Week 1

Jan 7. Course introduction. Why do we care about speeches? What's the point? Why do they matter? A fictional sampling... from //Miracle// and //The Great Dictator//. What do you notice about form, content, and/or style in these speeches?
HW: Patrick Henry, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" Actively read this speech (underline, highlight, comment, question); what elements (form, content, style) contribute to the effectiveness of this speech?

Jan 8. Discuss observations about "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death." What do you notice about form, content, style? What questions do you have? Begin Jonathan Edwards's long sermon "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God."
HW: Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God." Active reading (form, content, style).

Jan 9. Discuss "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Initial reactions and observations. Methods and advice regarding "active reading." How does annotation work best on the iPad? Discussions questions:
  • What is the purpose of the sermon? How are people meant to respond? How does this piece translate today? How might it have been received in 1741?
  • Consider the images and analogies used by Edwards throughout the sermon. What are the prominent themes communicated by the images and analogies that Edwards employs?
  • What are Edwards' sources of authority or credibility? What rhetorical strategies does he use to elicit a response from his listeners?
  • Consider your prior knowledge of Puritan life and belief systems. In what way does this sermon support or revise your understanding of Puritan culture?
  • Anything to add? Other striking parts of this sermon? What stands out and grabs your attention?
HW: William Safire preface: "An Introductory Address."

Jan 10. William Safire introduction: what does he recognize as the elements of a "great speech"? Can we recall some of those elements in the speeches we've covered so far? Let's identify those elements in this TED Talk speech (which TED Talk's curator identified as the best speech delivered at TED):

HW: Review/finish Bryan Stephens TED Talk; which of Safire's "elements of a great speech" figure most prominently?

Week 2

Jan 14. Discuss Bryan Stephens TED Talk. What did you notice? Is it effective? Is it great? Why (or why not)?
HW: Talking women's rights in the 19th century: read Benjamin Rush "Thoughts upon Female Education" and Sojourner Truth "Ain't I a Woman." Active reading (and persistence, Nick!).

Jan 15. Introduce Pioneer Institute Frederick Douglass Prize Essay Contest. Discuss Rush and Truth speeches. Consider the issue of citizenship (maybe bring in the Bryan Stephens speech into the discussion, too).
HW: Listen to at least two dramatic readings of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" speech; which do you like best and why?

Jan 16. Continue with Benjamin Rush discussion. What is "Republican motherhood"? How does Rush's speech detail a "new" role for women in the American nation? What does his educational plan tell us about women's place in the social fabric of the country?
HW: None! We'll cover Sojourner Truth tomorrow.

Jan 17. "Ain't I a Woman." What's notable about this speech? Formality, language, structure, message, content, humor, delivery. Discuss reactions to various dramatic readings. What makes one better than another? Does tone or other variation in delivery change the impact of the speech? What's the role of the audience in this speech? Finish with a Student Discovery...
HW: Read Frederick Douglass, "The Hypocrisy of American Slavery." (Active reading, persistence, probability of a quiz.)

Week 3

Jan 21/22. NO SCHOOL (Parent Conferences and Snow Day!)

Jan 23. Discuss Frederick Douglass's 4th of July speech. Use Safire's "elements of a great speech" to consider the content and the style of the speech. Introduce new project: Commentaries on Influential American Anti-Slavery Speeches.
HW: Work with partner(s) to identify speeches you will work on for our Anti-Slavery Speeches project. Have three or four possible speeches to propose in class tomorrow. Do not be afraid of long speeches! If your team settles on a short speech (which could be excellent) I will most probably require you to comment on a second speech as well.

Jan. 24. Assign speeches for our Anti-Slavery Speeches: Context and Commentary project. Begin working together to build your teams' website.

Week 4

Jan. 28-Jan. 31. Project work. Take initiative, be ambitious, make the other groups jealous!!