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The Persuasive Voice: Communication as a Resolution to the Cold War

Matthew Cacopardo

Contents of Curriculum Unit 07.01.08:

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On March 19th 2003 President George W. Bush addressed the nation, "My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." (Bush). That evening American forces began dropping bombs on the ancient city of Bagdad without the sanction of the United Nations Securtiy Council. It was broadcast to our nation and the world. School aged children watched and learned that our nation had begun a war with a country that posed a threat to our security. What did these children learn from this message?

Behavioral psychologists suggest that children learn from modeling adults (Papalia et al.). Are we then teaching them to use force when conflict arises? How am I supposed to encourage a peaceful solution to a disagreement between two enraged students when our government resolves its conflicts through military force? By dropping bombs on our enemies a message is being sent to our youth: use force to solve a problem. This idea needs to be changed, but how? I value my position as an educator not for my responsibility to instruct youth in academics but for my role in promoting social responsibility and understanding of diversity. We as teachers have an uphill battle as we try to change this destructive character of our students and community. It is up to the educators of our society to set an example that resolving conflict can be achieved through communication.

Communication is an innate process which gives an individual the ability to understand what another individual is thinking. Once out of the womb a new born will cry to communicate discomfort in its new environments. By age two the child will begin to engage in two-way conversations (Papalia et al.). There are many forms of communication. Nonverbal forms are just as common as verbal forms. The raising of a fist can be used to represent power while a wave of the hand can evoke a feeling of community. Verbal forms can be presented in a variety of modes. How the voice is presented will promote the quality of the message. Often the two forms are used together. A speaker giving a speech uses his or her body to accentuate the message. The aggressiveness or passivity of their voice brings a deeper meaning to the message. The voice of a persuasive speaker has qualities of articulation, pronunciation, pitch, speed, proper use of pauses, volume and variance. Speakers communicate while using these qualities to persuade their audiences.

President Bush was aware that the aspects of persuasive voice were necessary to effectively convince the American public that our only solution was to start a war. He sat with appropriate posture at his desk. His red tie was neatly looped as he endorsed the need for military force to solve the problem in Iraq. With proper stature he influenced the American public by his confidence. His speech was well prepared. He lowered his pitch to portray sincerity, then raised it to accentuate his determination. The speed of his message remained consistent. He spoke neither too quickly nor too slowly, allowing the audience to understand his point. The whole time he looked directly into the camera, articulating and pronouncing eloquently every word. His persuasive voice was used to advance war.

If one can convincingly endorse war then it is possible to also persuasively promote peace. When looking back in history, we see many example of effective persuasion to maintain peace. During the Cold War several key speeches communicated the importance of peace as the United States and the Soviet Union each raced to obtain more nuclear weapons than the other. Fortunately, this threat of a nuclear war has ended. It was solved through communication. The key to any form of communication is in understanding. When nations do not communicate, they do not understand each other. When countries do not take the time to understand each other, war transpires. Educators need to teach that there are other alternatives ways to resolve conflict. One alternative is to communicate with one another. It is as deep rooted in our species as aggression. Communication can disable ignorance. If our society models peaceful solution to our problems through communication, then our youth will follow in our footsteps.

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Unit Goals

The purpose of this unit is to assist students with specific learning disabilities in basic reading skills and written expression to make an informed decision about ways to resolve conflict. This unit will challenge my students to investigate and seek answers to why it is important to communicate when conflict arises. They will explore this issue and demonstrate their ability to construct meaning by analyzing and responding to speeches that were influential during the Cold War. Students will analyze how voice is used to persuade an audience by viewing video clips, listening to audio recordings and reading along with speeches that were influential in ending the threat of nuclear war. This will be done to get a better understanding of how they feel about President Bush's decision to begin and continue the war in Iraq. The unit will promote that communication is important when solving a conflict, rather than force. This understanding will be taught through the process of inquiry, class discussions and persuasive writing.

I will facilitate an initial understanding of our sources through questions and discussion. Interpretation of the speeches will occur when we discuss the vocabulary and phrases in the text. Students will examine the material both individually and collaboratively to determine what the author was implying by their words and, when we view the videos, body language. Body language of a speaker will be evaluated to create an understanding of how effective speakers use nonverbal communication to enhance their message. Students will conclude the unit by taking a critical stance on whether or not it is beneficial to use military force to solve a conflict between two countries that oppose each other. This argument will be in the form of a persuasive speech which will be presented as a final summative assessment. This unit will provide them with the skill of organizing their thoughts about a topic in essay form and using expression in voice to persuade their audience.

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I teach at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven Connecticut. This school is a magnet school in an urban environment that services twenty-three area towns. It has two majors; business and health sciences. Students choose a major in their sophomore year and work toward the specialization for future undergraduate studies in their chosen field of study.

I am one of the three Special Education teachers at our school. I teach in a resource room. Students receiving services are instructed using the Student's Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Each student's plan is individualized. This plan is written according to academic, cognitive and behavioral assessments conducted by the school psychologist, Connecticut State Exams, school tests and observations. I write the IEP and plan my instruction according to Connecticut Mathematics and Language Arts Content Standards and Connecticut Academic Performance Test's (CAPT) Response to Literature and Second Generation Mathematics Content Standards.

Our school's policy is that the student takes part in regular academics subjects and receives additional support in a resource room. Our school's goal is for all students to succeed in their regular curriculum and to provide support for this success. I design instruction that teaches skills necessary for students to succeed in their regular education classes and in transitioning to post high school endeavors.

In the resource room students utilize my service approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes each week. The rest of their academics are in an inclusion setting. The students that will receive this unit are 12th grade students who have limited ability in written expression. Over the last three years I have been working on written expression by utilizing various instructional techniques. One in particular is an emphasis on the persuasive piece. Up till now my students understand the basic structure of the five paragraph persuasive essay but have yet to bring depth to their writing.

These students are transitioning into independent members of our communities and my goal is for them to understand that they can be productive citizens of our community. Having opinions is important to our democratic society, and an uneducated opinion can hinder the prosperity of the society. I do not agree that ignorance is bliss. For there to be a change in the current situations in our urban communities we must promote the importance of education. An educated community is a productive community.

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Effective persuasive writing represents a substantial part of our school system's English and Social Studies curriculum. It is a necessary skill when students take standardized assessments such as the Connecticut Aptitude Performance Test (CAPT) and the SAT. However, the necessity to use a persuasive voice does not cease after graduation. Persuasion is commonly used in social gatherings to generate educated opinions. Being an informed citizen of our community is necessary for effective persuasion. Once out of high school an individual may need to show persuasion in complaint letters, job application letters, business presentations, grant applications, and speeches.

In this unit I have chosen speeches that were influential in promoting war and peace during the years of the Cold War. This unit will relate to my students U.S. History and English content material. These speeches will be read and listened to. Listening to the text will promote reading comprehension while increasing content specific vocabulary. The selections that I have chosen will provide my students with opportunities to see that communication is crucial in defusing the treat of war between nations with opposing views. Carefully selected speeches promote open communication to resolve the threat of a nuclear war. The video will be viewed to promote diversity. I am choosing influential speakers from other countries. I do not expect the students to understand what is being said. It is more for an analysis of body language, reaction of the audience, counter reaction of the speaker and to show that we can understand communication on this level even when we do not understand the language.

It is important for me to coordinate my instructional material with classes that my students are taking. Special education teachers can be an advantageous resource not only for the students but also the regular education teachers. Because my students are generally in the same grade and taking the same classes, I am in constant dialogue with teachers from different disciplines who are teaching the same students. I strive to correlate my instruction to the same material being taught in their separate classes so that teachers can look to the resource teacher to help design interdisciplinary lessons which give the students an understanding that school is not a separate set of studies but an interrelated set of ideas.

The Cold War was a period of history which is of high interest to me. When the Iron Curtain was drawn in 1948, the separation of Democracy from Communism created a blanket of tension which surrounded the globe. During this period the U.S. and the Soviet Union's relationship was volatile. Like a horror film which keeps its viewer aware of the ever present danger of death, the thought of World War III emanated through the minds of the masses. Although each country fought separate indirect wars they were somehow able to end their possibility of atomic destruction in 1989. Throughout this period many prominent activists for peace influenced this resolution. Communicating that war would be a grave solution, politicians expressed their views in three key speeches. Theses speeches include:

1. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "The Chance for Peace" April 16,1953

2. President John F. Kennedy's "Inaugural Address" January, 20 1961

3. President Richard Nixon's "Cambodia Incursion Address" April 30, 1970

4. President Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall: Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate" June 12, 1987

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower "The Chance for Peace"

Eisenhower was no stranger to war. Once a modest lieutenant general of the U.S. Army he became the supreme commander of U.S. forces in Europe during WWII. As the Soviet Union gained nuclear independence Eisenhower was sworn into the office of the presidency. For the first time the threat of the H-bomb was broadcast into the homes of Americans. In this speech Eisenhower initiates the idea for a peaceful resolution to the impending atomic war. He begins, "In this spring of 1953 the free world weighs one question above all others: the chance for a just peace for all peoples." (Eisenhower). He not only speaks to the American people but continuously directs his thoughts to those that choose Communism (Danzer et al).

In this speech we see Eisenhower willingness to move toward peace. He states, "The peace we seek, founded upon decent trust and cooperative effort among nations, can be fortified, not by weapons of war but by wheat and by cotton, by milk and by wool, by meat and timber and rice. These are words that translate into every language on earth. These are the needs that challenge this world in arms." (Eisenhower). He lists how redirecting the military budget can feed, house and educate thousands of people. This speech is a respectable attempt for peace that I believe will encourage a better understanding of the early years of the Cold War. It will also present to the student a view of presidential policy different from our current one.

I have chosen this speech for a number of reasons. Eisenhower does a formidable job of promoting his desire for peace. I hope that my students will be able to pick up on this fact and determine that trust between nations is crucial for peace. I also like the structure of the speech. Eisenhower begins with an introduction about the present situation of the world. He predicts various outcomes of each situation, then begins to formulate ways to end the threat of war by opening communication among nations and limiting the amount of resources sanctioned for war. Eisenhower also utilizes effective persuasive techniques in his speech. His use of pitch gives him the ability to stress words of importance. By pausing before points that are made he causes his audience to sit in anticipation.

By using this source my students will be able to list economic burdens of war. They will determine ways in which nations with opposing views can work together to limit their military while gaining each other's trust. It covers historical situations of World War II such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and U.S. and Soviet relations during and after 1945. He mentions conflicts in Korea and Germany which will be further discussed in the following speeches and his use of vocabulary words such as armistice, rhetoric, oratory, propaganda and armaments will continue to increase content specific vocabulary knowledge.

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President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

John F. Kennedy gave this speech in the beginning of 1961. At this time school children practiced burying their heads under their desks during air raid drills, the sales of backyard bomb shelters were on the rise, and the threat of total nuclear devastation consumed communities (Danzer et al). He begins his speech with this in mind and articulates, "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life." This beginning sets the tone for the speech. He, like Eisenhower, suggests the money spent on modern weapons can be better utilized to solve social problems. He recommends that inspections and control of arms can be used to gain trust among powerful nations. He realizes that this increased military production will not benefit the world and proposes, "So let us begin anew--remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." (Kennedy). This passage promotes communication as a root to problem-solving. Kennedy asks the nations of the world to join together to fight tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself. I have chosen this speech because this unit is centered on this idea.

This speech was also chosen because of the passion that Kennedy exhibits while presenting his views. His ability to manipulate his vocal volume at key points helps him to build momentum when expressing key points. The climactic point resolves at the end with his famous "ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." What I am most impressed with is what he states next when speaks to all peoples of the world. He opens communication with them and states: "ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." (Kennedy).

After analyzing this source my students will generate ideas put forth by Kennedy to end war between nations by communication. It also is an excellent source of vocabulary in context. The meaning of words such as civility, eradicate, adversary and sincerity can be figured out from the context of the surrounding sentence and paragraph.

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President Richard Nixon "Cambodia Incursion Address"

As the Soviet's influence spread through Southeast Asia U.S. forces would again fight indirect war against communism. The Geneva Accords of 1954 separated Vietnam leaving the North occupied by the communist Ho Chi Minh and the south by the U.S. supported anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem. By 1957 the communist opposition group in the south known as the Vietcong began attacking the Diem government. The U.S. started sending troops 9,000 miles away from home to help support South Vietnam. The Johnson Administration's desire to increase U.S. forces in the area was satiated after the North Vietnamese allegedly torpedoed the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin on August, 4th 1964. On August 7th congress adopted "The Tonkin Gulf Resolution" which granted the president broad military powers in Vietnam. By February 1965 Johnson responded by unleashing "Operation Rolling Thunder" the beginning of sustained bombing of North Vietnam. By June 50,000 U.S. troops were battling the Vietcong in the jungles off the South China Sea. (Danzer et al.).

Over the next two years Johnson was responsible for sending up to 500,000 troops to Vietnam. Televised accounts of what was happening gave American a first hand look at the reality of war. Soon support for the war began slipping. At the end of the Johnson Administration there was drought in Americans about what was really happening in Vietnam. There were discrepancies in what the government and the media were reporting.

During the 1968 election Richard Nixon ran under the proposal that the U.S. would end its involvement in the war. His victory had lead to the strategy to end American involvement in Vietnam known as Vietnamization. This plan called for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops. On April 30th as Americans desire to withdraw was being appeased President Nixon declared to the U.S. that an incursion in Cambodia was launched (Danzer et al). He stated to the nation in his Cambodian Incursion Address, "Tonight, American and South Vietnamese units will attack the headquarters for the entire Communist military operation in South Vietnam. This key control center has been occupied by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong for five years in blatant violation of Cambodia's neutrality." (Nixon). Upon hearing of the invasion college students across the country erupted in protest. These protests initiated the response of Americans to use their persuasive voice to express their opinions about their world.

I will use this speech because of is promotion of war to initiate peace. It is important for me to give both sides of the issue and in this speech Nixon points out that the U. S. must use force to obtain peace. He states: "We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam, and winning the just peace we all desire." (Nixon).

I have also chosen this speech because of its easy to follow structure. Nixon organizes his speech with background information, options that he has considered, his decision to fight the Vietcong in Cambodia, reasons for this and conclusion. My students will benefit from this speech because of its order. They will be able to structure their own persuasive speeches by analyzing how this piece has been structured. It is important for me to present these students with proper examples of what is expected and Nixon's address does just that.

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President Ronald Reagan "Tear Down This Wall"

After World War II the city of Berlin, became an area of intense struggle. Set deep in the Communist East Germany, the western portion of the city was controlled by the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). This portion of the city received aid from the U.S. and the newly formed NATO under the Marshall Plan. Democracy reigned within this area and its economy flourished. Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Leader after Stalin, realized this and for fear that the deprived East Berliners would flee to the more prosperous western region of the city he constructed a wall to keep the Communists out of West Berlin. The wall and its armed guards were successful at reducing the flight of East Germans refugee's to freedom. The wall symbolized Communist oppression from August 13 1961 until 1989 when the Unified Germany dismantled it (Danzer et al).

In the late 1980's U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the first peace talks between the two tense nations. This chance for communication was desired by the U.S. since the beginning of the conflict. On June 12th, 1987 Ronald Reagan stood before the people of West Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. In this famous speech, he directed his desire to end the separation of East and West Berlin by opening the Berlin Wall. He exclaims, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" (Reagan). This wall represented the separation of Communism and Democracy, and taking it down would signify the ability to open communication between separate ways of thought. Reagan called directly on Gorbachev to help: "Today thus represents a moment of hope. We in the West stand ready to cooperate with the East to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safe freer world." (Reagan).

This marked a crucial moment in the Cold War. At this time the Soviet Union and Communism were in economic and social turmoil. A government based on central control rather than free market was not working as planned. In theory it appeared to solve many problems but people under this government had neither comfortable lives nor freedom. For the first time it appeared that the end was near. Later that year Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) which eliminated intermediate and short ranged missiles and allowed each nation to make on-site inspections of the others military installations.

I have chosen this speech for its representation of the U.S.'s call for open communication as a means for ending the Cold War. Reagan's message is that for the world to prosper all nations must cooperate with each other. This message not only relates to nations but also to people. This is an idea that I want to instill in my students. When conflict arises the best way to solve the problem is to communicate with one another. This is what both Regan and Gorbachev knew and we can see today that their ability to communicate had a major influence in the end of the Cold War.

Ronald Reagan was celebrated for his ability to effectively speak to an audience. He was recognized as "The Great Communicator" because he understood that a speech is not about the speaker but about the audience. He did not speak to entertain himself but to communicate with his listeners. He was able to reach people not by facts but by human emotions. This speech will provide my students with an opportunity to analyze how Reagan used voice, inflections, and body language to create a relationship with his audience. I expect that the students will be able to identify his use of pauses, change in volume and articulation of words at precise moments to solidify this relationship.

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Activity One: Adjectives of the Effective Speaker

We will begin the unit with an analysis of the influence of body language and voice on the audience. This activity will take a class period to conduct. We will begin by watching a clip of several speeches given by political figures from other countries. The speech will be given in a language other than English. This will be done to introduce students to the concept of body language as an essential form of communication. Students will analyze the speech and determine how the speech was made by commenting on body language, intonation of voice, speed of the speech, and the response of the audience. Speeches that will be discusses are:

1. Benedito Mussolini, the leader of the fascist party stands before a large crowd discussing Italy's role in the World War II in Rome, Italy, July 10th, 1940 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og0EinKrAVE&mode=related&search=
2. Adolph Hitler, Leader of the Nazi Party during the Second World War.
3. Rigoberta Menchu, a Guatemalan activist for the rights of indigenous people and a winner of Nobel Peace Prize who spoke at the Nobel Centennial Symposium on December 6th 2001 in Oslo, Norway. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1992/tum-symp.html
4. Fidel Castro, "As Long as the Empire Exists We Will Never Lower Our Guard" December 5, 1988

I will ask students to generate five adjectives they can use to describe the personality of each speaker. I expect that these words will be basic in nature; we will then use a thesaurus to come up with a list of synonyms and antonyms. A synonym and antonym graphic organizer will be completed for each adjective. This will be used to determine characteristics of effective speakers.

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Activity Two: Analysis of Vocabulary Used

Children are all born with the same ability to learn, but different environmental factors cause differences in each child's level of ability by the time school begins. In conversation adults use between 5,000 to 10,000 words repeatedly. Children hear these words and learn them. The more words the child is exposed to the more words they will understand. The only other way to learn new words is through reading. The students I teach do not choose to read because of their inadequate artillery of known words. It is up to me to expose them to new words that are necessary to understand messages that influence their lives. By listening and reading along with Presidents Eisenhower's and Kennedy's speeches, the students will build vocabulary, create interest in the text, improve understanding of sentence structure and improve their ability to visualize text. This will all be accomplished without breaking the flow of comprehension.

The objective of this activity is to have the students increase their vocabulary while generating a better comprehension of the reading material. The activity will encourage descriptive writing by focusing on the sound of words. Students will read along while they listen to an audio recording of the speech. The student will highlight words that appear to be important or descriptive in language. This activity is used to increase vocabulary development as well as increasing comprehension of the author's message.

Research shows that graphic organizers are effective learning implements for students with and without learning disabilities across all grade levels. They are effective in reading comprehension and vocabulary building and they promote organization for written assignments. They foster metacognition and systematically structure the learning process.

Throughout this unit the students will be provided with graphic organizers to increase an understanding of the words, messages and organization of persuasive writing.

A vocabulary graphic organizer will be used as an instructional accommodation. This will address the students with specific learning disabilities in reading comprehension. Students will write the word and definition in a central box on the page. Students will look up the definition with an electronic dictionary. This device is instant while promoting flow in the activity. If the word has any prefix roots or suffixes they will identify them with a provided list, and the meaning of each will be also labeled. On the side four synonyms of the word will be identified, and on the bottom four examples will be determined. Students will then compose a sentence which shows understanding and meaning of the word.

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Activity Three: Use of Punctuation to Accentuate Voice

My students also need to hear fluent reading in order to become fluent readers. The speeches that have been selected pay close attention to the use of persuasive voice to influence their audience. After listening to a section of a speech I will implement an echo reading activity to give the students an opportunity to get a better sense of how reading a speech can be accomplished fluently and accurately. They will mimic the speaker accentuating and stressing the same words. I will ask my students what they noticed about how the dialogue was read, differentiate between how statements and questions were read, examine how excitement was added, and how the speaker's emotions were captured by the use of stress and intonation. If my students are unable to come up with answers to these questions, I will model the answers that I am looking for.

The objective of this activity is to help students realize that how they read the text will determine how they understand the sentence. By adding pauses and changing volume in the correct situation the speeches we study give the audience a better understanding of their messages. I will write on the board sentences from the text being analyzed and have students reread the sentence stressing a new word each time.

1. "This we do know: a world that begins to witness the rebirth of trust among nations can find its way to a peace that is neither partial nor punitive." Eisenhower's Chance for Peace.
2. "United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do." Kennedy's Inaugural Address.
3. "We will not react to this threat to American lives merely by plaintive, diplomatic protests." Nixon's Cambodia Incursion Address.
4. "Today I say: as long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind." Reagan's Tear Down This Wall.

The use of end punctuation to accentuate voice is necessary to understand how to read a sentence. Periods, question marks and exclamation points when used correctly will give the reader a better understanding of the nature of the message. I will ask the students how the change in stress changed the meaning of the sentence. I will then add end punctuation to the sentence and ask the students how voice should change with each form. I will ask the students what influence different end punctuations had each time it was read. How did the voice change as the sentence was read?

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Activity Four: Writing a Persuasive Speech

The main purpose of this unit is to implement strategies to improve a student's ability to persuade others about a particular issue. Through this activity students will gain a better understanding of the necessary parts of the persuasive essay. We will complete activities in brainstorming, thesis writing, argument and conclusions. Students will discuss in the persuasive piece why it is important to communicate or use force when conflict arises. The students will begin by exploring ideas about what they know about how U.S. conflict has been resolved during the Cold War.

Students will be provided with an SAT type essay prompt which will present them with an issue. They will read a quotation and write a persuasive speech from the assignment.

"In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe."

John F. Kennedy

Assignment: Is it better to solve a conflict through the use of force where a solution may be quick with the loss of lives or by communicating, which may take a long time? Plan and write a speech in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support you position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experiences, or observations.


Brainstorming and clustering activities will be used to generate ideas for the writing piece. I will give the students ten minutes to work as a group to list every word or phrase that they can concerning the material that we have covered in the previous activities. I will encourage the students to allow their pens to roll across the paper with ideas while constantly stressing that all thoughts and ideas should be recorded. When the time is up we will read over the list and look for patterns of reoccurring ideas or a central theme. Two of the students involved in the activity will be native speakers of other languages. I will stress to them that this brainstorming activity can be conducted in their native languages. Once we complete the activity they can translate what they wrote.

The lists from the brainstorming activity will be clustered together into a thematic graphic organizer map to generate a visual scheme or chart to help understand the relationships among our central theme and its subtopics. The central theme will be placed in the middle of a piece of copy paper. This topic will be circled. Surrounding the central theme will be main parts of the topic. This will be done to provide the students with a visual representation of ideas that relate to each other which can be grouped into relating material for a future paragraph.

We will transfer the information from the brainstorming activity into a graphic organizer which helps the students order the information. This accommodation will help to arrange the student's thoughts into a structured piece of writing with a beginning, middle, and end while transitioning between each paragraph effectively. (See Graphic Organizer in Appendix.)

Introduction, Paragraph, and Thesis writing

The thesis is the seed of the whole speech. All other thoughts revolve around this one statement. Found in the beginning paragraph, it states the main idea. We will begin by looking at the speeches and try to identify the thesis statement of each. After identifying the thesis I will ask what was included in each thesis. The answer that I expect my students to come up with will identify two parts: a topic and a comment. Students will then begin to generate ideas for their own thesis statement. With the graphic organizer the student will identify what their topic is and comment on how they feel about it. A good thesis for this speech would be:

When nations that disagree with each other are able to communicate effectively the possibility for a cooperative resolution is likely. The topic in the thesis is "nations that disagree with each other are able to communicate effectively" and the comment is "the possibility for a cooperative resolution is likely."

Paragraph Formation and Transitions

When assessing my student ability to compose effective paragraphs, I look for three things: unity, coherence and development. Unity focuses on the main idea the thesis. I then ask is there coherence? Are the sentences clearly related to each other? If so do they have development? Is the thesis supported by specific details? If the student is able to accomplish this, then I am happy. We will begin by analyzing paragraphs from each of the speeches. Students will identify unity, coherence and development. They will then have an opportunity to write their own paragraphs from the graphic organizer, asking if their paragraphs have unity, coherence and development.

It is important to transition between paragraphs so that the speech flows smoothly and coherently. Three ways I teach my students are through repeating key words, using parallel structure, and using transitional expression. By repeating words the same phrase used in the last sentence of the previous paragraph will be used in the first sentence of the new paragraph.


A strong conclusion is just as important as a powerful introduction. As the introduction whets the appetite of the audience, the conclusion should provide them with a feeling of satiation. I will have my students begin the conclusion with a restatement of the thesis. They will then summarize the major points of the persuasive speech and conclude with a question, quotation, vivid image, a call for action or a warning. We will analyze the four presidential speeches to determine how the speech was concluded.

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Summative Assessment

The summative assessment will include an opportunity for the students to exhibit their ability to present a speech utilizing all the strategies that were implemented during the unit. Prior to giving the speech they will receive a rubric on what they will be graded on organization and delivery (See Appendix).

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Implementing District Standards

Connecticut English Language Arts Content Standards

1. Reading and Responding
2. Communicating with Others

Connecticut Social Studies Content Standards

1. Historical Thinking
2. International Relations

Students will be reading speeches given by United States Presidents. These speeches represent historical ideas occurring during the Cold War. Students will interpret, analyze and evaluate these speeches. They will then communicate in the form of a persuasive essay for or against listening to music too loud.

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Reading List for Teachers and Students


Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower. Discusses Eisenhower's Chance for Peace speech, the U.S. in Korea and in Vietnam. Presents the reader with an account of Eisenhower's political and military leadership.

Castro, Fidel. In Defense of Socialism Four Speeches on the 30th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. English version of speeches which promote socialism.

Chesner, Geralyn and Kathryn Henn-Reinke. Developing Voice Through Language Arts. Describes how to use the language arts to connect students to the diverse world around them and help them develop their own literate voices.

Firestone, Bernard J. The Quest for Nuclear Stability: John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union (Contributions in Political Science). Offers the reader with an understanding of how Kennedy dealt with anti-communism and avoidance of a nuclear war.

Hannaford, Peter. The Quotable Ronald Reagan. A book of quotes through Reagan's political life.

Immerman, Richard H. Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy. A thorough analysis of Eisenhower's national security strategy.

Kimball, Jeffery. Nixon's Vietnam War. A good source for Nixon's approach to solving conflict with another nation. Promotes his use of force to solve a problem

Lunsford, Andrea A. The Everyday Writer 2nd Edition. A great writer's reference to Standard English.

Matlock, Jack. Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended. This book was written by Reagan's top advisor and ambassador to USSR. In it he shows how Reagan dealt with the Soviets before and after Gorbachev came into power and how they peacefully ended the Cold War.

Shafer, D. Michael. The Legacy. Provides the reader with first hand accounts of how the Vietnam War has affected the lives of Americans and our society.


Bush, President George W. Address to the Nation. March 19, 2003. This speech was given by president Bush on the eve of the start of the war on Iraq.

Churchill, Winston. War Speech. September 3, 1939, House of Commons. This is a short speech promoting the necessity of Britain to declare war on the Nazi's.

Eisenhower, President Dwight D. The Chance for Peace. delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953. This speech promotes open communication for peace to exist.

Kennedy, President John F. Inaugural Address. Jan 20 1961. . This speech promotes open communication for peace to exist.

King, Dr. Martin Luther. Beyond Vietnam A Time to Break the Silence. April, 4 1967 Delivered at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City. He addresses seven reason why the United States should not be involved in the Vietnam War. He ties in civil rights.

Nixon, President Richard. Cambodia Incursion Address April 30, 1970. A speech given to the American public about the decision to attack North Vietnamese military sanctuaries in Cambodia.

Nixon, President Richard. Peace with Honor. January 23, 1973. This speech was broadcast over the radio and television to announce the initialing of the Paris Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam.

Reagan, President Ronald. Tear Down This Wall: Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate. June 12, 1987. Delivered on the West Berlin side of the Berlin Wall this famous speech calls for the tearing down of the Berlin wall and end of Communism.


http://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html. This site has audio recordings of the 100 most influential speeches in American history.

www.youtube.com This site has many video clips of speeches given by leaders of foreign countries.

http://millercenter.virginia.edu This site has many audios and transcripts of all U.S. presidents' speeches and conversions.

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List of Materials

President Dwight D. Eisenhower "The Chance for Peace" April 16,1953.

President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address January 20, 1961

President Richard Nixon "Cambodia Incursion Address" April 30, 1970

President Ronald Reagan "Tear Down This Wall: Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate" June 12, 1987

Benedito Mussolini speech Rome, Italy, July 10th, 1940

Rigoberta Menchu Nobel Peace Prize Speech December 6, 2001 in Oslo, Norway

Adolf Hitler The Position of Government.

Fidel Castro, "As Long as the Empire Exists We Will Never Lower Our Guard" December 5, 1988

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Danzer, G.A., Klor de Alva, J.J., Krieger, L.S., Wilson, L.E., and Woloch, N., The Americans. McDougal Littell., Boston 1998

Eisenhower, Dwight D. The Chance for Peace. April 16,1953. This speech promotes open communication for peace to exist.

Kennedy, John F. Inaugural Address. Jan 20 1961. . This speech promotes open communication for peace to exist.

Nixon, Richard. Cambodia Incursion Address. April 30th 1970. A speech given to the American public about the decision to attack North Vietnamese military sanctuaries in Cambodia.

Papalia, D. E., Wndkos Olds, S., and Duskin Feldman, R., A Child's World Infancy Through Adolescence 9th Edition., McGraw Hill Companies., New York 2004

Reagan, Ronald. Tear Down This Wall: Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate. June 12, 1987. This famous speech calls for the tearing down of the Berlin wall and end of Communism.

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Persuasive Graphic Organizer

Persuasive Planning Sheet

Paragraph One: Introduction

Thesis Statement (Include a topic and comment)
Background Statement (general statement about the topic)
Develop Your Idea (State your reasons why you support your thesis)

Paragraph Two: Body 1

Topic Sentence:
Support one:
Support two:
Support three:
Closing Transitional Sentence:

Paragraph Three: Body 2

Topic Sentence:
Support one:
Support two:
Support three:
Closing Transitional Sentence:

Paragraph Four: Body 3

Topic Sentence:
Support one:
Support two:
Support three:
Closing Transitional Sentence:

Paragraph Five: Conclusion

Restatement of Opinion:
Powerful Ending (question, quotation, vivid image, a call for action or a warning):

Persuasive Speech Rubric

(table available in print form)

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