High School
Cross-Curricular

From SuperSize Me to 180 Degrees South: Documentary Films are Fantastic!

Sneak Peak: Expose your students to rhetoric by studying documentary film. This collection includes information about rhetorical language and clips to use in your teaching. After seeing these clips, students will soon suggest documentaries for the class to analyze and enjoy - I guarantee it!
A Collection By Melissa Mirabello
  • 7 Collection Items
  • 7 Collection Items
  • Discussion
From SuperSize Me to 180 Degrees South: Documentary Films are Fantastic!
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Students enjoy watching this clip of a surfer riding the waves. Prior to watching, I discuss the purpose of 180 degrees South as a documentary. We talk about how the environment is portrayed in the media and their own feelings about the environment. I ask them on a scale of 1-10 how important nature is in their lives. We share stories about our experiences in nature.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Prior to showing the clip for #7 (below), I review this handout with students. I ask them to think about the most powerful scenes they have seen in a documentary - what do they remember from "Bowling for Columbine" or "Sicko"? If they haven't watched a documentary, what visual do they remember from the last newscast they viewed?
  • ride.ri.gov
    ride.ri.gov

    Creative Writing and Rhetoric

    5 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    I use this resource to teach my students about the power of language. Each student creates a scenario (with topic, audience, message, and tone details). They switch scenarios and write a radio advertisement to "sell" the scenario. For example, one student writes topic: smoking, audience: young adults, message: don't smoke, tone: angry. The other student creates the 30-second radio ad and they then share out loud. They love this activity.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Start the movie at 44:19, and play through 46:43. During this time, I have students take notes on how director Morgan Spurlock uses ethos, pathos, logos, and rhetorical argument to display the pervasiveness of fast food advertising in a child's life. We then share notes out loud and discuss his techniques, asking "Why do these techniques work when adults know that fast food is unhealthy?"
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Students love learning about fallacies. This page lists the different types of fallacies that students will see/hear in advertisements, marketing, and by politicians. After learning them, students are assigned the task of watching commercials, reading print advertisements and/or listening to politicians and then presenting the fallacies in these media forms.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    I use this resource to teach my students about visual rhetoric. I ask my students to find a website or social media app that is visually appealing and/or convincing. We share these examples in class and then use the "design considerations" and "stepping back" slides to discuss/analyze them. Eventually, students create their own message and critique it for effect.
  • apcentral.collegeboard.com
    apcentral.collegeboard.com

    What Do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric?

    9 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    Teach your students about the power of persuasion with this AP resource on audience, ethos, pathos, and logos. I have my students pick an argument such as convincing their parents to allow them to drive the family car. They must write a separate paragraph argument for each appeal: pathos, ethos, and logos. Kids enjoyed the activity. Share aloud in class.