ALEX Lesson Plan


Rhetorical Analysis Merry-Go-Round 

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:LaSheree Sanford-Davis
System: Birmingham City
School: Ramsay High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33029


Rhetorical Analysis Merry-Go-Round 


Students will identify the tone of an author in a piece of informational text using group discussion and analysis graphic organizer. Students will identify the rhetorical strategies an author uses and compare his/her responses with other group members in order to determine the tone.   

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
15. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text. [RI.11-12.6]
ELA2015 (11)
31. Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used. [SL.11-12.3]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to analyze the subject, speaker, audience, exigence, and the tone of a piece of informational text.   

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student copies of What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Ron Clark.


Merry-Go-Round Graphic Organizer (Attached)

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive Whiteboard 

Music Player 


This lesson should be used after students have been introduced to rhetoric and rhetorical strategies. 

  • Create four learning stations in the classroom (or hallway, if available). For each station, place a label for the area: Subject, Speaker, Audience, Exigence
  • Create a central station for the label: Tone 



1. At the beginning of class, guide students in a discussion on the topic "What is the true purpose of education?" Ask students to compare the denotation of the word with his/her own definition. Allow students to write a article.     

2. Allow the students to read the article aloud. Instruct students to annotate the writing by looking for textual evidence of the writer's tone.

3. Divide the students into four groups and give each group member a copy of the Rhetorical Analysis Merry-Go-Round graphic organizer.

4. Assign each group to a station or Merry-Go-Round "pony".  

5. Instruct students that they will, with their group members, move from "pony" to "pony" as the music changes. Students are to discuss the strategy with the group members and record notes on the group discussion.

6. As each group completes discussion, the group should report to the last station and write one word which identifies the overall tone of the article.  

7. When all groups have completed the last station, have all students refer to the board for words and ideas that can be used for writing a rhetorical analysis essay that explains the author's tone.

8. Have students work as a group to write a rhetorical analysis paragraph which uses textual evidence to explain the author's overal tone.     

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Assessment Strategies

Formative assessment while students are participating in group discussion.  

Formative assessment from handout completion

Rhetorical analysis paragraph


Have students write a response to the article using a tone opposite of the author's tone.

Have students interview one of his/her parents asking "What is it that parents really want to tell teacher?"


Students needing extra assistance will be instructed to refer to the rhetorical accurate verb and tone word list for help with developing ideas for writing.

Students needing assistance may use the Precis' template for guidance.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.