Monthly Archives: July 2019

Analyzing Rhetorical ASPECTS

Here we are — nearing the end of summer.

For this year, I’m going to use a new acronym in my class: ASPECTS. While I’d love to give some credit, I’m not actually who to credit as it came up as an “I heard about… from this one girl online…” . And I wasn’t sure what all elements meant for the original idea, but the point was intentionality of teaching EXIGENCE (Thanks, Bob Kuhn), so I know what the E has to me. From there, I considered important elements from other acronyms like “SOAPSTONE” and “SPACE CAT” (which is funny on a whole new level), but I wanted something that would work in many places and fit into a nice sentence frame.

All that said, I bring you ASPECTS, the method I’m using in my AP class to teach all things rhetorical.

Lesson Intention: Through the study of ASPECTS, I will be able to analyze a passage to evaluate its effectiveness.

Success Criteria:

  • I can explain the point of using the ASPECTS acronym.
  • I can describe all parts of ASPECTS.
    • I understand what exigence is and WHY it matters.

Next steps:

  • I can identify each element in any given text.
  • I can apply ASPECTS to evaluate the effectiveness of a text.

In case you are interested, I wanted to share this lesson with you. I am planning to teach it during the first week and then reiterate it with each text. If you see any errors, let me know. If you have any ideas to strengthen it, let me know.

If you have a Nearpod account, you can download the presentation to your Nearpod library here: .  To preview it, you can click here:

For my purposes, students will view the lesson live with me in control, but I launched it in self-paced mode for you to see here: I also tend to launch a self-paced version after class for students who were absent or those who wanted an extra view. (FYI, the game activity does not work in self-paced mode.)

Using a Skill Matrix in Class

One part of Visible Learning that I love is student ownership of the process. In working on my Google Certifications, I found Kasey Bell’s Capacity Matrix. This was very helpful for me, and I wanted to try to use something similar in my classroom. I wasn’t certain how I would use it, so I started with the standards for the unit and had students review the elements and rate their learning at the start of the unit and at the end. This allowed them to reflect on their learning and revisit skills they felt needed more help.

Bitmoji Image

For this year, I am going to start with having students use the skills matrix more intentionally with owning learning and progress monitoring. Creating the matrix was easy — I created a table and added in the standards and the rating system. In case you are interested, I wanted to share this matrix my students will be using to help with the NEW 2019 AP Language and Composition units. Full disclosure, this isn’t as pretty as some of my other charts, but I want to use this electronically for students to revisit it easily.

2019 AP Language and Composition Skills Matrix

I know we can’t implement this matrix right now, but in a few weeks, students will grace our doors and we will be able to put it to good use. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

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