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lesson 4
1 hour



In this lesson, students reread and analyze paragraphs 6–9 of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which King describes the racial injustice in Birmingham and explains why direct action is necessary. Students review these paragraphs through the lens of rhetoric and analyze how King uses rhetoric to advance his purpose. Students analyze the specific methods of rhetoric, such as descriptive language, appeals to conscience, and rhetorical questions. Student learning in this lesson culminates in a Quick Write that requires students to explain how King uses rhetoric in paragraph 9 to advance his purpose.


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Bilingual Language Progressions

These resources, developed by the New York State Education Department, provide standard-level scaffolding suggestions for English Language Learners (ELLs) to help them meet grade-level demands. Each resource contains scaffolds at multiple levels of language acquisition and describes the linguistic demands of the standards to help ELA teachers as well as ESL/bilingual teachers scaffold content for their English learning students.


From of the New York State Education Department. Grade 10 ELA Module 2, Unit 1, Lesson 4. Available from; accessed 2015-05-29.
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