Oprah = Real-World Rhetorical Goodness

If you caught last night’s Golden Globes, you were treated to this heartstopper of a speech by Oprah Winfrey. If not, watch it now. I’ll wait.

The speech, emphasizing equity in the workplace and the power of the #metoo voices, is a model of effective rhetoric, something our kids definitely need to not only hear, but also deconstruct. (Apparently, her speech has also inspired a lot of “Oprah 2020!” chatter today. CNN gushed about the idea and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is now calling her “HOPE-RAH.” Oprah for President? Sounds good to me!)

To help bring this timely and high-interest topic to our kids, I just finished building this set of lesson materials that dig into Winfrey’s use of metaphor, parallelism, pathos, and symbolism. These materials can serve as a stand-alone lesson or as a solid supplement to a study of Jim Crow laws or SAT-style essay prep.

Teach on, everyone!

Photo Credit: Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

8 thoughts on “Oprah = Real-World Rhetorical Goodness

  1. YES!!!!!!! I love you…let me count the ways!

    Catherine Mundy 8th Grade ELA Teacher and Team Leader Positivity :), Strategic, Learner, Belief, Achiever


  2. This is awesome!!! Thank you! I love your work.

    In fac,t I made a mistake and bought pieces of your poetry unit but then bought the whole unit not realizing it has a few of those pieces. I love it! So useful!!

    Thank you,
    Hope Stern

  3. Garreth Heidt says:

    Oprah competed in HS speech and debate. And she was good! Loved listening to her, recognizing the turns of phrase, the rhetorical devices…She’s just good!

  4. So that explains it, Garreth! In her after-speech behind the scenes at the ceremony last night, she did say she’s grateful for her teachers, who really saw her and believed in her. Love that.

  5. Thanks for the note of support, Hope! And definitely reach out to TpT’s customer service dept. and let them know about the double-purchase. They can fix this and make you whole. I’d jump on this, but I don’t actually handle the money-side of my shop. The TpT folks are great at fixing these kinds of things. 🙂

  6. Dear Laura,

    Is it humanly possible to get the download without the image? I’ve purchased the pdf download and its dark to reproduce? I’ve already made copies as THIS IS an awesome resource!!! Will introduce this to my 7th graders and my 12th graders tomorrow. Will update in the comments.

    My 7th and 9th graders are in the 2nd quarter of 20Time. Love that, too.

    With thanks,

    LaMonica Bryson Gretchen Whitney High School (Cerritos, CA)

  7. Wow, LaMonica, way to move quickly to make this happen! You should be able to copy the text off of the pdf handout and then drop the text onto a fresh document page. Hope this is a good fix! 🙂

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