Friday, January 31, 2014

Persuasive Texts and Media: Guest Post with Looking From Third to Fourth

I am so excited to be a guest blogger here today!! I'm Anne (or AMC) from Looking From Third to Fourth. I wanted to share with you some of the activities we did in our classroom this month while learning about persuasive texts and media. I love to combine our units persuasive texts and media literacy and to do this I use commercials. There are so many to choose from and they can be used in so many ways. One reason I love using commercials is that students easily relate to and make connections with commercials. Also commercials are a great entry point for students who are reading below grade level and English Language Learners to participate in class discussions and build their confidence in citing evidence. It is a great scaffold - having students identify the purpose, audience and techniques used in a commercial before having to do the same with what they have read. I teach in Ontario and using commercials definitely addresses our Media Literacy expectations but it also addresses standards from the Common Curriculum. Here are a few that I think you can cover:  

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas  
*Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7)  
*Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8) *Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9)

Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration  
*Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 )

The first commercial I like to use is this one from Nissan for the Leaf Electric car.

This commercial generates a lot of discussion in my class. First we have a hard time figuring out what the product is. We discuss how we feel about the polar bear at the beginning of the commercial. Then we discuss what the product is, once we finally figure it out, and who the target audience is. This commercial shows that we need to look at target audience a little more specifically then just adults - this is geared towards people who care about the environment and want to make changes. It also helps us look at techniques - this commercial definitely has an emotional appeal - don't you want to help save polar bears!! After watching and discussing this commercial we view more commercials for vehicles so that we can compare and contrast the target audiences and techniques. I use the Chrysler 300 commercial and the Toyota Sienna commercials with my class to get a wide range of target audiences and techniques. You could also use truck commercials - they definitely have a different target audience and message then the Nissan Leaf commercial. To help my students with their response pages I post these two anchor charts and we make an interactive note.
We also work on our critical thinking skills by watching commercials. Our reading series has two great stories dealing with misleading advertisements. There is also a great series of videos called Buy Me That Too dealing with advertising and kids. There is also this commercial on the house hippo that would be a great lead in to this discussion. My students can always make connections to a time they felt a commercial misled them - they get so excited to share their story. Two fun activities are to run your own taste test for colas to see if they can taste the difference or to watch a fast food commercial and pause on a shot of the food - then pull out a bag with the actual food from that restaurant to compare. After watching the Buy Me That videos and reading our stories we create an anchor chart with some "look-fors" that let us know advertisers may not be telling us the whole truth - like "part of a nutricious breakfast" and "fruity" or "chocolatey". We also look for the "fine print" in advertisments.
As a culminating task for this unit I usually have my students create an advertisement - either a 1 page ad or a commercial. It is a great time to integrate language with social studies. My students usually create an advertisement to entice Europeans to move to North America or a tourism ad for a region/province/city in Canada depending on which we are currently studying. This year we just ran out of time. So I had my students create a product (they could base it on a current product - just add their own ideas to it). Then they decided on a celebrity that would endorse their product and made the celebrity. Here we have Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry endorsing our products! Students added a speech bubble for their celebrity. They also completed a reflection page.
You can pick up a freebie pack I made with the response pages, anchor charts, interactive notebook page and links to commercials and videos. Click here to check it out.

I am always on the look out for more commercials to use - especially since I teach the same group of students for two years so I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions.
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  1. I love all of this! It sounds like a great project! And what an awesome freebie!

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
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  2. What a great idea!!! I will definitely be printing and using! Thanks!
    Pinkadots Elementary

  3. Since fifth grade has dropped our Junior Achievement program, I will certainly be pinning this post for later in the year. Commercials are so motivating for students, since it's something so familiar to them. And with the Super Bowl coming up, maybe you'll find a bunch more to use!

    The freebie is outstanding - thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  4. This is so fun! Even though we don't HAVE to teach persuasion in media, it's a great way to point out how they are persuaded DAILY! Thanks so much for the freebie! :o)

  5. Wow, this is amazing AMC!! This is something that students can definitely identify with and gets the point across quickly to them that persuasion is everywhere! I love the use of media in this and I know it actively engages students! I'm so excited to try this AND you've provided an amazing freebie! Thank you so much!! I can't wait to try this!!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. This was the perfect time of year for this post! I will be looking at the Super Bowl commercials for added ideas. Thank you for sharing the packet as well!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  7. Great, interactive activity. Very thorough! I agree, this is perfect for this time of year with the Super Bowl! It is such an important skill to teach students. You can't trust everything commercials say!

    Eclectic Educating

  8. LOVE it! I remember learning this when I was in school and it was one of my favorite units! The Super Bowl commercials should add great discussions in our classrooms! Thank you for your generosity!!!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  9. Great information! My kids have been trying to understand this... thanks for the resources!

  10. It is no longer on teacher pay teacher. Where did it go?


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