ALEX Lesson Plan


The President's Great Idea

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  This lesson provided by:  
System: Birmingham City
School: Birmingham City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33224


The President's Great Idea


In remembering President Kennedy's death, his quote, "A man may die. nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on," has become the theme for this year's celebration.  Banners with the end of that quote are hanging on street corners all over Boston, Massachusetts.  The JFK Library has a number of good resources reflecting on Kennedy's life.  This lesson may will address rhetorical strategies he used in his inaugural address in 1961.  This reading can come to life and address some good writing.

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

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.11-12.2]
ELA2015 (11)
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.) [RL.11-12.4]
ELA2015 (11)
5. Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact. [RL.11-12.5]
ELA2015 (11)
10. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RI.11-12.1]
ELA2015 (11)
13. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in The Federalist No. 10). [RI.11-12.4]
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)
24. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information. [W.11-12.6]
ELA2015 (11)
25. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. [W.11-12.7]

Local/National Standards:

College Board: Analyze and interpret samples of good
writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques; write for a variety of purposes; move effectively through the stages of the writing process with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, revising, editing, and review; analyze image as text; and evaluate and incorporate reference documents into research papers.                                              

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will identify rhetorical strategies used for persuasion in famous documents and learn to use them in their writings as well.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Handouts of the inaugural speech

A vocabulary list of rhetorical strategies used for persuasion with definitions and spaces for examples.




Technology Resources Needed:


The teacher should retrieve President Kennedy's Inaugural address and peruse it observing the rhetorical strategies.  Add to the list should you find anymore.  Listen to and watch the video, noticing dignitaries the students may not be familiar with.  Be sure the volume is at its best quality for listening. Give the students an opportunity to get into their groups and share their discovering ideas regarding the ways Kennedy tries to persuade the country. Fifteen to twenty minutes should be enough time for the children to come to a conclusion about the strategies, Divide the strategies among the groups and have each one discuss their findings to the whole group.



1. Define the terms on the vocabulary and examples list.

2. Read and annotate the speech.

3. Listen to and watch the video.

4. Divide class into groups.

5. Complete the example sheet.

6. Have each group discuss their findings using examples from the text with the assistance of the document camera  and highlighters.

7. Test for the students' mastery in identifying these strategies in other writing.


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Assessment Strategies

Use essay questions.

Use short answer questions

Dialectical journals

Vocabulary and Examples listing (Group activity)

Assign a writing analyzing Kennedy's Inaugural speech or another passage and grade the findings.  Require quotes from the text for support.




Schedule student(s) for after school tutorials for one on one discussions which may foster understanding.

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.