A Rhetorical Approach to Teaching Fiction in the Middle School Language Arts Curriculum

A Rhetorical Approach to Teaching Fiction in the Middle School Language Arts Curriculum

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In an effort to improve college readiness, collaboration between Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) and San Diego State University (SDSU) led to the development of a rhetorically-based curriculum, which improved ELA instruction yet left some educators concerned that expository texts were displacing literary texts. Out of this concern grew the impetus for this rhetorically-based middle school curriculum that utilizes both fiction and expository texts. This thesis project demonstrates how a rhetorical approach to middle school curriculum can be used with both fictional and expository texts with two thematically link units based on the Common Core State Standards. Unit one addresses society's use of technology, first through the lens of Isaac Asimov's short story Runaround, and then through three expository texts that each address some benefit or concern surrounding society's use of technology. The second unit focuses on the ethical and moral issues surrounding mankind's use of science and technology by first examining two expository texts that highlight controversial advances, such as qdesigner babiesq and qtechnological augmentationsq designed to enhance athletic performance, before delving into Daniel Keyes novel Flowers for Algernon that describes the consequences of an experimental intelligence enhancing surgery. Although thematically linked to engage students in an extended discussion about the topic, the primary work that students are expected to engage in with these texts is rhetorical. With each text, including the literary text, students are expected to identify the main claim and evaluate the evidence used to support the claim as well as to analyze the significant rhetorical strategies employed by the author. In addition to the unit plans, I have also compiled a list of rhetorical terms that offers definitions, examples, and a brief discussion of the importance of the terms that are most meaningful to secondary teachers and students. The purpose of this list is to help ward off any confusion about closely related or easily confused terms while encouraging a discussion of their significance, such as the benefits and risks of employing a particular strategy, and how a strategy potentially impacts the intended audience. While this project was designed with SUHSD in mind, and specifically mentions the development of a rhetorically-based curriculum within this district, the structure and pedagogy of the unit plans, including the list of rhetorical terms, would be useful in any secondary school setting.Although thematically linked to engage students in an extended discussion about the topic, the primary work that students are expected to engage in with these texts is rhetorical.


Title:A Rhetorical Approach to Teaching Fiction in the Middle School Language Arts Curriculum
Author:
Publisher: - 2013
ISBN-13:

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