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Rhetoric 1

High school students enrolled in this Rhetoric 1 course will study and practice the art of rhetoric: persuasive writing and speaking. Using _Rhetoric Alive! Book 1—which explores the principles of winsome speech as developed by Aristotle—_the course guides students through a study of the theory and application of the essential components of persuasion: the 3 appeals, the 3 types of speech, and the 5 canons of rhetoric (see below). Along the way, students encounter, discuss, and analyze classic examples of rhetoric, spanning from Pericles’s “Funeral Oration” to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Students also develop their own rhetorical skill through workshops, imitation assignments, and oratory presentations. This course equips students to speak and write persuasively with wisdom and eloquence.

  • 3 Appeals

    • Ethos (speaker’s credibility)
    • Pathos (audience’s emotion)
    • Logos (argument’s reasoning)
  • 3 Types of Speech

    • Deliberative (exhort or dissuade)
    • Ceremonial (praise or blame)
    • Judicial (accuse or defend)
  • 5 Canons of Rhetoric

    • Invention
    • Organization
    • Style
    • Memory
    • Delivery

Students will be asked to write various works including fables, speeches, analogies, essays, poetry, and reflections. These assignments enable students to practice cumulative rhetorical skills with heavy emphasis on applying the principal elements studied. Additionally, students will analyze numerous works of notable orators and discuss them during class sessions, thereby avoiding common errors and striving toward the true and just.

As is the goal with rhetoric, this course aims to equip students for wise, eloquent speaking and writing. As such, both active participation in class discussion and completion of projects are essential for growth in this area. Mrs. Shaltanis will facilitate the conversion as students explore virtuous ideas and dialogue in a safe, restful setting. Students are expected to contribute each week and will be encourage to stretch their comfort levels.

Placement: Please read about our new process above.

  • Incoming students should have a working knowledge and familiarity with the informal fallacies (a good preparation would be Scholé Academy’s Informal Logic course or The Art of Argument text), and an ability to apply the principles of formal argument construction (along the lines of Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic course or The Discovery of Deduction text). Students who have additionally completed Scholé Academy’s Persuasive Writing course or The Argument Builder text are also well prepared to embark on this journey into Rhetoric 1.
  • Students should also be familiar with professional writing standards and adhere to MLA formatting guidelines for all written submissions in Rhetoric 1. MLA style is widely accepted for college students, and mastery of a style (like MLA) is essential for college-bound students.

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in speech and debate, composition, or language arts.

At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

Optional Texts:

  • Gorgias, Plato
  • MLA Handbook 8th Edition

Phaedra Shaltanis, Chair of the Humanities Department, has taught in private and classical schools for over 25 years and has educated her four children in the classical tradition, which has been the monumental joy of her life. After college graduation, she began teaching high school Writing, Literature, Spanish, and Art in classical schools. Her involvement with Scholé Academy includes teaching American Literature, British Literature, Western History, Rhetoric I, Formal Logic and Well-Ordered Language Levels 1 and 2. She is enthused to serve as the Humanities department chair and appreciates guiding parents and teachers toward restful education. In her Dallas community, she currently directs a high school university-model program, trains and mentors teachers, conducts seminars on classical education, builds curriculum, supports parents, and provides fine art instruction at a classical high school. She and her husband hope to support classical education as avenues present themselves.

Caeli Lanzilotti lives in Northern VA with her husband and two-year-old son. She is passionate about the Liberal Arts and pursuing a life fully realized. She has taught Ancient, American, and World Literature to 9th-12th graders in a private school setting for the past six years. Before moving to VA, she taught Middle School Literature-History, English grammar, and Religion for six years at a small classical school near Philadelphia. She loves the classical model of education, and she is deeply indebted to her former students and colleagues from whom and with whom she has learned so much about the virtuous life. She holds an MA in teaching and a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy. For leisure, she loves trail running and hiking in the woods with her husband, swimming, and baking.

Quarter 1

  1. Introduction, Rhetoric and Philosophical Reasoning: Plato’s _Republic _
  2. Three Rhetorical Appeals (logos, ethos, pathos): ad analysis
  3. Speaker Credibility: G. Washington, speech excerpt
  4. Guiding the Audience’s Emotions: Julius Caesar, conjuring emotions
  5. The Enthymeme: P. Henry, E. Dickinson, syllogisms 

Quarter 2

  1. _Logos _and Types of Reasoning: inductive reasoning, Phaedrus, fable
  2. Section 2 Exam
  3. The Canon of Invention (Discovery): topics and subtopics, M.L. King Jr., Reagan
  4. The Canon of Arrangement (Organization): _exordium, narration, partitio, confirmation, _
  5. refutation, peroratio, ordering essays
  6. The Canon of Elocution (Style): schemes and tropes
  7. Figures of Speech: J.F. Kennedy; fairy tale retold 

Quarter 3

  1. The Canon of Memory: mnemonics, Augustine, memory palace
  2. The Canon of Delivery (Presentation): J. Hilton, Shakespeare
  3. Section 3 Exam
  4. Student Presentations: putting principles of Delivery into action
  5. Deliberative Rhetoric: goodness and happiness; Churchill, FDR
  6. Epideictic Rhetoric: beauty and virtue; Pericles, MacArthur 

Quarter 4

  1. Judicial Rhetoric: truth and justice; T. More, mock trial
  2. Fallacies and Sophistry: formal and informal fallacies, _Gorgias _
  3. Final Speeches: applying rhetorical principles
  4. Rhetoric in Current Events: research, analysis
  5. Section 4 Exam 

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.


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