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Practice with Argument— Oliver Stone’s View on Edward Snowden

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Iconic director Oliver Stone released his film "Snowden” in September 2016. Stone's sympathetic portrayal of controversial figure Edward Snowden frames the question that was asked by the New York Times Room for Debate in 2013: If Snowden can be seen as either a brave whistle-blower or a reckless traitor, how should the US government handle his case?

Students will view topical video clips, such as interviews with Oliver Stone. The lesson contains supporting resources like links to a TED TALK delivered from Russia by Edward Snowden and NPR stories of interviewees profiled who oppose Snowden’s actions. A link to the film of George Orwell’s “1984’ is provided. Three clips of the film are used to compare Orwell’s world to the revelations made by Snowden about the alleged surveillance used in our world to spy on citizens.

There is also an opportunity to write a rhetorical précis, as well as supporting material for teaching this strategy to your students. Students will study the persuasive language used in the New Yorker Magazine review of Oliver Stone’s film on Snowden. Included is a lesson on crafting a thesis sentence, as well as a link to the Question 3 prompt for the 2008B AP English Language and Composition examination. The students will consider Stone’s view on Snowden in writing an original argument that addresses the difference between disagreement and dissension.

These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, or AP English Language or Literature class. These three lessons prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities.

In this resource, there is a unique detailed rubric that can be used to score Socratic Seminars in a way that encourages organic fluid discussions. In the guide, there is a step by step explanation on how to conduct a fishbowl discussion with the rubric. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.

Tags: Socratic Seminar, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, American Literature

Total Pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
4 days
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