Hi future politicians of this fine country! Is it just me or are you noticing the road sides covered with signs promoting the different candidates? Some of them just have the candidates' names, but some have slogans like "Peace, Prosperity, and Reform!" or "Yes We Can!". As we get closer and closer to Election Day, we will be seeing more and more of these posters, along with other graphics like t-shirts, bumper stickers, and campaign literature in our doorways, and we will be hearing slogans louder and louder. This week is about figuring out how these posters and slogans are made by making our own. As we notice what's happening around us, we'll be learning to analyze the messages we're receiving, and make sense of some of the visuals we encounter.
Here is the PDF for this week's lessons: Vote for Me! Week 4: A Poster You can Believe In
Graphic Design: Elements of a Good Poster
Here we examine campaign posters from various candidates to try and find the common elements and decide what makes a good poster. It is a great time to notice posters on the road side and compare and contrast the different decisions made by these various designers. Which ones can you read best? Which one on each corner draws your eye most effectively? If there’s any way you can get your hands on a wide variety of campaign material for them to examine and compare, that would really help.
Photography: Choosing a Good Image
This exercise will be lots of fun. The ultimate purpose is to have the students feel the pressure of expressing themselves through a facial expression, and understand better what the “real” candidates are going through as they pose for pictures. While it may seem superficial, a lot of time is spent on the candidate’s choices in wardrobe and hair and even the way they smile. The students will come away from this lesson with a better grasp of that.
Thinking: How Much Can You Remember?
This game demonstrates the need for slogans to be short in order to be memorable. However, the bonus section, where the students write their own gradually inflated slogans, can turn into a nice little grammar exercise too. Use all the opportunities when you see political slogans on TV or on posters around town to discuss how memorable they are, how effective they are, and what candidates they’re promoting.
Social Studies: Slogans Past and Present
Here’s a research exercise for the students, and an opportunity to develop their own slogans for their own campaigns. Whatever they come up with is great, though they should start being aware of how the slogans work as chants, how they look on a poster, whether they rhyme, and other rhetorical considerations. Again, finding real examples to look at will help.
Song: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too
Individual PDFs to download, in case you don't want the whole lesson:
Elements of a Good Poster
What Makes a Good Image
How Much Can You Remember?
Slogans Past and Present
Song: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too
That's it! A lot to digest. Some pretty heavy thinking and writing going on, but keep it personal, keep it meaningful, and have fun with it!
Week 3: The Platform and the Stump
Week 2: Unconventional Conventions
Week 1: Let's Get This Party Started
Prelude Class: What's an Election?