Name _______________________________________________ Period ___________ Date ___________ Argumentative Speech Analysis and Practice Working alone or with a partner, analyze the 2011 Address to High School Students by President Barack Obama. Read the speech carefully and record notes, thoughts and feelings on this sheet. Answer the questions that follow. 1. Evidence you found in the speech (logical=facts, statistics, provable examples; emotional=anecdotes, connotation, loaded words) Logical/Objective Emotional/Subjective 2. What was the strongest or most convincing argument? Why? 3. What is the speech structure? (Problem/solution, cause/effect, question/answer, chronological, most to least important, general to specific) How do you know? 4. What is the tone? How does the speech make you feel and why? 5. What is the intent or purpose of this speech? What does the President want me to think or do? 6. Result: Am I persuaded? Was the intent or purpose accomplished? Why or why not. 7. Evaluate the credibility of the author. Complete the chart and explain why you selected each choice. YES NO WHY? Is the author’s intent clear? Is the author qualified to write about this subject? Does the author eliminate any unfair bias or prejudice regarding this subject? Does the author use enough logical or objective evidence? 8. Based on your answers to the chart, is the President a credible author? Why or why not? Now it’s time to start writing your own speech! 9. Brainstorm a list of ideas for your speech that bring up strong feelings in you and in others. Look for these issues in your everyday life. Consider what sets off your “unfairness meter.” Think about situations or events that make you feel angry, sad, or enthusiastic, for example. Brainstorm here: 10. Now select a topic by reflecting on the following questions about each item you brainstormed: a. Is the issue important to me? (It’s easier to persuade if you care about the issue, but not too much.) b. Do I have an opinion on the issue? (It’s not enough just to like/dislike a situation. You have to be able to describe in detail how things would be different or better if you had the power to do something about the issue.) c. Do people have different opinions on the issue? (If everyone agrees with your views there is no one to persuade. Remember there “are two sides to every story” and pick an issue about which people disagree.) d. Is my opinion supportable? (Will you be able to gather enough facts and examples to make a case that your audience will seriously consider? Will you be able to effectively respond to any objections to your opinion?) 11. Write down the topic you think you can deal with best in a persuasive essay. If you are stuck you may use the topic suggestion sheet on the back of this paper. My topic is ________________________________. 12. Once you have your topic, you need to start finding evidence to help you formulate your thesis. The process of finding evidence may take a while. You might want to find evidence online (you may use your phones), from a book or from interviews, or from personal knowledge. Stay mostly with logical evidence (facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples that support your opinions). The emotional will come as you explain your evidence. There are three steps to helping you find supporting reasons: a. Ask yourself, “What are the advantages of agreeing with my opinion?” (Think of ways that agreeing with your thesis will help the people in your audience – for example, by making them healthier.) b. Ask yourself, “What are the disadvantages of agreeing with my opinion?” (Think of ways that agreeing with your opinion might make things more difficult for the people in your audience – for example, by requiring them to sacrifice time or money.) c. Turn your responses about advantages and disadvantages into reasons that support your opinion. (An advantage becomes a reason when you simply state the advantage. A disadvantage becomes a reason when you refute [prove wrong through argument] the disadvantage.) Evidence I will use: Logical/Objective Emotional/Subjective 13. Now that you have evidence, write a thesis that can be proven through this evidence. The thesis of your speech states your position on the issue. How you state this position depends on your audience (in this case your teacher and classmates). My thesis is: 14. Your final step before writing your speech is to decide on a tone. The tone of your speech reflects your attitude toward your topic and your audience. This tone is not only indicated through your word choice and examples, but also through your facial expressions, physical gestures, and your tone of voice. Depending on your topic and your audience, your tone might be dignified, respectful, ironic, or a combination of these and more. The tone I will convey is: 15. Once you have a thesis, support and tone, you are ready to start organizing and writing your speech. Your speech is usually organized with your thesis first, followed by reasons and support. However, you may also choose to organize it with your reasons and support first, and then build to the thesis. You choose, just be sure to prove your point! My VERY rough draft of my speech: (We will continue to work on this, but get started now.) Argumentative Topic Suggestion Sheet Below are 51 topics you could write about for your argumentative speech. They are just suggestions! Feel free to do any topic that you would like. This is just to get you thinking. 1. Is global climate change man-made? 2. Is the death penalty effective? 3. Is our election process fair? 4. Do colleges put too much stock in standardized test scores? 5. Is torture ever acceptable? 6. Should men get paternity leave from work? 7. Is a lottery a good idea? 8. Do we have a fair taxation system? 9. Do curfews keep teens out of trouble? 10. Is cheating out of control? 11. Are we too dependent on computers? 12. Are parents clueless about child predators on the Internet? 13. Should animals be used for research? 14. Should cigarette smoking be banned? 15. Are cell phones dangerous? 16. Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy? 17. Are test scores a good indication of a school's competency? 18. Do we have a throw-away society? 19. Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago? 20. Should companies market to children? 21. Should the government have a say in our diets? 22. Are actors and professional athletes paid too much? 23. Are CEOs paid too much? 24. Do violent video games cause behavior problems? 25. Should creationism be taught in public schools? 26. Are beauty pageants exploitive? 27. Should English be the official language in the United States? 28. Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels? 29. When should parents let teens make their own decisions? 30. Should the military be allowed to recruit at high schools? 31. Should the alcoholic drinking age be increased or decreased? 32. Does age matter in relationships? 33. What age is appropriate for dating? 34. Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school? 35. Does boredom lead to trouble? 36. Does participation in sports keep teens out of trouble? 37. Is competition good? 38. Does religion cause war? 39. Should the government provide health care? 40. Should girls ask boys out? 41. Is fashion important? 42. Are girls too mean to each other? 43. Is homework harmful or helpful? 44. Should students be allowed to grade their teachers? 45. Is the cost of college too high? 46. Is college admission too competitive? 47. Dieting makes people fat. 48. Romantic love is a poor basis for marriage. 49. The war on terror has contributed to the growing abuse of human rights. 50. High school graduates should take a year off before entering college. 51. All citizens should be required by law to vote. http://grammar.about.com/od/developingessays/a/topicargumt07.htm http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/argumenttopics.htm Reasons support your opinion and logical Opinion Statement evidence supports your (Thesis) reasons. Your reasons should be mostly logical, but may include Reason Reason Reason some emotional. Evidence Evidence Evidence Evidence Evidence Evidence Example: Opinion: People should recycle. Reasons that answer the question why: 1. Recycling reduces the mountains of garbage we produce. 2. Recycling saves water and energy. 3. Much of the garbage we throw away could be recycled with little effort. Evidence that proves each reason: 1a. Fact: Garbage, unfortunately, does not just disappear like magic after it is hauled away. 1b. Fact: Garbage usually goes into landfills – many of which have created toxic pollution problems and monumental cleanup costs. 1c. Expert Opinion: The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the next decade 10 percent of our cities will run out of landfill space. 2a. Example: Every week, for example, 50,000 trees are sacrificed to produce Sunday newspapers in the United States 2b. Fact: By recycling newspapers we can rescue trees from destruction. 3a. Statistic: Government officials estimate that 60 percent of all this trash could be recycled. 3b. Statistic: Environmentalists suggest a much higher figure – as much as 70 to 90 percent.
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