As with any unit of study, war units lend themselves to multiple skill building exercises that help stretch student understanding of more than just the story. Today’s texts not only help to supplement war literature, they also teach two different types of skills: argument analysis and rhetorical analysis.
Room for Debate
I can’t get enough of this NYT opinion page. I profiled them several weekends ago as a necessary resource for any classroom teacher. While they have many war related topics the two below are the best for supplementing The Things They Carried. Have students read, SOAPSTone Questions & Chart. Consider having them write their own persuasive and “expert” responses in the same short format using the original pieces as research/evidence.
Rhetorical Analysis via Speeches
Perfect for using with The Red Badge of Courage, consider having student use our Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Exercises for a close reading on style and annotation.
Have students read Bush’s speech and annotate for rhetoric and style. They should be paying attention to war references throughout. The Weekly Standard’s response to the speech professionally parses Bush’s rhetoric. Have them read the response afterwards. Then, have them create their own rhetorical exercise. They should use previous rhetorical exercise like the one linked above for “The Gettysburg Address“ as an example.