Harmony at the Key: Conversations on the Court

Deborah E. Brown, English, Vance High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This curriculum unit focused on using rhetorical devices in order to read, write, and discuss arguments in text or media based on the role and value of sports in college athletics. The American Sacred Values seminar examined the myths of this nation’s cultural traditions — pledge of allegiance, parades, funerals eulogies, weddings, Black Friday holiday sales etc., for civil religious content. Cultural performances, anything that supports the mythology of the nation, if questioned or challenged can expose the hypocritical myths our nation values. In this unit, students were instructed to apply rhetorical terminology to text or media in order to describe the argument the writer or cartoonist presents. In this unit, students considered how the application of rhetorical devices drives the comprehension of text and used that understanding to develop evidence and commentary to satisfy the argument(s) made by the author. Using conditioning protocol in basketball practice, students argumentatively engaged with the text and each other through The Block. To culminate this verbal and written practice, students concluded with a Basketball Seminar complete with referee, coaches, players, benchwarmers, rhetorician and timekeeper. With the use of rhetorical devices to engage in and sustain an argumentative conversation, students experienced how emotion and logic found in writing or media shapes a person’s feelings, thoughts and actions.