an advertising unit & modeling for students

I'm doing a unit on advertising. I want students to apply the same analytical techniques we've used with literature on mass media, and so the unit includes some formal analysis, some response to texts and a chance to design and pitch an advertising campaign. It's a popular unit and more relevant now as many of my current grade 10s will take the IB Diploma Literature and Language course.

I use the association model for understanding how modern advertising works, and I condensed it into this slide show, which seems to be simple enough to get a quick understanding but detailed enough to be widely useful:

I also have some reference material about the language of advertising specifically.

I modelled some analysis of advertisements, both print and video clips, and then they worked through some ads in small groups, presenting their analysis for class discussion. Then they start to work on the formal analytical assignment. Last week, I was going to give them time to look for ads and start planning their paragraphs, and they asked for a model. So we went through the process together, planning on the white board and writing a paragraph on the Smartboard, which I posted on the class website.

A couple of observations about the process:

  1. Most of what I am doing is responding to their requests for information. I go through the initial presentation fairly quickly, but they are hungry for me to model specific skills and processes and then have supervised practice and development of their own ideas. I am teaching from the front (or rather the keyboard), partially because the field of knowledge is quite new to them, but it is on demand from them rather than set by me beforehand.

  2. After I had done the writing and answered questions, we had fifteen minutes for them to look at ads and show me what they were thinking about. They looked at each other's ads and told what they thought of them, for better or worse. They were able to identify the techniques for each other and identify whether or not they met the demands of the assignment; eavesdropping on those conversations as I moved around the room allowed me to assess their learning as well if not better than a more formal assessment would.