In reflecting on yesterday's lesson as students prepared their presentations and we saw the first two, I have realized that analyzing print ads is a bit of a challenge for the students. The static nature and more hidden strategies such as fonts, placement of visuals, etc., coupled with the students' own reactions to the visuals, is creating some challenges--more so than for text only. However, it is difficult to assess exactly where the challenges are from the discussions and presentations alone—whether it is the context of the ads, or the lack of understanding regarding advertising strategies (I guess they haven’t watched enough Mad Men!), so I will add an individual written component today to get a more complete understanding of where individual students are regarding analysis of print advertising after completing the presentations.
Regarding the presentations, I will try to spend a little less time on each presentation. Yesterday we took about twenty minutes with each advertisement to thoroughly model the depth of analysis and how a main goal is to establish how the parts interact with one another to see how they develop central ideas in a text. This included me bringing up a lot of things the students did not notice. Today, I will certainly spend some time with each one so all of the students get a chance to learn from my questions, but I will try to keep an eye on the time so I can get to the writing component.
Today there are still four groups that have to do presentations, and I want to honor the work they've put into it, knowing that I will be adding to their presentations for a more complete learning experience. As explained in the "overview," yesterday I interjected frequently, asking lots of questions about how different elements were interacting together to establish the rhetorical situation, purpose, central ideas, etc., including pointing out many items in the text that they may not have noticed. Now that I've modeled that, I want to limit the presentations a little bit today due to time, and to have students do the writing component. To do this I will focus on some particular elements. The particular skill I will emphasize is how one part of the image, or size of the image, or placement, or font, etc., is working in the context of the others. The students in the first two presentations were focused on individual parts and explaining those, rather than looking at the narrative the images and strategies make together. I think this idea of the static image telling a story through the elements might help students apply their analysis skills, since they have been thoroughly versed in analyzing narrative from previous English classes. So this will be the nature of my questioning as we listen to the presentations.
My hope is to keep each one to around seven to ten minutes so we can move to the individualized written assessment and have enough time to accomplish it.