In high school, the ELA Common Core Standards require students to develop formal writing skills, creating essays and arguments that are well-thought-out and syntactically varied. They also require students to effectively use persuasive writing strategies to defend a claim or point of view. The ability to dissect and validate, or debunk, other arguments is key to strong persuasive writing. This requires a basic working knowledge of rhetoric. A great way to enhance students' understanding of effective arguments is to teach the Aristotelian concepts of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Students can then identify and analyze the effectiveness of these strategies in a work of literature, a speech, or a letter.
The Declaration of Independence was written to officially announce the colonies’ break-up with England; however, it also needed to formally outline why they had done so not only to King George III, but also to the citizens of the colonies and to the world. It needed to be clear, show that all steps had already been taken to avoid this, and persuade the people that this was the right decision. Have students examine the text and come up with quotes from throughout the document of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos rhetoric. Have students illustrate these examples in a storyboard.
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
Type of Activity: The Rhetorical Triangle: Ethos, Pathos, LogosCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows examples of ethos, pathos, and logos from the Declaration of Independence.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
The elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are correctly identified and depicted, and an appropriate quote or summary is provided. There are at least 2 examples provided for each rhetorical element.
Most of the elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are correctly identified and depicted, and an appropriate quote or summary is provided. There are at least 2 examples provided for each rhetorical element.
The elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are incorrectly identified and depicted. Quotes and summaries may be missing or too limited. Only one example may have been provided for each rhetorical element.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are accurate to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be accurate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion, or may be too limited.
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.
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