration of Independence. They analyzed its literary text structure which included the Preamble (introduction to the conflict which is also the claim), the Declaration (rights and beliefs), a list of grievances (specific complaints), and a counterargument (perspective from the “other side”). Next, student’s scrutinized the popular Country song from Old Dominion called “Break Up with Him” to study the tricky use of sound counterargument.


As a culminating, summative activity, students then wrote their own break up letter using the rhetorical structures and devices they’ve been studying throughout the unit. The lesson objective states “Using “The Declaration of Independence” as a model, you must “declare your independence” from something that is a problem for you: something that makes your life difficult, unhappy, or stressful. This can be a relationship with a person, a problematic object, a bad habit, or even a situation you find yourself in often. You may be as creative as you like!" Once the subject of the essay was chosen, students then had to incorporate the rhetorical appeals of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos and include at least one rhetorical device of choice; furthermore, the location of these literary devices were easily located by color-coding the corresponding statements within their essay.

Breaking Up with Anxiety

Breaking Up With Sugar

Because of its cross-curricular emphasis through incorporating Historical text in conjunction with the relevant, meaningful, and personal context of the assignment, this lesson met multiple objectives outside of the English III, 15A TEK. This meets International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)’s standard of a Creative Communicator (6D) in which “Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.” in addition to being a Knowledge Constructor (3D) in which “Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.”


Additional examples include Breaking Up with Cats and Breaking Up with Loneliness.

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