Lesson Four


Lesson 4:  Rhetorical Devices and Syntax 

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will analyze a speech for effective use of rhetorical devices and varied syntax.   

Resources or Materials Needed:

·         Word cloud made from the Wordle web tool and the text of MLK’s speech. 

·         Copies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”  Speech

·         Computer with Internet Access

·         Edmodo site prepared with posts for discussion responses.

·         Multimedia Projector

·         Document Camera

·         Copies of  Rhetorical Device and Syntax Speech Evaluation Sheet

·         Handouts on Passive Vs. Active Voice

Lesson Objective:

Given a transcript of a publically delivered speech, students will accurately identify a minimum of five rhetorical devices.

Given a paragraph, students will identify with 100% accuracy passive voice sentences and revise to active voice.. 


Time: One hour


Pre-instructional Strategies

·         Students will sign on to a computer workstation and answer the questions provided on an Edmodo home page to  include the questions:

a.       What do you know about Martin Luther King’s speech that contains the famous words, “I have a dream.”

b.      What kind of literary devices can be helpful when writing a speech? Give an example that has not been used yet in the discussion thread.

Possible responses include:  oxymoron, hyperbole, allegory, repetition, allusion   

·         The teacher will facilitate a discussion from the postings made to Edmodo. 


Content Presentation:

·         As students discuss the Edmodo postings, the teacher will interject examples of speech situations or topics where each device would be effective.

·         The teacher will add any missing ideas and discuss their effective use.

·         The teacher will use the documents camera to project the Wordle made with the text of MLK’s speech.  And ask students to make some conclusions about the tone, mood and focus of the speech.

·         The teacher will distribute copies of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. 

·         Using the document camera the teacher will point out the use of literary and rhetorical devices used in the speech.

·         Students will in small groups identify rhetorical/literary devices used in the speech. 

·         A representative from each group will use the document camera to show where they identified literary devices.

·         The teacher will show the online video that explains passive and active voice. 

·         The teacher will demonstrate how to change passive voice to active voice.

Learner Participation:

·         Students will identify sentences for active or passive voice.  Students will change passive voice sentences to active voice. 

·         Students will display their sentence revisions on the document camera and explain their answers.



·         Assess students’ work on active and passive voice for understanding.  

Follow-through Activities:

·         For home work students will find passive voice sentences in Dr. King’s speech and revise them to active voice.