In a resource where students practice challenging, refuting or qualifying an argument, students learn about Ken Burns and Lynn Novak’s examination of The Vietnam War. Students will read, listen to and view supporting clips while learning the necessary elements to analyze the argument about documentary and war. Students will show mastery of the standards at the end of the lesson through a rhetorical précis, a Socratic seminar, and a written timed essay scored on an AP style rubric.
A recent Atlantic Monthly essay, “How the Vietnam War Broke the American Presidency,” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is the central text in these lessons. A TED TALK on “The Real Lesson of the Vietnam War, by Fredrik Logevall is utilized, as is an opportunity to write a rhetorical précis as well as supporting material for teaching this strategy to your students. An NPR Fresh Air and Charlie Rose interview with the filmmakers are also used in the resource. Finally, two segments of episode 8 of the documentary are used as evidence in writing an argumentative essay. Students will view multiple perspectives in the “My Lai” and “Kent State Shooting” segments.
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.
There are sources for teaching the Socratic Seminar, as it acts as explication for the argument. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, Vietnam War, point of view, American Literature, argument