Blended Genre: Creating a Commercial (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT persuade an audience by writing a commercial with argumentative, narrative, and expository elements

Big Idea

Do the three genres work independently? Or, are they blended?


What a tough time of year!  We recently were out for parent teacher conferences and then had a water main break which caused us to miss another two days of school.  The last time I saw my students was nearly two weeks ago.  Last time I saw them, we completed the three lessons in this unit over 1968.  I wanted something else that would allow them to think about argumentative text, integrate multiple sources of text and get them energized after a lengthy, accidental vacation.  

Thinking about a product

10 minutes

I am nervous!  I am putting technology into the hands of students today.  This video explains why putting technology into the hands of students is so important..  

Leading up to this assignment, I collected wrappers.  Lots of wrappers.  Students love food, gum and candy and normally they throw their wrappers away when they get to class.  I simply collected them.  I had a box full of chips, packages of pens, gum, bottled water, Gatorade, juice, candy, etc.  I randomly split students into groups of four-five students and I let each group choose one of the wrappers.  I told them to take five minutes and think about the product.  Why is it packaged the way it is?  What is the company selling?  Does the advertisement on the package contain persuasive appeals?  Exploring the wrapper advertisement as text and identifying the advertiser's purpose and the details that contribute to that purpose will help students understand persuasive advertisements and prepare them to write their own commercial (RI.9-10.1, RI.9-10.6).  

Writing the commercial

30 minutes

Advertisements are a great way for students to explore multi genre text and analyze how informative, narrative and argumentative text works together.  Two of my colleagues and I decided to embark on this new adventure.  I distribute the Narrative Informative Argumentative Commercial assignment and tell students they are creating a commercial to sell their chosen product (the wrapper they chose during warm ups).  This project requires that students collaboratively work together (SL.9-10.1a,b,c,d), present findings clearly (SL.9-10.3) while integrating multiple sources (SL.9-10.3).  They also have to identify narrative, argumentative and informative elements.  

I allowed students to group themselves today.  They are in groups of four-six.  Once grouped, I ask them to get out their wrapper.  I explain they are writing a one-minute commercial to sell their product.  Their commercial must have informative aspects which explain the facts to their consumer W.9-10.2), narrative aspects which tell a story to appeal to their consumer's emotions (W.9-10.3)and argumentative aspects which persuade their consumer to buy their product (W.9-10.1).  

All group members must have a job and they need to work together to collaborative design their commercial (SL.9-10.1).  Groups should attempt to use as many actors from the group as possible.  They will also need at least one person to record and perhaps a set manager to make sure it is running smoothly, make revisions on set, etc.  

Since this is the first time we will attempt this project, I don't have examples to show students.  Rather, while they are working, I will stop class and share examples.  I will walk around that help groups while they work on writing their commercial.  


Teacher Conference

10 minutes

Before class ends, I will meet with each group and ask them about their commercial.  I will ask that they explain to me the section of the commercial that is narrative, informative and argumentative.  Before students begin filming tomorrow, they have to conference with me.  Students should be able to justify their decisions.