AP Language and Composition Unit 1 Lesson
The Declaration of Independence
Rhetorical Situation, Claims and Evidence, and Organization
Updated to Reflect the Fall 2019 CED
As a veteran AP Lang & Comp teacher, I have taught the Declaration of Independence as part of my unit on Rationalism and Colonial Literature. I teach my course chronologically with American Literature and, to an extent, in parallel with the U.S History teacher. We often work with similar documents and the students develop a good frame of reference for the events and ideas presented in the texts.
I have revamped my existing lesson to better incorporate the ideas presented in the new 2019-2020 course description. This lesson includes a scaffolded set of individual and small group assignments that require students to investigate the document, share findings, collaborate on rhetorical analysis, and write a declaration of their own. It includes a three section analysis: Understanding Language and Organization, Audience Constraints and Author's Language Choices, and Analysis Questions. There are also several links to background building videos, a student copy of the document, an annotated copy of the document, a follow on writing assignment, a rigorous quiz and key, and a fun writing assignment focused on Thanksgiving (Tom Turkey declares his independence!). I have included everything I use to teach a rich, full lesson that demands student investigation, thinking, and application of skills.
The analysis questions and the quiz include answer keys. All documents are fully editable. The other portions will require you, as the teacher, to become familiar with the historical document yourself and prepare your own responses for class discussion.
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