How can you use words and other symbol systems to inform and motivate your community? How do the communities of which you are a part (e.g., family, friends, school, city, state, and nation) affect your craft? (Liv Ullmann)

Objective

Students will analyze, evaluate and use resources from other writers as models or mentors to write a persuasive piece of writing.

Activity

Show 2:14–3:42 (Ch. 3) of the Ullmann video. Ask students to describe the communication between Liv Ullmann and Cate Blanchett. Is there a difference between Liv Ullmann’s role as a director and as mentor?

Ask students to research models of persuasive writing/speaking from literature or history, such as John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Sojourner Truth, and others. Then have students do the following:

•   Choose a “mentor text” from a master to influence your own piece of writing. Analyze and evaluate how this master writer uses language to inform, persuade and motivate his or her audience.

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the tone of the writing piece?
  • How does the master writer attempt to persuade the audience through appeals to reason and/or emotion?
  • How does the author refute the opposition and address anticipated objections?

•   Choose a controversial issue, one that is important to you, and identify a change you would like to make related to this issue.

•   Using your mentor text as a model, write a persuasive letter to an organization and/or public figure associated with the issue. This issue can involve the arts, sports, politics, neighborhoods, schools, etc.—anything about which you are passionate.

Closure

Ask students to reflect upon the following questions:

•   Why is the tone and style of your letter important in terms of influencing the issue you are writing about?

•   How difficult was it for you to execute the letter in the style of your men- tor text?

•   Did you find the mentor text helpful in formulating your letter? Why or why not?

•   How important do you think communication is to creating meaningful change in your community?

•   Can you become a creative writer without studying the great masters of this form who have come before you?

•   Do you need to feel passionately about an issue in order to write persuasively?

Conclude by showing sections 18:16–18:36 (Ch. 6) and 24:16–24:57 (Ch.7) of the Ullmann video. Contrast the two different performances of the same scene. While the words are essentially the same, how is the feeling that is communicated similar and/or different?