Practice with Argument—Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, and Montage of Heck

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In 2015, Brett Morgen’s documentary on Kurt Cobain of Nirvana premiered at the Sundance Film Festival entitled, “Montage of Heck.” It was produced by Frances Bean Cobain, Kurt Cobain’s daughter. The authorized documentary uses Cobain’s diaries, art, and demo tapes in a biography that demythologizes the drug use and abuse. It also celebrates Cobain’s art.

There are many links to video and audio resources for analyzing the argument about Kurt Cobain’s life and art. There are links to multiple clips from the documentary, a New York Times review of the documentary and a TED Talk by the animation illustrator for the film. The resource features an original prompt based on responding to a Michael Stipe quote about an artist’s definition and role. Students will craft an argumentative thesis sentence for an argument that agrees, refutes, or qualifies points from Stipe’s quotation.

Also, there is a graphic organizer designed as a rhetorical triangle where students will look for appeals from Michael Stipe’s induction of Nirvana at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The resource uses several NPR stories, including a look at the phenomenon of the song, “Smells like Teen Spirt.”

Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.

These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to 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. Now adaptable for ESOL classes.

The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. I have added an addendum that describes how to adapt the lessons for ELL students.

Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, mass media, Rock and Roll, tragedy, theme, ELL adaptable material, flipped classroom


Total Pages
21
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
4 Days

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Practice with Argument—Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, and Montage of Heck
Practice with Argument—Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, and Montage of Heck
Practice with Argument—Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, and Montage of Heck
Practice with Argument—Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, and Montage of Heck
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