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Lesson Plan

Battling for Liberty: Tecumseh’s and Patrick Henry’s Language of Resistance

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Battling for Liberty: Tecumseh’s and Patrick Henry’s Language of Resistance

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One: Prereading

Session Two: Patrick Henry

Session Three: Tecumseh

Session Four: Group Work

Session Five: Presentations

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • develop an awareness of both Native and non-Native movements to resist oppression and domination by external forces between 1775 and 1820.

  • develop an understanding of the similarities and differences between individuals and their rhetoric of resistance in America during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

  • develop an understanding of the impact of popular stereotypes on our perceptions of history.

  • develop an appreciation for the ways the speeches of these Native orators contradict the stereotypes of early Native Americans as "savage" and "uncivilized."

  • practice applying a formal strategy for analyzing and evaluating oral communication using occasion, audience, purpose, response, and a variety of rhetorical or literary devices.

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Session One: Prereading

  1. As a whole class, brainstorm a list of speeches that students are familiar with. Speeches can be well-known by general audiences (such as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"), or might be familiar only at your school or only to particular students (such as a student's campaign speech for a club presidency or a religious oration).

  2. In reader-response journals or writer's logs, ask students to freewrite about what makes them recall these speeches. Ask students to think about what makes these speeches persuasive (or not).

  3. Distribute copies of Patrick Henry's speech and the analysis worksheet, or share the format with students and have them create a table in their journals or logs. As students read the speech, ask them to keep track of their notes on this table.

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Session Two: Patrick Henry

  1. Pre-listening: Ask students to think or write about their impressions after reading the speech in their journals or logs. They might imagine what the speech sounded like, note words and phrases that seemed particularly strong to them, or write about anything that caught their attention.

  2. Play the recording of Henry's address. Remind students of the setting and situation for the speech. Be sure that students understand that the recording is of an actor.

  3. If your students have practice analyzing text for rhetorical techniques, ask them to identify the key techniques that are used in Henry's speech. If, however, your students are not yet ready to extract techniques, give them a list of the rhetorical techniques and ask them to find examples in Henry's speech.

  4. Once students have worked through the speech, identifying techniques of repetition, emotionally charged words, metaphor, and rhetorical questioning, play the recording of the speech again, and ask students to pay particular attention to the techniques. Suggest that they keep the following question in mind: How does the actor's tone, volume, and other qualities change when he uses these rhetorical techniques?

  5. Post-listening: Ask students to return to the notes that they wrote before they listened to the speech, considering questions such as the following: Does the speech compare to what you imagined when you read it? What made Henry a powerful speechmaker during the colonial period? What surprised you about the speech?

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Session Three: Tecumseh

  1. Pre-listening: Remind students of the setting and situations for Tecumseh's speeches. Be sure that students understand that the text is a translation of Tecumseh's speeches. Neither Patrick Henry's speech nor Tecumseh's speeches were recorded word for word as they were given. Instead these speeches were written down after the fact, based on the memories of listeners and the speaker. Ask students to brainstorm about the ways that translation and transcription might affect a speech.

  2. Read Tecumseh's speeches to the class.

  3. Begin by thinking aloud about some of the words used in the translation. The speeches use words we may consider offensive today such as red men, Indian, squaw. See Marge Bruchac's Thoughts on Indian Images, Names, and Respect for additional information. Ask students to think about why the translator has used these words.

  4. Again, if your students have practice analyzing text for rhetorical techniques, ask them to identify the key techniques that are used in Tecumseh's speeches. If, however, your students are not yet ready to extract techniques, give them a list of the rhetorical techniques and ask them to find examples in Tecumseh's speeches.

  5. Once students have worked through the speech, identifying techniques of repetition, parallel structures, concrete natural images, concise sentence structure, and rhetorical questioning, read the speeches again, and ask students to pay particular attention to the techniques. Suggest that they keep the following question in mind: How does your tone, volume, and other qualities change when you use these rhetorical techniques?

  6. Post-listening: Ask students to return to the notes about transcription and translation that they wrote before they listened to the speech, considering questions such as the following: How did the translator affect the speech? What made Tecumseh a powerful speechmaker? What surprised you about the speech?

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Session Four: Group Work

  1. Divide students into four to five groups. Recognizing all the speeches are about unifying the listeners to resist a common enemy, ask groups to compare and contrast Chief Tecumseh's speeches and Patrick Henry's speech, using the chart that they filled in as they went along. Optionally, students could use the Venn Diagram interactive.

  2. Discuss the comparisons with the whole class. Once you're satisfied that students understand the connections between the rhetorical practices in the speeches and the purpose and audience and culture of the speakers, assign each group a passage from Henry's speech to translate into the rhetorical style of Tecumseh. Make sure that students understand that they are not writing a Native American version of Henry's speech. They are writing their own version of a section of the speech, emulating Tecumseh's style.

  3. Allow students the rest of the session to work on their translation. Monitor student progress, helping students as needed.

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Session Five: Presentations

  1. Give students five to ten minutes to make last-minute preparations and to practice their presentation.

  2. Have groups present their section of the speech to the entire class, sticking closely to the five-minutes-per-group guideline that you've established.

  3. Once all of the groups have presented, focus on the last translation, the passage that ends in the original with Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!" Ask students to spend several minutes writing down what they've heard in their journals or logs.The students who presented that passage play the role of author attempting to recall what they wrote without looking at the original notes.

  4. After allowing time for students to write, volunteers can share their passages with the whole class.

  5. Once students have shared, read the the last group's translation again. Have students note changes they want to make. Note that you should read the passage so that all students, including the group that translated the passage, can return to their transcription notes.

  6. Conclude the lesson by asking students to return to the issues of transcription and translation in oral discussion or in their journals. Consider questions such as the following:

    • How did your role as the translator affect the speech?

    • How closely did your transcription match the original translation of the final passage?

    • What surprised you about the process of translation and transcription?

    • What conclusions can you draw now about the versions of Tecumseh's and Henry's speeches that we've read?

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Monitor student interaction and progress during group work to assess social skills and assist any students having problems with the project.

  • Review student notes in journals and logs.

  • Assign an independent writing task to students which allows them to apply their skills individually. The following assignments would work well:

    • Write a persuasive paper or deliver a speech that makes use of the elements of style and purpose you observed in the three speeches.

    • Imagine yourself in the audience of Chief Tecumseh or Patrick Henry. Tell your story and give your impression of the speech to your children or grandchildren.

  • As a class, develop a list of rhetorical strategies with examples to use as you examining future readings and texts.

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