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?"



Class Overview 2017-18



Lesson Title: Writing DDM 8th Grade: My Creed


Time Frame: 5 Classes


Overview: Students write about a set of rules or creed central to how they approach their lives. This essay is the first assignment of the year, and also given toward at the end of the year. This allows us to gauge students' thinking and writing skills gained so far in their lives, as well as get a sense of how much they grow during the year by comparing the first attempt at the paper vs the attempt later in the year. They will be graded according to the six traits of writing with 3/6 = 100% on each trait, as opposed to the end of the year when students will be graded 6/6 = 100%


My Creed (Teacher Script)


My Creed (student handout)


6 Traits Rubric (revised 2015-16 Fall)


6 Traits Progress Chart (revised 201415)



Lesson Title: A Good Lie?


Time Frame: Two Classes


Overview: Students read "A Good Lie" by Laurel Snyder from the Breakfast on Mars text, and dissect the argument and writing style. Day two we analyze "tone" in both "A Good Lie" and a clip (stop the video just as students get on the bus to avoid some nonsense) from the movie Billy Madison. We then compare and contrast the two texts.


"A Good Lie?" Lesson


Tone Words List


Billy Madison "Peeing Yourself is Cool" video clip



Lesson Title: Imitating Sentences (Activity 14 / Killgallon book)


Time Frame: one class


Overview: Students work in small groups to imitate sentence structures. The class is assigned a sentence to imitate / they work with their group for a few minutes / group work is displayed on the doc cam and talked through / repeat.



Lesson Title: Imitating Sentences In Paragraphs (Activity 15 / Killgallon book)


Time Frame: one class


Overview: Students work in small groups to imitate sentence and paragraph structures. The class is assigned a paragraph to imitate / they work with their group for eight minutes / group work is displayed on the doc cam and talked through / repeat.



Lesson Title: Breakfast on Mars


Duration: Two classes


Overview: Students read two essays that take opposing views of an argument (one on why humans should colonize Mars, and another on why it would be better to explore Mars with robots only). Students then are given prompts to examine tone, as well as the purpose of specific paragraphs, and how the author achieved those goals/purposes. For each prompt groups will share out their ideas to the class.


Materials: Breakfast on Mars (books), Tone Words (handout)


Breakfast On Mars (lesson plan)


Lesson Title: Imitating Sentences In Paragraphs (Activity 20 / Killgallon book)


Time Frame: two or three classes


Overview: Students work in small groups to imitate sentence and paragraph structures. The class is assigned a paragraph to imitate / they work with their group for eight minutes / group work is displayed on the doc cam and talked through / repeat.



Lesson Title: "That's So Gay!" Claim, Evidence, and Audience


Time Frame: One Class


Overview: Students analyze the arguments made in each text, and the audience the argument targets.




"That's so gay!" Lesson Plan


"That's So Gay: Cashiers" PSA (video)


"That's So Gay: Pizza" (video)


"You Can Play" PSA Hockey (video)


"That's So Gay: Basketball Trash Talk" PSA (video)


Lesson Title: Imitating Paragraphs Assessment


Time Frame: One class


Overview: Students are given a single paragraph to imitate the form of, both in sentences and paragraph structure. They choose their own topic, and have one class to do their best. They will be assessed for idea development, word choice, and conventions.


Sentence Structure / Paragraph Structure Assessment


Sentence and Paragraph Structure Rubric




Lesson Title: Subaru - Tone, Theme, and Target


Time Frame: 1 class


Overview: Students analyze two Subaru commercials for tone, theme, and target


Subaru (lesson plan)


Subaru "I'm Sorry" (commercial)


Subaru "Reunion" (commercial)



Lesson Title: Your Free Reading Sequel (Activity 21 - Killgallon)


Time Frame: four classes


Overview: After students finish their free reading book they write the first chapter of a possible sequel to that book.


Day One

  • Plan your sequel. Find evidence you will use from the book to support your predictions, and inferences


Days Two and Three

  • Write your sequel, and conference with instructor. Be prepared to have some of your best lines read aloud


Day Four

  • Finished draft due for workshop. Pieces of sequels will be put on the doc-cam for the world to see, critique, and made better.


Your (Free Reading) Sequel: Narrative Exercise



Lesson Title: Sentence De-Combining


Time Frame: two classes


Overview: Students work with Activity 21 on sentence-decombining to figure out how writers create sentence fluency in their own writing.



Lesson Title: Superfight!!!


Time Frame: Five Classes




Superfight! (lesson plan)


Graphic Organizer (group work)


Graphic Organizer (individual work)


Paragraph Rubric


Peer Critique Checklist






Lesson Title: The Onslaught of Claims and Reasons with Evidence (day one)




Onslaught Lesson Plans (revised 2015-2016)


Onslaught of Claims and Reasons with Evidence (2014-2015 Lesson Plan)



Dove "Onslaught" (commercial)


Nike "Women's Voices" (commercial)


"Like A Girl" (commercial)



Lesson Title: The Onslaught of Claims and Reasons with Evidence (day two)




"Dove: Evolution" (short film)


Dove "Real Beauty Sketches" (short film)


Dove Real Beauty Sketches for Men (satire film)


Lesson Title: Invisible Monkey Tails




Breakfast On Mars (texts)


Invisible Monkey Tails (lesson plan / handout)



Lesson Title: Beautiful Oops and other arguments

Duration: One Class

Overview: Students read Beautiful Oops by Dan Saltzberg and contemplate how they would make each "oops" beautiful, they then deconstruct the book as an argument with claim, reasons, and evidence. Special attention is given to how his conclusion works to sum up and touch back on his main points.

Then students watch the commercial "Women's Voices" by Nike and deconstruct it as a claim, with reasons, and evidence.

Nike "Women's Voices" (commercial)



Lesson: Bigfoot Synthesis Essay


Time Frame: 4 classes


Write an essay comparing the purpose of each text (video, article, and essay). Analyze how each source accomplishes its purpose. Remember to use evidence from the video, the article, and the essay to support your answer  (400-500 words).


Read Sasquatch is Out There (pg 13 Breakfast on Mars) / Watch the Jack Links Messin’ with Sasquatch commercial / Read the mission statement of The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization


Bigfoot Synthesis (handout / breakdown)


the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (document)


Jack Links "Messin with Sasquatch - "Fish Slap" (video)


Jack Links "Messin with Sasquatch - "Need a Ride" (video)



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Lesson Title: The Satire of Victor Hertz and PURPOSE


Time Frame: Two Classes


Overview: Day one students review what satire is, then analyze satiric art pieces by graphic deisgner Victor Hertz to determine what he is satirizing and how. Day two students write an on-demand essay on the article read for homework "Inside the Box: People Hate Creativity"




The Satire of Victor Hertz: Lesson Plan


Honest Logos: The Satire of Victor Hertz (ppt)


"Inside the Box: People Hate Creativity" article (doc)


Lesson Title: Sentence Combining with Sherman Alexie and Dr. King


Duration: one classes


Overview: Students work on sentence fluency by dissecting sentences, and combing them. Students also discuss the purpose of "paragraphing."


Paragraphing and Sentence Fluency (PPT)




Lesson Title: Dr. Martin Luther King and Figurative Language in Argument




MLK Figurative Language Lesson


Dr. King Figurative Language Examples (doc)


Lesson: Disco Rice and Language


Time Frame: two classes


Overview: On day one students work together to define words using context clues, knowledge of roots, suffixes, prefixes, etc. Day two students work in groups to write short essays (#s 2 and 3). They agree on a claim, then use specific evidence (and explain how each piece of evidence supports their claim). After each groups' work is show using the doc-cam, and discussed.

Homework: Students complete SA #4 on their own


"Disco Rice and other Trash Talk" article



Lesson Title: Would You Rather, and Paragraphs


Duration: 3 classes


Overview: Students play the classic game Would You Rather where they are given the choice of arguing for one of two horrible choices. They find a way to defend their position, then write their argument (a single paragraph very focused on going in depth into a single idea) imitating a model paragraph.




Would You Rather write Paragraphs (lesson plan)




Lesson: Outliers - Claims, Reasons, and Evidence


Time Frame - five classes


Overview: Over five classes students will switch between a team debate exercise students will focus on how to support a claim in an argument, and a non-fiction piece where students will analyze how a claim is presented and supported.


On alternating days students will participate in a team “debate” exercise using Would You Rather? card game questions as a starting point. Students will give reasons that their “choice” (which will be assigned to them) is the better of two choices. They will use creative thinking to give reasons, as well as providing examples and evidence to support those reasons, then explaining to their audience the how their reasons / evidence prove their claim.


On alternating days students will analyze the nonfiction piece, Outliers: The Story of Success (excerpts) by Malcolm Gladwell, to see how claims are supported including how evidence is presented and explained.


Team Debate / Outliers Lesson Plans


Team Debate (handout)


Outliers - The Story of Success (excerpts)




Lesson Title: Picturing Counter-Claims


Time Frame: One Class


Overview: Students think about why we like pictures in books, and read an essay that argues that a commonly held belief is wrong. In essence the entire essay is a counter-claim. Special consideration will be given to the conclusion, and how it is constructed.




Breakfast on Mars text - "Warning: This Essay Does Not Contain Pictures" by Scott Westerfeld


"Picturing Counter-claims" lesson plan


Lesson Title: The Future of Me (extra-credit pre-writing)


Time Frame: One Class


Students do pre-writing for a possible extra-credit assignment that uses many of the skills practiced in "The Future of Arnold / Katie" assignment in order to gain points back from that assignment.


"The Future of Me" extra credit instructions


"The Future of Me" extra-credit pre-wrtiting exercise



Lesson Title: Jabberwocky


Time Frame: One Class


Overview: Students read the poem Jabberwocky, and learn a variety of strategies for deciphering unfamiliar words in difficult texts.


Jabberwocky (poem and prompts)



Lesson Title: Dodgeball Pros (and Cons)


Time Frame: Two Classes


Overview: students read two opposing views of the practice of dodgeball in school, analyze each argument, and think about the tone of each piece.




Dodgeball Pros (and Cons) Lesson Plan


Freaks and Geeks - Dodgeball (video)


Position on Dodgeball in Physical Education by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education


The Weak Shall Inherit the Gym by Rick Reilly





Lesson Title: Describing Our Classroom while imitating Of Mice and Men

Duration: One Class

Materials: Green Sentence Composing Books 

Overview: Students work from Activity 18 (pg 56) of Sentence Composing book first to study a description of a room from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, then attempt (in their groups) to imitate the sentence and paragraph structure to describe our own classroom.



[Fill-in Lessons]


Text: Elements of Persuaive Texts (doc)


Text: Comparing Persuaive Texts (doc)


Reading and Writing about Advertising




Rhetoric, Advertising, and Argument: Daily Plans (doc)



Lesson Title: Dads and Ghost Stories




"Be a Man: Manicure" PSA (video)


"Be a Man: Tampons" PSA (video)


"Call of Duty: Ghosts" (video)


"Calvin and Hobbes: Walking Billboard" (cartoon)


Walking Advertisement Homework (doc)



Lesson Title: Brave Makeovers?




Brave (movie trailer)


Brave Merida: Before (image)


Brave Merida: Makeover (images)


Split-Face PhotoShop Satiric Ad by Anna Hill (image)



Lesson Title: The Rhetoric of Fear




"Kill the Beast" Gaston's fear mongering (video)


"The Chinese Professor" political ad (video)


"Obamaville" political ad (video)


"Subaru: Daddy's Little Girl" (video)


"Motivating Emotions" homework (doc)



Lesson Title: Re-Thinking Advertising




The Family Guy "Bugs" (video)


Antz "Product Placement" (video)


Bones "Embedded Advertisement" (video)


Project Runway "Embedded, and Product Placement" (video)


30 Rock "Verizon Product Placement" (video)


Click Bait Satire "The Hunger Games" (image)


Click Bait Satire "To Kill A Mockingbird" (image)


"Hidden Advertising" Homework (doc)



Lesson Title: Creating Counter-Claims (three days)




Creating Counter-Claims



Lesson Title: Nike World



Nike: "Horror Movie" commercial


Nike: "Throwdown" (commercial)


Nike: "The Jogger" (commercial)



Lesson Title: Nike Women, and SOAPSTone Analysis




Art and Copy: Just Do It (documentary clip)


Nike: "Make Yourself" (commercial)


Nike "Women's Voices" (commercial)



Nike and Janet Champ (PPT)


Boston Marathon - Katherine Switzer (pic)


Boston Marathon - Katherine Switzer (short documentary video)



SOAPSTone Strategy (doc)


Tone Words (doc)



Nike Print: "40 Year Old Woman" (image)


Nike Print: "Marilyn Monroe" (image)


Nike Print: "Not Your Mother" (image)


Nike Print: "My Knees" (image)


Nike Print: "My Legs" (image)


Nike Print: "My Thighs" (image)


Nike Print: "Let Me Play" (image)



Lesson Title: Nike Women and SOAPSTone Presentations




SOAPSTone Strategy (doc)


Tone Words (doc)


Nike: "This is Love" (commercial)


Nike: "Make Yourself - Maria Sharapova" (commercial)


Nike: "Not and Athlete?" (commercial)



Lesson Title: Cool Hunting, Guerrillas, and Secret Relationships




Frontline: "Cool Hunting" (video)


"Book Burning" Party (video)


"Carrie" Movie viral / guerrilla marketing (video)


Smoking "Poop vs. Pee" (video)



Lesson Title: Secrets, and Banksy on Advertising




"Banksy on Advertising" PPT



Lesson Title: Writing claims and counter-claims / rebuttals with "Would You Rather?"




"Would You Rather?" PPT



Lesson Title: Sasquatch's Creative Bootcamp




Sasquatch and Creative Bootcamp: Analysis Questions (doc)



Lesson Title: Assessment




"Argue Your Choice" (revised script and prompts)


"Argue Your Choice" essays (original essay prompt and script)


"Argue Your Choice" Six Traits Rubric (doc)


Writing the State of the Union speech (video, 4 min)



Team Debate

Team Debate Structure



Optional Materials X


PSA - Bullying - Not in the Break Room

Nike: "Make Yourself" (commercial)


Search Engine - UnWomen 1 (pic)

Search Engine - UnWomen 4


Forget Your Phone (video)


Facebook "Liking isn't helping" #1 (image)

Facebook "Liking isn't helping" #2 (image)

Facebook "Liking isn't helping" #3 (image)


Bully Bus - Actual Footage - PSA (video)


Abercrombie CEO (image)

Abercrombie - Sort of an apology? (image)

Abercrombie - Letter to the CEO (doc)


Chart the Changes to these Apple Commercials.

How and why do they change the idea of what they're selling?


Apple Think Different 30 sec original ad (video)

Apple Think Different 60 sec original ad (video)

Apple iPod "Breakdance" (video)

Apple iPod "Are you gonna be my girl?" (video)

Apple iPod "Skating" (video)

Apple iPhone 5 "Music Everyday" (video)


Humane Society "Cat / Youtube" ad (image)

Trask Industries: X-Men Days of Future Past (video)

Career Builder - Monkeys at Work

Nascar Fans

Tivo GD64 on Food Network Star - Embed Ads


Nike - Football - Vive

Nike - Find Your Greatness - Olympics

Nike - The Jogger

Nike - Not an Athlete? - Brit


Storyboard to Film Comparison - Nightmare Before Christmas


PSA - Alcoholic - David

PSA - Alcoholic - Lisa

Alcoholic - Bud Beer - Tiny Dancer


Hyundai Workers - Rocky Theme

Phone Innovators


Power of Words - Online Content Specialists

PSA - Textual Harassment

PSA - We Can Help Us

PSA - Online Predators - Too Easy

AT&T Amusement Park Rides at Work (video)

The Story of Bottled Water (video)

COD Black Ops2 - Surprise (video)

COD Modern Warfare 3 - The N00B (video)

PSA Cut - Domestic Violence (video)

PSA Drink and Drive - Through the Looking Glass (video)

Gap Khaki Swing Dancing (video)

Gap Spike Jones - Demolish / Under Renovations (video)

Geico Mutumbo "Not in my house" (video)

Girls Lego ad 1980 for Girls (image)

Girls Up Choices - A Girl's Life In Developing Countries (video)

Girls Goldie Blocks "We Are The Champions" (video)

Anti-Defamation League - Imagine A World Without Hate (video)

TEDx Marketing Food to Children - Anna Lappe (Video)

Mass Mutual "Special Needs" (video)

Liberty Mutual "Anthem"

Nokia "Switch Phones from Apple etc." (video)

20/20 "One Red Paper Clip" Trading Up (video)

Le Trefle "Dear iPad, Paper is Not Dead" (video)

PSA "Disconnect to Connect" Thailand (video)

Verizon - Back to School, Face to Face - Stratosphere Promo (video)

PBS "Long Island Landscapers" satire (video)

Boeing - America's Best

Boeing - Diversity

Boeing - Engineering Technology

Boeing - New Planes

Boeing - Others Dream

Boeing - September 11

Boeing - Support and Protect


Political Attack Ads (Power Point)

Online Predators: So Easy(video)

Textual Harrassment(video)

Girl Scouts: The Sky is Blue(practice video)

Rhetoric of Advertising: Extra-Credit (test re-take)

Fun Theory: Speed Cam Lottery(challenging)

Liberty Mutual: Responsibility(challenging)

Chevy Innovators(average difficulty)

Best Buy - Phone Innovators(average difficulty)

Geico - New Diet Plan(average difficulty)

Read: Tangled(average difficulty)

Boeing - Why We're Here America

Vader Kid's Car Force(average difficulty)


SNL High Fructose Parody (video)


Rhetorical Advertising Unit (original)

Rhetorical Advertising Unit (2012-13)