Social Commentary Genre Analysis: Station Rotation (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT demonstrate an ability to determine an author's/artists's point of view by analyzing a variety of social commentary genres in various stations.

Big Idea

We've looked at our novels as social commentary. Now it's time to look at modern examples of this style of writing so that we can begin to think about ways to create our own.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with students during this time. 

Setting up Station Purpose and Structure

10 minutes

As my students and I move away from looking at our Dystopian novels as social commentary and begin working towards the creation of our own social commentaries, I want to expose the teenagers to a wider variety of styles within this genre. 

To do this, I will ask students to work in small groups of their choosing to analyze a variety of sample texts, images, video clips and songs, but before I let them move into these groups, we will practice together using Chris Jordan's artwork. Using artwork, specifically by this artist, is a really great way to look at how an artist/author develops his message through the various pieces he puts together (RI.9-10.5).

I choose to use this website as our whole group practice for a couple of reasons. First, I want to model the depth of thinking I am looking for in their thinking and writing (in the note-catcher provided). Second, it is hard to understand Jordan's artwork without seeing it large. We will look at two images, Unsinkable and Barbie Dolls. I'm not married to these two pieces of art because I think they are his best, but I think they are easy for students to interpret quickly, which allows me to practice with them and not take too much time from their own time with the other samples. 

I will ask students to share their observations and analysis orally (SL.9-10.1) and will listen for use of specific detail to back up their responses, so that I can celebrate that kind of thinking. Once I feel like I've been able to use their responses to highlight the way I want them to analyze the sample texts, I will ask them to choose their groups and begin visiting stations. 

Social Commentary Stations

30 minutes

For the remainder of the period, I will ask students to spend about five minutes at each station. I will monitor time while I wander the room to check in on their analysis and thinking. Each station presents a different style of social commentary (i.e. memes, art, writing, film, etc.). I can't include pictures/samples here, but I encourage you to search for each of the styles listed and find images that your students will respond to, like this picture of a yarn-bombed bench (yep--yarn bombing is a thing!). For each style of social commentary, we included at least one example (either a set of pictures, a printed article, a video clip). 

Since we are looking at these pieces as model texts for their own social commentaries, I want students to focus on the style, message and characteristics of each genre, which means they are essentially researching to inform their own creative process (W.9-10.7). However, I will remind them that they won't agree with every idea that is presented, so I will encourage them to think about how point of view and rhetoric match style and purpose (RI.9-10.6). I will also encourage them to think about why and how some ideas might be exaggerated to push a particular kind of reasoning (SL.9-10.3)

There are ten stations, so students will not be able to visit every station in the time we have. I will tell them to make sure they get a variety and will require each group to be at a unique station for each round. 

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

We will use our last few minutes of class to clean up the stations and get the room put back together. If there is time, I will ask students to share a few of their observations or to share what piece they liked best and why.