Commencement Speeches, and other updates…


Mini-Lesson: Narrative Leads

Rest of class:

HW: 1) Bring in opening paragraph(s) of your personal history essay on separate sheet of paper. Double or 1.5 spacing (depending on length). Leave extra-wide margins around. Here’s an example. 2) Finish reading Quindlen speech, take some notes in notebook 3) Vocab Quiz


Review narrative leads; Discuss Quindlen Speech

HW: Revise personal history essay; Bring earbuds to listen to speeches in class. Read Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech for Friday.



Today, we’ll look at the commencement speech and its form/function as a specific genre of speech. In particular, consider what’s required of the task of delivering a commencement speech. With this in mind, browse through NPR’s collection of the 300 Greatest Commencement Speeches.

  1. Go to NPR’s commencement speech site. Browse through the list, then choose a speech to read closely (do not choose Steve Jobs or David Foster Wallace; we will read those as a class).
  2. Respond to the speeches by answering the questions HERE.
  3. Repeat (total of two speeches/responses). Finish tonight if needed.

Tomorrow, be prepared to discuss what you’ve read.

HW: Finish up Commencement speech readings from class; Read/annotate Steve Jobs Commencement Speech.

FRIDAY, 2/19

Link to commencement spreadsheet.

Discuss: What defines a commencement speech? Discuss Quindlen, Jobs, others.

HW: Read and take notes on Chapter 3 in textbook, stopping when you get to the “Visualizing Arguments” section. Complete activities on pages TBD next week. Final copy of personal history essay due Monday, 2/29.