When students arrive to class, there are three separate print advertisements shown on the Smart Board. Each student will do a full analysis of one of the ads based on his or her last name. I have also done this activity before where I grouped the students in a somewhat needs-based fashion, but that did not really garner the results I was hoping for, so I kept it simple this time.
Advertisement #1 = A-G
Advertisement #2 = H-Q
Advertisement #3 = R-Z
I give the students five minutes to write about what demographics are being solicited to, and what elements of P.E.L. are being addressed. I require the students only to list concepts and ideas that stand out, but remind them that they will be expected to justify their responses with specifics as well. Some students choose to include both in the notes they take at this time.
After giving them five minutes to work independently, I lead the class through a roughly 10 minute discussion of each advertisement. Only students who were assigned each particular ad are allowed to actively participate in the discussion at each point, but the other students are expected to take notes as well.
I particularly enjoyed how the grouping allowed for increased student participation because only an approximate third of the class could actively participate at any given time. This led to more students sharing with the class that are less inclined to volunteer during discussions, and that was great.
I found that very few students needed me to assist them in being on task when it wasn't their assigned ad during this time as well. I address my thoughts on why this is the case in the reflection placed in this section.
We then watch 2 commercials and participate in a discussion of the elements present. I show one of the commercials and then ask the students to share the elements that stand out to them and to explain the impact of said element.
I like to use a different set of examples for this for each class, simply because it helps to keep me thinking and engaged as well. By the last hour of the day, this helps the lesson to still feel pretty fresh for me, and that helps me to remain engaging for the kids.
I like to use food brands or fast food/restaurants, video or board games, and also house cleaning products the most. I find these commercials to not only meet the needs pretty consistently of the task, but they are also pretty familiar to the kids. When the kids have a familiarity with an ad, but are looking at it from a very different perspective, they are a bit more engaged in the process.