Mister Rogers Real World Rhetoric Analysis, Mr. Rogers’ Senate Speech, PDF + Google Drive

Show your students a real-world application of the tools of rhetoric (ethos, pathos, and logos) as they examine the 1969 U. S. Senate subcommittee address given by Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in support of public broadcast funding. The speech, filled with Mister Rogers’ warmth and kindness as he secures $20 million in funding for public television, is a high-interest way to add the non-fiction analysis skills emphasized by the Common Core to your classroom.

Students will learn the components of Aristotle’s rhetorical devices, view Rogers’ testimony via a 7-minute video clip, and use a full-text transcript of his comments to answer/discuss depth-of-knowledge questions. The worksheet questions require students to dig deep into the text as they support their answers about Rogers’ message and his skillful use of rhetorical tools. Finally, students will make personal connections to the issues raised by Rogers, which always make for compelling class discussions.

The materials, which could take up to two 45-minute class periods to work through, include:

• Suggested lesson procedure with helpful tips

• Two slides (PowerPoint and Google Slides format) to use as a mini-lesson to introduce Aristotle’s tools of rhetoric – ethos, pathos, logos

• A 5-minute video of lecturer notes to use as prep for the slide presentation (link included)

• A two-page transcript of the speech (public domain; full transcript included)

• A 7-minute video of Mister Rogers’ testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications (public domain; link included)

• A short answer set of questions that will help students identify and analyze the elements of Rogers’ presentation

• An answer key to make for easy grading and to help guide class discussion

This material is appropriate for 7th through 12th grade students.

Download includes: 6-page PDF, 2 slides, link to 7-minute video + Google Drive version of handouts (uneditable)

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Cover image credit: FunnyMath via eBay, WikiMedia Commons, public domain