1. Before students enter the classroom, put posters of the
American Revolution around the room to set the stage
for today’s reading and discussion. Have copies
of Patrick Henry’s speech ready to pass out to
students as they come in.
2. Ask the class what they remember about persuasive writing
form the previous day. You may review a few of the techniques
from the lists students created, as well as the handout on
the three appeals. Make sure the students have the persuasive
writing techniques fresh in their minds as you begin this activity.
3. Set the stage for your reading of Patrick Henry’s “Give
Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech by asking the students
what they remember about the American revolutionary war. Relate
some details of the American revolutionary war, focusing on
the tensions that built between America and England, and the
reasons why people in the colonies wanted to be independent.
Ask students if they remember a man by the name of Patrick
Henry, and write what they know about him on the board. Tell
the students that Henry wrote a very powerful persuasive speech
on the subject of freedom, and that you (or a student with
a strong voice) are going to read this speech to them.
4. Read the speech aloud to the class, using lots of emotion
and gestures. While you are reading, have students take notes
on what makes this speech persuasive. This should take about
5-10 minutes. At the conclusion of the oration, discuss with
the class the main points of Henry’s argument and the
persuasive techniques he uses.
Have students create a three-column chart with the columns titled: “Logic”, “Emotion”,
and “Ethics”. Then have the students go back to the text, and read
it on their own, noting specific quotes in which Henry uses each of the three
appeals in his argument.
Student’s discussion, notes, and chart may be evaluated
to see if students are able to identify the persuasive
techniques used in Henry’s speech.