Getting students comfortable identifying and unpacking rhetorical devices, tropes, and schemes is critical to their success when engaging in the high-level rhetorical analysis demanded by tests such as the AP Language Exam and the “new” SAT.
The reasons for this are fairly obvious; if students are able to identify specific kinds of rhetorical devices in the texts they read, they inevitably become more comfortable identifying any complex and compelling twists and turns in the language — regardless of their ability to “name” the devices.
If you’re reading this, then you’re already well aware of the trouble with teaching tropes and schemes — it can be incredibly tedious and difficult to make meaningful. (#1, who likes flashcards? and #2, how well do students really know these terms after they’ve committed their definitions to memory by rote?)
And that is where this fancy little lesson comes into play. Here’s the long and short of it:
“Place Your Hopes and Dreams in Tropes and Schemes” is a recurring instructional activity that leverages a partnered “speed-dating” format to create meaningful discussion between students. It also demands that students take on the personalities of specified tropes and schemes as they “look for love.”
Lesson materials include:
- Student handout detailing the ‘rules for gameplay’
- 30 name-cards specifying the tropes and schemes to which students will be assigned (with definitions and examples), including a blank card template for the integration of additional rhetorical devices
- A foldable ‘diary’ for student reflections
- A detailed teacher’s guide (including rules for play, tips for implementation, reflective diary prompts)