We broke some ice by creating a class playlist, which was wonderfully varied (Parents, look for the playlist in your email soon!). Then, I asked folks what they knew about or associated with the word “rhetoric;” we established that rhetoric is the act of using speech or writing to persuade an audience to do or think something in particular. We then reviewed a basic rhetorical triangle (speaker/writer, audience, message), and I walked them through an example of how one’s audience affects how one crafts their message. My examples walked through how young Judi would persuade her health-conscious father and her junk-food-loving mother that she should have cake for breakfast: same goal, but VERY different evidence used to persuade the different audiences.
With all this audience stuff in mind, we shifted to Cards Against Humanity. I encouraged them to understand the game as an exercise in knowing your audience — the better you know the judge, the more effective your play will be. We bent the rules — everyone went — and everyone managed to have a turn as the judge. It was silly and fun! I ended the game by inviting them to notice how some judges preferred certain types of humor over others (e.g., potty humor, random humor, dark humor, nerdy humor, no humor at all), and to keep that in mind the next time they faced off at Cards.
Such a fun day! Thanks to Elizabeth for being an excellent card distributer and for Vanessa for bringing some gravitas to the class. Thanks to the Neutrons who participated well and (I think?) had fun!