Common Core Standards: ELA
Standard 6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
Breakin’ it Down:
This standard asks students to figure out the author’s point of view or purpose for writing the text.
In most informational texts, the authors discuss their opinions on the topics in a clear and forthright manner, and also give plenty of evidence to support their arguments. But occasionally, an author can be subtler, and students are going to have to scour the text for tone, and for critical or judgmental words that point to the author’s attitude.
The second part of this standard focuses on rhetoric, which can be a lengthy topic to cover in class. For 9th and 10th graders, it might help to focus on rhetorical devices that show up frequently in informational texts and speeches, such as:
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- A View from the Bridge Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Brave New World Teacher Pass
- Death of a Salesman Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Macbeth Teacher Pass
- Moby Dick Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- Of Mice and Men Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Othello Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Great Gatsby Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Metamorphosis Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- The Scarlet Letter Teacher Pass
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Twilight Teacher Pass
- Wide Sargasso Sea Teacher Pass
- Wuthering Heights Teacher Pass
Teacher Feature: Ideas for the classroom
1. HATCHLING: War of the words
Get out those highlighters! As students read opinion pieces, have them highlight words and phrases that show judgment. (Make sure students also highlight or write down what each of those words are describing.) Then, have students isolate just those words and phrases, and separate them into general categories: positive, negative, neutral.
Wars have been started over single words! Encourage students to explain how just a single word from the list can instantly show the author’s opinion on a topic. It is also helpful to give students a list of “tone words” (for instance: earnest, whimsical, sarcastic, indignant, and so on) to help them pinpoint the most precise description of the author’s attitude.
TAKE FLIGHT: Great speeches scavenger hunt
When you’re reading a novel in class, it’s always helpful to give students primary documents from the time period at hand. So, a great way to integrate this standard into your teaching is to pick contrasting speeches or opinion pieces about a hot topic from the book: racism, sexism, the distribution of wealth, and so on.
Give students time to dissect each text and figure out the author’s stance. Have them record the rhetorical devices that they notice in each text. This opens the door for an awesome historical discussion of a tough subject, while also giving them a chance to practice this standard!