This unit was meant to help students explore gender stereotypes and learn about the rhetorical analysis essay. It was my first (and only) attempt at a unit about gender and stereotyping, so I think there is room to build out what I have below. After the school year I taught this unit, I switched to IB and didn't come back to these materials. My steps are outlined below. Please alter and build out as needed!
On "Day 1," I started with a journal:
"Describe typical gender stereotypes. What are the expectations for girls/women? What are the expectations for boys/mens? Think about how you have seen these play out in your life. Write about 1 person who you feel matches typical gender expectations, and then write about someone who you think does not always follow expectations for their gender. Are these people treated differently based on how their gender and gender expectations align?"
I gave students 10-15 minutes to write and then we shared out. Students were a bit hesitant to share out for this prompt, but the conversation was good when we got moving. (Discussion: 20-30 minutes)
Next, I started an activity that I sell on TpT about how to write the rhetorical analysis essay using a text by Dave Barry. The text is "Lost in the Kitchen" or "Turkeys in the Kitchen" and it is about inequality in gender expectations. This lesson takes a few days because you are essentially walking students through a rhetorical analysis essay piece-by-piece and then giving them time to practice. Even though this is tedious, I find it to be a worthwhile investment in their writing.
After the Dave Barry lesson and the group essay, I had students pick one of the articles listed below. Their job was to read and annotate the article in preparation for an individual rhetorical analysis attempt. The directions for how to annotate are on a handout that I sell on TpT titled "How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay."
I gave students 30-40 minutes to read and annotate their article and then they had to finish the rest for homework.
Once students had their articles read and annotated, they were ready to think about how they were going to write a rhetorical analysis essay about their article.
I asked students to look through their annotations and pick the most interesting 2-4 paragraphs in their piece. I asked them to focus their written analysis just on that section. My directions sounded like this:
"Even though in a normal rhetorical analysis you would go through the whole essay, you would typically only get a few paragraphs. If I had to analyze the entire article you’d be writing 4-5 page papers, which I don’t quite think we are ready for. So instead, you are again only going to analyze 3-4 paragraphs of your chosen essay. This way you can practice depth of analysis vs. breadth. "
Next, I reviewed what makes a strong rhetorical analysis paragraph:
Assertion: Wording from thesis + device + argument of paragraph
Contextualize quote by first explaining where it came from (briefly)
Put in full example of your device (or devices...however many you are discussing) to prove you know what you are discussing
Comment on what’s happening in the quote & why it’s relevant to the argument of that paragraph
Comment on how the device connects to the argument of the entire text
Repeat this format at necessary until you feel you’ve written a solid analysis
To help them get the process started, I grouped the kids with others who had chosen the same essay. I have them a few minutes to share out key take-aways from the texts and work together to form a SOAPStone thesis statement for their piece.
Depending on the level of the student, I gave them a graphic organizer to help them write a rough draft of their rhetorical analysis. These templates are for sale on my TpT store.
Their homework was to finish filling in the template.