Thursday, November 29, 2012

Satire and Political Cartoons

Hi, class! I'm sorry that neither I nor Ms. Lowman are here today (I'm sick, she has a family emergency), but what I've got you doing is what we would have been doing anyway. Please make sure to read the Pages tab on our class on My Big Campus because it has instructions on everything you are to do today.

We are beginning a unit on satire, and political cartoons are one form of satire. Take a minute to look up the definition of satire, then look closely at the political cartoons below. In order to fully understand a political cartoon, you must understand the issue behind the image and then you can determine what/who specifically is being ridiculed or scorned. For the two political cartoons, I'd like you to answer the following questions:
  1.  What is the issue the cartoonist is ridiculing (you might have to research the news from last week a bit if you didn't watch/listen then)?
  2. What or who is specifically being ridiculed or scorned?
  3. What is it that the cartoonist wants you, the reader, to think about with this cartoon?
  4. Who is the specific audience these cartoons are targeting?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can Protest Candidates Win?

Read this article: Charles Darwin Got 4000 Votes in Georgia

What do you think?  If you could have written anyone in for the election, who would you have put and why?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who Should Be Our President?

Which candidate should win and why?  Give 3 substantial reasons to convince me to agree with you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's going on?

Go to one of these websites, pick and article that is interesting to you (it must be about politics!) and tell us about it.

It's All Politics: NPR
News and Politics- Slate

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Read this article: Who will do more?

This ad aired 2 days ago and is still on the air.  If he knows that it's not factually true, why doesn't Romney pull the ad?  Why make it in the first place?  Did you believe the ad before reading the article about it?  Why do politicians tell blatant lies, especially since there are so many people who can, and will, get the facts out?  At this point in the campaign, does it even matter that the ad isn't true?

Thursday, October 25, 2012



Write about one thing that made you think from the reading.  It could be something that you liked, didn't like, surprised you...anything that elicited a reaction.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Debate! Debate! Debate!

For those of you that watched the debate last night, I hope you learned something about each candidate.  For those of you that did did watch it, now is your chance to catch up to speed.

If you watched the debate, read these two articles and answer the following questions: The 2012 Presidential Debate Awards and Facts Got Bent Again in Last Debate.

What did you think about the debate?  What did you learn, if anything, about each candidate?  Do you have any other "awards" for this debate? i.e. What was your favorite part about the debate?  Favorite line?  Were you surprised by the amount of facts the candidates got wrong or spun?

If you didn't watch the debate, read these articles about it and answer the following questions: Minute-by-Minute Presidential Debate HighlightsFacts Got Bent Again in Last Debate, and The 2012 Presidential Debate Awards

Summarize three key points from the debate.  What was each candidate's position on them?  What did you learn about each candidate?  Were you surprised by the amount of facts the candidates got wrong or spun?

Monday, October 22, 2012

This I Believe Podcasts

Click on each student's name below to hear his/her This I Believe podcast. I'm so proud of the work they've done on these important statements of belief!

For the rest of this fabulous class who chose not to post your podcast--it's not too late to change your mind and let the world hear your voices!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Facts. Do We Need Them?

Read the following articles: Facts do Matter in Politics and Do Debate Fact-Checkers Matter? Not So Much

What do you think?  Do facts matter in politics?

State the Facts

You don't need to read the entire thing, but you do need to read at least five of the lies Obama and Romney said and what the facts are.

Then answer the following questions:
1. Why don't politicians tell the truth?
2. If I didn't have you read the article, would you have bothered to find out any of the facts?
3. If you watched the debate, does this change the way you thought about it?  Did you catch yourself falling for some of the traps Unspun warned us about?  Why or why not?
4. If you didn't watch the debate, are you glad you didn't since so many lies or half-truths were told?  Would you have believed the lies if you had heard them in the debate?  Why or why not?
5. If politicians are not going to tell the whole truth, why have debates?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Are Politics Important?

stock vector : The US White House

Should we care about politics?  Why or why not?  Do people have to responsibility in a democracy to be politically informed, even if they are ineligible to vote?

After answering the post, take this survey:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Let's get informed!

Look to the menu on the right. Click on 'NPR--National Public Radio'. Search around and find an article or broadcast that is of interest to you, then read or listen (remember that this is a radio news program, so much of what you read can be transcripts from a news segment, which is not something we're used to reading--but you CAN listen!).

1. Provide a link to the article/broadcast.
2. Summarize the content (2-4 sentences).
3. Comment on what you heard. This can be 100% conversational, just keep in mind your audience and differences in beliefs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is it about the price tag?

After reading and discussing "College is a Waste of Time and Money", what are your thoughts? Does Caroline Bird make a compelling argument? Do you see her perspective? If you don't agree with her, were you able to be open-minded to her perspective and at least consider it, even momentarily? Share your thoughts.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is it all in the eyes?

Read the two articles. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Free write about the image above for 10 minutes. No stopping until the timer goes off.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Look at the menu bar on the right. Click on the New York Times link. Go to the Education page. Scroll through the articles and find one that is interesting to you. Read it and tell us about it. What was the topic? Why do we need to know about it? What are your thoughts/reflections after reading it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Then answer the following questions:
  1. What is the author's (John Dickerson) argument?
  2. What evidence does he use as support?
  3. What does he want his audience to do?
  4. Were you persuaded? Why or why not?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Read over the following webpages to get ideas on what an argument essay really is:

Sample Argument Essay outline

Schools should require students to wear uniforms.

School uniforms improve student discipline. School uniforms build a sense of community. School uniforms provide equity among students of different socioeconomic circumstances.

Claim + Arguments = 3 Point Thesis:
Schools should require students to wear uniforms because they improve student discipline, build a sense of community, and provide equity among students of different socioeconomic circumstances.

Evidence for argument #1:
School corporation ABC's data shows that student discipline referrals decreased by 40%.

Evidence for argument #2:
Sociological study by DEF shows that students who wear their team's colors on the day of a game feel a closer connection to the team than students who do not.

Evidence for argument #3:
XYZ University's study of school uniforms costs determined that the average cost of a school uniform was $3.50 less than a self-selected outfit per outfit.

Before the beginning of class on Wednesday, you must have the above completed for your own essay. Please post below.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Journal 9/20

Think about the past week. What kinds of interactions did you have where you had to/tried to persuade others to your way of thinking or acting? List all of the interactions you can remember--even the small and insignificant ones. Then select one interaction and describe the persuasive tactics you used in your attempt to persuade (name the tactics if you can).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Journal 9/14

The news is erupting right now regarding protests that are occurring throughout the Middle East regarding an anti-Islam film made in the United States. Read/watch the articles and/or videos on these webpages. As you are watching/reading, take notes on the specific language used by each website. Do any of them feel biased? If so, what is the bias and how do you know? Do you feel like you have a better perspective of the issue now that you have visited multiple sites? What would your perspective have been if you only went to one?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Journal 9/12

What kinds of issues/topics/ideas are you interested in reading about/studying? I have a few units in mind, and I'd like your feedback on them, but I'd also like for you to share your own ideas. My goals for each of these units is to explore the concept/theme from varying perspectives and through a variety of texts (novels, essays, news articles, op-ed articles, film, visual texts) in order for you to analyze their rhetorical strategies and to make your own arguments about these ideas.

Your feedback is important to me and will drive the content off this class, so please take this conversation seriously (in essence, you are conversing with me via this blog response since I am not in class to have this conversation in person today (home sick, but will be back tonight for Open House)).

My ideas:
  • How humans of different races and ethnicities relate--exploration of racism today in the U.S., in South Africa (apartheid), ethnic genocides around the world, etc. I'm interested in exploring why it happens, if we ever truly successfully co-exist, what people have done to overcome, etc.  
  • How humans survive--exploration of a modern day Bubonic Plague scenario, what people do to save others, stories of the actual Bubonic Plague, to what ends will people go to save themselves.
  • How are we, in this culture, "spun" with all of the media messages sent our way--exploration of how we make decisions about products, schools, our lives, based on the bombardment of information we are presented with every day, a sort of critical look at our mass consumption society.
  • Are we a healthy nation--exploration of food and our relation to it, Fast Food Nation, The Jungle, Super Size Me, Animal Vegetable Miracle, is food just food.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Journal 9/10

Our decisions about social and political issues are often influenced by what we hear, see, and read in the news.  In political cartoons, cartoonists have the opportunity to exaggerate objects and people to call attention to a particular point of view.  Look at the cartoon above and answer the following questions:

  • What is the subject?
  • Identify the symbols.  What do they mean?  Are any of them commonly used in the media?
  • Look at the caricatures.  What is exaggerated?  Who does the character in the cartoon represent?
  • What is the issue being addressed? (Keep in mind that the cartoon was made in March 2011 before nominees were decided.)
  • What conclusions does the cartoonist want the reader to reach?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Journal 9/6

Finding the right word is not always an easy task, so I would like you to practice using the right word in the right situation. Below is a list of synonyms for the word friend. Think about the subtle differences between each word and each word's connotation(s) (the emotional, social, or other implications of a word). Then, for each word, describe a situation in which you would use what word.
              • companion
              • buddy
              • acquaintance
              • colleague
              • playmate
              • confidante
              • compatriot

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Journal 9/4

Select one of the following word pairs and write a response in which you discuss and elaborate on the distinctions between the words in each pair you have chosen. Consider how, when, where, why, and by whom each word is likely to be used.
  • art...craft
  • faith...creed
  • imaginative...fanciful
  • instrument...tool
  • lady...woman
  • religion...cult
  • terrorist...revolutionary

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Journal 8/28

Briefly describe the TED video you watched: title, speaker, content, and intended audience (include the link if you can). What were your thoughts? Was the speaker convincing? Why? Why not?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Journal 8/24

"Rhetoric is what we have instead of omniscience." -Ann Berthoff
What does this mean? Read through your peers responses to what rhetoric is, grapple with what you know, and give a thoughtful explanation of this quote.

Identity Crisis?

Who are we? What are exploring? How do we want to present this blog to the world?
WHAT should be title this blog?

What is Rhetoric

Rhetoric is a way of getting people to think a certain way. An author can persuade the audience to take his/her new point of view by using rhetoric. One of the most common form of rhetoric seen today are commercial or ads. Producers are trying to make consumers believe that they should buy the product. Almost everything, seen or heard, is some form of rhetoric because the source put their ideas into it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Rhetoric is the is a form of writing to persuade the audience based on a certain subject. Rhetoric uses complex or elaborated language to effectively influence people as well. Everything in society has some form of rhetoric trying to persuade the audience into one way of thinking. For instance commercials are prime examples of trying to persuade someone to buy a product or think a certain way. Rhetoric is a great tool for writing, it helps get the point across with logic and intelligence to back up what is being said.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What is rhetoric, really?

Conduct some research. Read the handout. Find out some general information. Synthesize it and give me your best stab at what rhetoric really is.