Analyzing Language in a Speech: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Speech | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3B:U2:L6

Analyzing Language in a Speech: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Speech

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present an idea. (RI.8.7)
  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of literary text. (RI.8.1)
  • I can intentionally use verbs in active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects. (L.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can understand different mediums and their advantages and disadvantages when presenting information.
  • I can use evidence from Dr. King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech to support my understanding of the text and build background knowledge of the civil rights movement.
  • I can intentionally use verbs in active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Active and passive sentences handout
  • What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Analyzing Voice: Active and Passive Sentences (10 minutes)

     B.  Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Group Brainstorm: What Makes a Good Speech? (8 minutes)

     B.  Listening to the Speech and Tracking Dr. King's Speaking Methods (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Turn and Talk (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Continue with independent reading.

  • This is the third lesson in a three-lesson series that builds students' background knowledge about the civil rights era in U.S. history and helps them explore the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to convey a message. This is important preparation for the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment.
  • Students have already worked with an excerpted version of the text of Dr. King's speech in Lessons 4 and 5. Now, in Lesson 6, students listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Montgomery Bus Boycott speech twice. Students' previous reading, rereading, and close reading of the text will allow them to focus on the language and vocal delivery of the speech. Emphasize for students that listening to the speech is an opportunity to hear Dr. King's words just as the Little Rock Nine heard them. Dr. King was such an important figure for the civil rights movement, and thanks to the press, his speeches were shared via radio and television, inspiring those involved in the movement to fight for change.
  • This lesson also addresses on L.8.3, which deals with the use of active and passive voice. Students study the difference between the two voices and consider how their use affects meaning. They transfer this study of voice into their work with the speech, recording examples of active and passive voice and analyzing how they affect Dr. King's message.  This provides students the opportunity to analyze the ways in which an author of this authentic text uses language, helping students to recognize the power of the choices that authors make and the relevance of the Language Standards.
  • Independent reading was launched in Module 2.  In this unit, students are expected to continue reading their independent reading book or select a new book related to the topic of the module. Students will need to have completed at least one independent reading book by the end of Unit 3, since students will be assessed on their reading of this independently chosen book when they are asked to write a book review. At times, the homework in this unit will remind students to continue reading this book. See Module 3B Recommended Texts list.
  • In advance: Prepare to play the speech. A transcript of the speech can be accessed online and a YouTube search will provide versions of the audio.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

active voice, passive voice

Materials

  • Document camera
  • What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher (one per student and one for display)
  • What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher (for teacher reference)
  • Active and Passive Sentences (one per student)
  • Active and Passive Sentences (for teacher reference, plus one for display)
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott speech (from Lesson 4)
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott speech (Excerpt Guidance and Gist) (from Lesson 4)
  • Audio of Dr. King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech (see Teaching Notes)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Group Brainstorm: What Makes a Good Speech? (8 minutes)

  • Remind that in the past two lessons, they have been working with Martin Luther King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech.  Today, they will continue to engage with this text, this time thinking about the language and the medium of it.  
  • Ask students to sit with their Denver discussion appointment partner. 
  • Remind students of the Think-Pair-Share protocol: first, students take a moment to think about the question silently and independently; then they partner up to discuss their responses; then you will ask them to share what they discussed.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "What makes a good speech?"

  • Distribute and display the What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher.  After a few minutes, ask students to share their responses. Keep a running list on the displayed copy. Once the list is complete, ask students to help you circle the things that have to do with the speaker's language and the speaker's vocal delivery or speaking methods.
  • As you categorize, have students write these criteria on their note-catchers under "What kind of language makes a good speech?" and "What kind of vocal delivery makes a good speech." See the What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher (for teacher reference) for sample student responses.
  • Tell students that today they will focus on how a speaker can use language and voice to convey information effectively. Let students know you will save their other responses from the brainstorm, such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact for the next module, when they will analyze the other elements of delivering a speech.
  • ELLs and struggling readers may benefit from sentence diagramming or other additional scaffolds toward understanding subjects and verbs in sentences.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Read the first learning target aloud to students:

*   "I can understand different mediums and their advantages and disadvantages when presenting information."

  • Remind students that in the last lesson, they closely read Dr. King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech. Today, they will have a chance to analyze the text in its spoken form. Read the next learning target aloud to students:

*   "I can use evidence from Dr. King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech to support my understanding of the text and build background knowledge of the civil rights movement."

  • Share with students that listening to the speech will give them a valuable glimpse into Dr. King's superior ability to move his audiences with his speaking skills. Encourage students to think about the effect of this medium on the people listening.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Analyzing Voice: Active and Passive Sentences (10 minutes)

  • Read the third learning target aloud:

*   "I can intentionally use verbs in active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects."

  • One way to study the language of a speech is to look at the difference between the use of active and passive voice and to consider how the use of each affects meaning.  Before listening to King deliver his speech, students will first learn about active and passive voice.  Then, they'll listen for active and passive voice in the speech. 
  • Distribute one copy of the Active and Passive Sentences handout to each student. Explain that active voice and passive voice are two ways authors can structure sentences, and authors can use both voices to aid understanding.
  • Cold call on a student to read the definition of active voice:

-   "In most sentences with an action verb, the subject 'does' or 'acts upon' the verb."

  • Read the examples and explain that a majority of sentences are written in active voice, which is usually easier to read and comprehend.

-   "John washed the dishes. Kittens chased Rosa."

  • Cold call a student to read the definition of passive voice:

-   "Sentences can be changed so that the subject is being "acted upon."

  • Read the examples and explain that passive voice is generally not preferred, but it can be used, sparingly, for effect.

-   "The dishes were washed by John. Rosa was chased by kittens."

  • Read the "tip" from the second page of the handout and ask students to fill in the phrase with a noun, such as zombies, kittens, or bluebirds. Students should fill in the sentences with the noun. Cold call students to read each example. Explain that "He ate (by zombies, kittens, etc.) hamburgers" makes no sense, which means it is an active sentence in which the subject "he" is doing the action, "ate." "Hamburgers were eaten (by zombies, kittens, etc.)" does make sense, in a humorous way, so it is a passive sentence in which the subject "hamburgers" is being acted upon.
  • Invite pairs to work together to practice identifying active and passive sentences using the remaining examples on the handout, which are from the Montgomery bus boycott speech. Circulate and monitor, reminding students of the tip to identify active and passive sentences.
  • When students are done, go over the answers with them. Refer to the Active and Passive Sentences (for teacher reference).  You may wish to display the answers with a document camera.
  • Next, ask students to turn and talk:

*   "How does the active or passive voice affect meaning?"

  • Listen for responses such as: "Active voice makes the writing have more action. Passive voice takes the emphasis off of the person doing the action."
  • If students struggle, use probing questions such as:

*   "Who is the focus of the sentence?"

*   "What if the sentence were rewritten with __ as the subject?"

  • Tells students that they should continue to think about how Dr. King uses the active and passive voices in his speech. They should be able to identify at least one example of active voice and one example of passive voice as they hear the speech.
  • This group brainstorm will help struggling students generate criteria for a good speech.
  • When reviewing graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera to visually display the document for students who struggle with auditory processing.
  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners but especially supports challenged learners.

B. Listening to the Speech and Tracking Dr. King's Speaking Methods (20 minutes)

  • Inform students that they will listen to Dr. King's Montgomery Bus Boycott speech. Tell students that an interesting thing to think about is that the speech was not recorded on video, which means they will not have a chance to look for the physical elements of a good speech, such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Reinforce that they will focus on the language Dr. King uses.
  • Remind students that they have read, reread, and engaged in a close reading of the text. This familiarity with the speech will allow them to focus on the language and vocal delivery of the speech in this lesson.
  • Emphasize for students that listening to the speech is an opportunity to hear Dr. King's words just as the Little Rock Nine heard them. Dr. King was such an important figure for the civil rights movement, and thanks to the press, his speeches were shared via radio and television, inspiring those involved in the movement to fight for change.
  • Ask students to take out their text of the Montgomery Bus Boycott speech and the Montgomery Bus Boycott speech (Excerpt Guidance and Gist) so they can follow along with the audio. Begin by inviting students to think about which criteria they would like to listen for in the speech. They should use the top two boxes on the What Makes an Effective Speech note-catcher as a bank of ideas, and should choose one criterion from each of the boxes (e.g., short sentences; good volume). Give students a moment to think about what criteria they would like to focus on and write them in the two boxes at the bottom left of the note catcher, beneath "active" and "passive," which have already been filled in for students. 
  • Tell students they will now listen to the speech twice through. The first time, they should listen and follow along with the written text. The second time, they will write down examples of the criteria they've chosen at the bottom of the note-catcher. They will think about how their examples affect the meaning of the speech after listening the second time.
  • Play the speech once for students as they follow along in the text. At the end, ask students to turn and talk:

*   "What did you notice about the delivery of the speech?"

  • Cold call on a few volunteers to share their responses. Circulate and use the following probing questions to further students' understanding:

*   "What made the speech affect you more emotionally when you heard it (versus when you read it)?"

  • Next, tell students they will hear the speech again, filling out the bottom half of the What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher. Display the What Makes a Good Speech note-catcher (for teacher reference) and walk students through the model.
  • Start with the active voice section and read through the example. Do the same with the passive voice section. Tell students that they will also have time to reflect on how the language and vocal element they chose for the other two boxes affect the meaning of the speech. Suggest that their primary focus should be determining which lines they want to use from the speech to illustrate the criteria they've chosen.
  • Play the speech again for students as they fill out the organizer. When it has ended, give students time to continue filling out the organizer. 
  • Consider collecting students note-catchers as a formative assessment.
  • During Work Time following the speech, you may want to pull a small group of students to support in using evidence from the speech.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Turn and Talk (5 minutes)

  • Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "Compare the text and the speech."

  • Cold call a few pairs of students to share their thoughts. Listen for them to notice that Dr. King's delivery brings the text to life and gives it more of an emotional effect on the listener. It's more inspiring.
  • Thank students for their careful listening during today's lesson and remind them that primary sources such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott speech help them build more background knowledge on the civil rights movement, making the world of Carlotta Walls more real to them.
  • Point out that because Dr. King was a well-known and inspirational figure, he influenced the way the Little Rock Nine approached their situation at Central High School. Dr. King's speech could easily be shared via radio and television; thanks to the press, Dr. King's message was public, and it helped inspire Carlotta and the Nine use nonviolence throughout their time at Central.

Homework

Homework
  • Continue with independent reading.

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