Intended Audience/Grade range: Grades 6-8
Rationale: Persuasive language is an invaluable skill for anyone to learn. Everyone has opinions and values that are important to them, but everyone also needs the language to express those opinions for both personal and professional reasons. There are countless situations -- personal, academic, political, and professional -- when persuading others is important. Persuasive language is not only the bedrock of capitalism and modern economies through marketing and advertising, it is how social and political movements are born, and it often affects whether they succeed or fail. In the current age of the internet and social media, not to mention today’s political climate, teaching how to use persuasive language as a force for good has never been more prescient, or critical. For many students, mastering these skills will be how they end up ensuring that their voices get heard and valued.
Brief overview: This two-week unit will focus on advertising as a way of introducing students to persuasive language and how to analyze and critique it. This unit will serve as a lead-in to the next unit, which will focus more specifically on political advertising and messaging, as well as how to use persuasive language in speeches.
Timeline: Two weeks of focused instruction and practice, followed by 1-2 weeks for creative project work