This past week was Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) week. There is no ISAT test for English, so I did not have to administer a test. Because the testing sessions in reading and math are longer than our normal class periods, we run a goofy schedule for the three days of those tests. During testing week, I try to do something ungraded and fun. I don’t have all of my students, and I don’t have them in their regular groupings. I also feel like they need a break from the vigor of testing. One year, we watched a movie and then they wrote an essay about it after testing was over, but I think what the kids really need during ISAT week, in their non-testing classes, is to be able to relax and socialize a bit.
This year, with my 7th graders, I did a persuasive techniques in advertising lesson. It is loosely based on this ReadWriteThink lesson: Persuasive Techniques in Advertising Lesson Plan. I am not going to outline the lesson in detail, but you can get an idea of what I do by looking at the Google presentation I use to teach it: Google Persuasive Techniques Presentation
Basically, we go over demographics and advertising techniques. Then, we watch a few commercials together on YouTube and discuss the demographic they were geared towards and the technique used. In groups, I have the students do the “Commercial Dig” worksheet (my modification here: Worksheet). They have to find six commercials on YouTube and analyze them.
Then, they choose one to share with the class. Before presenting, they explain the product, the demographic the ad targets, and the persuasive techniques used. After we all watch the video, we discuss if there are additional techniques used that the group didn’t mention. Some years, if I have time, I’ll have the kids create a commercial of their own with a group. This year, we didn’t have enough time so we left that part off.
The kids love looking at commercials on YouTube. They get really excited about showing theirs to the class. If we have extra time, they beg to show another. Obviously some teacher supervision is required here. I had to veto a few commercials, such as the Kmart “Ship My Pants” and a couple of alcohol ones. However, for the most part, the kids understand the boundaries of classroom appropriateness and find some great commercials.
Since I don’t watch much T.V., most of the commercials they showed were new to me. Here are some of my favorites that we watched:
Toyota Persian Cat Commercial (spoiler: the cat lives)
Doritos “Time Machine”
Evian “Roller Babies”
Doritos “Don’t Touch My Mama”
Radio Shack “In with the New”
We all have so much fun with this lesson, which is just what we need in the midst of testing! What is your favorite commercial? Link it in the comments! I love watching good commercials.