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        Techniques of Persuasive Presentations - Ebony, the Elephant Calf

        Students identify the techniques used to persuade listeners to feel certain ways about what they see.

        Lesson Summary


        Students watch a video segment about elephants and identify the techniques used to persuade listeners to feel certain ways about what they see.

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learners are bombarded with persuasive presentations by the media and elsewhere. Recognizing and identifying subtle techniques used to accomplish persuasiveness, learners can best critically analyze and evaluate texts.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time


        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Write these sentences on the board:

        • Yesterday, I went to school.
        • Yesterday, my mother made me go to school.
        • Yesterday, I finally got to go back to school.

        2. Discuss the use of language and how each sentence might persuade a listener to feel a certain way. Provide purpose for activity: to learn to recognize persuasive techniques, such as language use, in a presentation.

        3. Distribute a copy of the Persuasive Presentation Techniques handout handout to each student. Tell students they will notice two parts to the video segment. First, a playful baby elephant named Ebony is shown. Then, another family of elephants kidnaps Ebony. Tell them they will watch the video segment twice. As they watch, they should note how the tone of the presentation changes in its use of:

        • Language
        • Visual Images
        • Music
        • Sounds of Elephants
        • Other Techniques (anything else students may notice)

        4. Play the segment, explaining that this time students should listen for and note specific examples of language used to persuade the listener to feel a particular way, such as specific vocabulary, phrases and tone of voice (e.g., 'joy to film,' 'celebration' and 'perpetrators'). While viewing, they should write their notes in the language section of Columns I and II.

        5. After viewing the segment, assign students to small groups of three to four students. Give each group a pad of sticky notes. Explain that each group should work together to identify specific examples of language in Columns I and II of the Persuasive Presentation Techniques handout handout.

        6. Enlarge the Persuasive Presentation Techniques handout to poster size or duplicate the handout on the blackboard. Each group sends up one person with examples of language use written on the sticky notes. Student places sticky notes in appropriate columns. Read the notes. Students comment on whether the language is persuasive to them. Groups may need to defend why they chose the language they did.

        7. Show the "Ebony" segment a second time, this time asking students to think about how the visual images, music, sounds of elephants, and any other techniques act to persuade the listener.

        8. Students complete the Persuasive Presentation Techniques handout, discuss their notes with their group and then add sticky notes to the blackboard. End with a class sharing of the responses.

        For students who need additional teacher guidance:

        • Assist students with note-taking.
        • Arrange for multiple viewings of the video, pausing the video from time to time to point out and discuss examples of persuasive language, images, music, or sounds.
        • Provide multiple examples of persuasive writing or persuasive language before and during activity.

        Part II: Assessment

        Assess the appropriateness of students' responses during the class discussion and sharing. Collect students' handouts. Based on handout and classroom responses, re-teach as needed. The Persuasive Presentation Techniques handout handout can be placed in a student's portfolio to indicate level of skill acquisition.


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