19 TUE MAR 28

Class 19 TUE MAR 28


Riddle of Two Graves

Wake Up: How to Fix a Slogan


The National Science Teachers Association

“Working to Help Improve
Science Teaching Efforts since 2008”

  1. We want to improve teaching, not effort.
  2. We want to do the improving, not help.
  3. We want to show results, not work at it.

The National Science Teachers Association

“Better Science Teaching since 2008”

Even that doesn’t brag about the ultimate result, which would be more science LEARNING, wouldn’t it? No matter how well the Association improves teaching, if students don’t learn more science, it fails.

The National Science Teachers Association

“Our Students Learn More, and We Can Prove it.”


The National Science Teachers Association

“Demonstrably Better Learning since 2008”

In-Class Task

In the Reply field, as part of your daily class notes, write a strong slogan for the NSTA emphasizing that they teach young scientists.


Titles, References, Links to Sources
Sample: InspireAngels

The Visual Rhetoric Unit

A Portfolio Assignment


Visual Rhetoric (and the Visual Rhetoric Rewrite)

  • By now, you’ve collected as many as 4 of your 8 required end-of-semester Portfolio Items.
  • If you choose to export both your Definition/Categorical argument AND your Causal argument (along with their Rewrites), you’ll be halfway to your complete Portfolio.
  • The next Portfolio item (and the only one not directly connected to your Research Position Paper) is the Visual Rhetoric Analysis.
  • You’ll receive provisional analysis of your first draft, then post a Visual Rhetoric Rewrite, which you’ll add to your Portfolio at the end of the semester.

Visual Analysis of a Static Image

  • To get warmed up to the idea of Visual Analysis, let’s start with a static image before moving on to motion pictures.
  • Visual Rhetoric, Static Image

Visual Analysis of One Second of Video

Professor’s Model Analysis

0:01. The ad starts very abruptly in the middle of a scene. What’s more, in the first second, the camera is zooming quickly back so that we have to adjust immediately to a barrage of information. The suggestion the filmmakers are making is that the footage was captured by an amateur camera operator, either for home video or maybe a low-budget documentary. Either way, we are given the impression that the footage is “real,” not staged by a director with hired actors.

The image quality too is low. It’s color photography, but the color is so washed-out we get the further impression of a low-budget production. It’s almost black-and-white.

We are behind the counter of a diner. We can tell this from the “marble” countertop before us and the ketchup bottles and napkin holders on the shelf below it. Attached to the countertop is a familiar menu-holder empty of menus. Even closer to the camera (which suggests the footage was taken from the kitchen, through the service window) is a red-top bottle of Angustora bitters. Another can be seen on the counter where customers could access it, alongside the ketchup bottle and the sugar server. The only common use for bitters is as a cocktail flavor. The implication is that this is a diner where drinks are served; therefore, we have at least the implication that some diners might be drinking.

Facing us at the counter are two young boys (one black, one white) dressed in similar sport jerseys. They are probably teammates. Next to the white boy is a crew-cut man in his 30s with longish sideburns. If he were heavier, he would resemble Kevin James from “King of Queens.” The implication is that he is a robust, perhaps a bit rough-edged, working-class guy here with his team, perhaps their coach, maybe father to one of the kids. He wears a lanyard around his neck; perhaps a whistle hangs from it, and a warmup jacket: coachwear.

On the counter between him and the white boy is a fielder’s glove. They are a baseball team. The kid is not a catcher.

Behind the three at the counter, a man and a woman occupy opposite sides of a booth. They are engaged in conversation. The man resembles Joe Pesci from “Goodfellas,” advancing the impression that we’re in a working-class diner. The bowling pin behind him, part of the decor of the place, further confirms this. The lone framed artwork decorating the space is a black-and-white photo of an urban street scene. Coffee cups are stacked upside-down in the service area behind the woman, whose hand motion before her face indicates she is the one doing the talking.

They have been served. The man is pointing at something large on the white boy’s plate. In fact, he points at it repeatedly and says something about it to the boy. Most likely he is picking up the tab. Maybe he doesn’t want that big dish wasted.

From a filmmaker’s point of view, the composition of the figures is very important. The characters are arranged in a line. Black boy at counter, Joe Pesci facing Meg Ryan in booth, White Boy at counter, Meg Ryan in Booth facing Joe Pesci, Coach Kevin James gesturing with his hand toward White Boy’s plate. His active hand gesture draws our attention. When he stops moving, Meg Ryan starts moving her hand in the very same space, keeping our attention on that spot, but shifting our focus to the conversation she’s having with the Joe Pesci. In one second, we have information about two different conversations. Both are clearly important.

End of the first second.

Visual Analysis of a Complete Argument

  • A Sample Analysis: Thai Life Insurance
    • Here we examine just 10 seconds of a 2-minute long-form commercial produced by the Thai Life Insurance company to promote the universal human good of doing small selfless gestures for others. How in the world is that supposed to sell life insurance?

How Much (What Kind of) Detail?

  • You won’t need this yet, but when you’re ready to revise your Visual Rhetoric argument, you may benefit from reviewing feedback I have offered to students in earlier semesters.
  • Link to Revision Advice for Visual Rhetoric


65 Responses to 19 TUE MAR 28

  1. inspireangels says:

    Riddle: Why would these two people be buried this way?
    Answer: Because the catholic wife protects her protestant husband even after death in the graveyard.

    Wake Up: The phrase “Working to Help Improve Science Teaching Efforts since 2008” isn’t really an effective slogan.
    Perhaps a better slogan could be “Improving Teaching Efforts for a Better Future.”

    In-Class Task: The first sentence has to grab the attention of the readers making them want to read the following sentence. The first paragraph of the essay example (My first draft essay) doesn’t capture the audience’s attention and neither does the first sentence. The sample needs a title. The second paragraph is very long and seems to have two paragraphs in one. It might be better to break it into two paragraphs if there are two main ideas. Each paragraph needs to have one clear main idea. When referencing your sources and you are adding a link, you should add the link to the title instead of the entire reference. When titling your references, it needs to be placed in the middle and not in bold.

    Visual Rhetoric Unit: “This image means what I tell you it means” this phrase refers that the viewers can interpret the image the way they want to. The visual rhetoric analysis will be the next portfolio item that will be due on April 4th.


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