Unit 1: Reading America

  • Rhetorical Analysis of “Snowy Day” Nike Ad

    Materials: Questions to Ask When Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis, list of cognitive biases. YouTube video. With the whole class, watch the first three minutes of the video, which show the Nike ad without the analysis.  Ask them how the commercial makes them feel before you begin analysis of how these feelings are created. Pass out dialectical notebook…

  • Rhetorical Analysis of “The World is Yours”

     Materials: Official music video of Nas’s “The World is Yours,” slideshow “The World is Yours.”  The slideshow will give students essential backstory on this video, including the fact that “the world is yours,” is a recurring refrain of Tony Montana, the violent protagonist of the movie Scarface, who was willing to attain power and privilege by…

  • Everything Is an Argument

    Optional materials: slideshow “Everything is an Argument,” Understanding Analysis handout. I use the actual textbook, Everything is an Argument, but it’s not necessary to do so as you can discuss the book’s essential argument without reference to the book itself.  The first slide in “Everything is an Argument” lists artifacts and asks students to explain what…

  • Introducing Yourself to Different Audiences

    Encourage rhetorical awareness by asking students to introduce themselves twice, adjusting their introductions for different audiences. For the first introduction, they’ll follow standard protocol, introducing themselves to their actual peers. They’ll give their pronouns, say where they’re from, what their interests are, what they’re interested in studying, etc. For the second introduction, they’ll pretend they’re…

  • Introducing Yourself, Two Truths & a Lie 

    Objective: Students get to know one another while also gaining awareness of their rhetorical decisions.       Everyone takes a few minutes to write a paragraph that describes two things they want (anything from a mocha Frappuccino to a specific career is fair game) and one thing they definitely don’t want but that their peers might think that…

  • Rhetorical Context: National Values

    Materials: Slideshow of contemporary U.S. advertisements for analysis. YouTube video of Japanese advertisements. You may also want to provide students with the handout “Questions to Ask When Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis.” Objective: Students make connections between what an audience values and the rhetorical strategies rhetors use to appeal to them.   Whole class discussion: Think of the national…

  • Culture Jamming

      Culture jamming (also called “subtervising”) is a form of protest that uses rhetorical savvy to draw attention to the faults of social institutions or to their manipulation of consumers. Culture jammers are inspired by the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, which described the power of mass media and advertising to shape society’s norms,…