The Situation Matters: AP Language Practice with Rhetoric &Rhetorical Situation

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Resource Type
Formats Included
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  1. If you are an AP® Langauge and Composition teacher looking for some new, fresh ideas to tackle the curricular standards and preparation for the AP® exam, this bundle contains a sample of my unique lesson plans that can be used at various times of the school year. Please note the individual product
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The rhetorical situation can be a concept that seems deceivingly simple for students to understand at the beginning.  Whether you’re using SOAPSTONE or SPACE CAT as your acronym for addressing the rhetorical situation, this lesson fits best after doing a bit of practice with the rhetorical situation ahead of time. This lesson is also designed for distance learning, hybrid instruction, or face to face teaching.

In this lesson presented through Google Slides, you will give students a scenario and an argumentative prompt.  In this scenario, students are told that they will be crafting an argument in favor of taking family vacations (I just love travel, so feel free to change this -- it’s all editable!)

On the following slide, students then have a matrix that highlights the elements of the rhetorical situation:  speaker, purpose, audience, context, and exigence.  Each component has six options, so, using a virtual dice from YouTube, students will roll the dice for each component and record their selections from each column.  These selections make up the rhetorical situation for this argument.

Now, students must write from the POV of the speaker they rolled for, addressing the audience they rolled for, etc.  I ask my students two write between 1 page and 1,000 words and use a simple rubric to score their writing.


  • Have students present their most convincing line of reasoning to the class
  • Have students share a passage of what they’re most proud of on Padlet and host a Gallery Walk
  • Do this exercise alongside your students and share yours out loud.  This is always a huge hit!
  • Have students annotate a few samples for argumentative choices -- see if they can recognize each other’s appeals to fear, use of analogy, etc.
Total Pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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