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Designing Better Education Blog
Highlighting strategies, lessons, and materials I'm working with in class including common core, classroom management, new books, theories, and philosophies, as well as specific assignments and activities.
The Mysteries of
8th Grade English Revealed
Clear, precise writing and speaking are reflections of a mind that thinks logically and clearly. In this course you will develop an analytical mind by using various strategies, texts, and projects that push you to examine friends, families, lives and communities in comparison to the texts being studied.
You will analyze everything from the rhetorical techniques in advertising, to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kira-Kira, and To Kill a Mockingbird. We will also use poetry, literary nonfiction, blogs, drama, metaphor, and the hero’s journey pattern through mythology, popular culture, and your own life. We will also examine the evolution of mythology over time, and across cultures with an emphasis on the rhetorical aspects that are meant to influence their societies. You will practice perspective taking to better understand the world from as many points of view as possible, and begin to find your place in it.
Essential questions focus on how communities shape who we become, as well as how internal and external expectations shape how we view ourselves. Writing as an evolutionary process is central to the class and you will be learning revision, vocabulary, and grammar within the context of your own writing.
You will also have an audience as class presentations become central. To move your audience you will make arguments using various rhetorical techniques, you will perform and entertain, give and accept critiques, and rewrite with ambition towards reaching your potential.
Students learn to argue. They study rhetoric and debate, as well as many forms of advertising (from traditional print and television campaigns, to internet, and guerrilla marketing techniques). They look at how the creators of advertisements target an audience, and craft an argument to appeal to that audience, then learn to refute, rebut, and create sturdy arguments and rhetoric of their own. The essential question that will focus our work is "What creates powerful rhetoric?"
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The "Future of Me" Project
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image from Invasion of the Body Snatchers