Lesson Plan

Argumentative Writing (Ethos, Pathos, Logos)

Teach students to use persuasive techniques AND improve the world.
Eric W.
Classroom teacher
West Ottawa High School Campus
Holland, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • use persuasive (argumentative) techniques.
  • evaluate charities and persuasive techniques.
  • use the writing process.
  • present arguments.
English Language Arts
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

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Introduce this project by viewing a range of commercials. Here's a sample youtube playlist. 

Students should discuss which commercials are most effective. What makes them effective? This will lead into a discussion of persuasive techniques.

2 Direct Instruction

Prezi Classic
Free, Free to try, Paid
Free, Paid

Show students examples, explanations, and definitions of the three main modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. This prezi is a great place to begin.

The prezi above also contains five examples to use as formative assessment at the end. If your students have online access, create a Kahoot! to check their understanding.

3 Independent Practice

Students will use ethos, pathos, and logos to convince their class to donate to a specific charity.

Ask students to remember the ASPCA and the World Vision commercials from the youtube playlist in my hook. What makes those ads effective? What charity would they rather give money? What causes matter to them?

Students will often have good luck finding ethos and pathos reasons on the website of the specific charity. Referring to a site such as Charity Navigator can help them build the ethos and logos even more.

Students should use an online organizer (like Evernote) to keep track of their research and organize an outline.

4 Independent Practice

Free, Free to try, Paid
Prezi Classic
Free, Free to try, Paid

Students will create a speech to convince the class to donate to a specific charity. I have had students donate while we work on the project. I promise to match the funds they raise (within certain limits).

Students use prezi to create a presentation to convince their peers.

Some students suffer from anxiety disorders that prevent them from speaking in front of class, but they still feel passionately about their cause. These students are given the option to create a video presentation on wevideo. This digital exhortation is often nicer than the in-class speech.

5 Wrap-Up

Students will have closure on this project after they choose a charity to receive their donations. I have students vote on Poll Everywhere because they can do it from any phone with SMS (text) capabilities. No smart phones required. They can also vote online.

For extra fun, I created a jumbo check as seen on TV.