Most of what my students have been looking at when dealing with persuasive advertisements in previous lessons have been static images or words, so I wanted them to start connecting how imagery and word choice are important in video commercials as well. The exit-ticket for the class period before this one will ask the students “How do you think we might evaluate videos differently than posters?”
I didn’t want to use precious class time to research and watch videos, so instead the students are going to be doing the main activity of this lesson at home. As they are exploring different mediums that persuasive writing can take, the students are getting closer to the end of unit assessment, creating their own advertisement. They will be put into pairs in class; each group has the option to narrate a PSA, create a poster, act out a commercial, or any other teacher-approved method they can think of to either sell a product or bring awareness to an issue.
The students will be tasked with going home and watching commercials aired during any of the SuperBowls of the last five years. They have to pick four commercials to analyze by completing the following evaluation. I wanted to make sure that the students were watching commercials with appropriate content, and SuperBowl commercials are overseen by the Broadcast Standards and Practices, ensuring that the commercials would be safe for my middle-schoolers to watch.
By having the students do this assignment at home, they are all able to work at their own pace. They can watch videos that truly interest them and answer the evaluations truthfully without worrying about what their peers think. I think the hardest part of them will be the last question, which is “Why should somebody NOT buy this product?”. I want the students to learn to try and see the other side of an argument or why they shouldn’t always believe everything paid advertisements say.
When the students come in, they will answer a bell-ringer question of “What was most surprising to you watching these commercials?” We will also have a whole-class discussion to debrief on what they saw and how it connects to what they have previously learned regarding persuasive writing techniques. I will be able to tell who completed the assignment by asking them about the videos they watched, and I will be able to see if they can connect their videos to the concepts of Pathos, Logos, and Ethos by taking a general poll: “Raise your hand if your favorite of the four videos used [P/L/E]. [Student,] explain why.”
The students will then pair themselves off, or choose to work alone, and decide what product they want to sell or what important issue they want to highlight. They also need to decide how they are going to present their information. They will start researching their topic and I will be there to bounce between groups and give help where needed. When they finish their large project at the end of one week of working on it in class, they will present it to me and their classmates.