Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vote for Me: Elections Unit Study: Week 5

Good morning students! This lesson involves pulling a lot of the work you've done as a candidate into one media product: Your web presence. Your slogan, your poster, and now your video ad will all be part of your web ad. I've given you a very simple HTML template to manage it all, which you can customize and expand according to your comfort and abilities with HTML. You'll need a place to host your poster image and a place to host your video - if this gives you trouble, I can definitely help. I would love to see some of your videos!

Here is the PDF for this week's lessons: Vote for Me! Week 5: Commercial Break

Media: Analyzing Different Types of Ads

We want our students to be able to hear or see a campaign commercial and really break it down into its components, understand the agenda behind it, and analyze the way its message is being formed. The goal here is to make wiser, more savvy voters who think critically about what they hear and see on the radio and on TV. When you’re watching television, watch the campaign ads and discuss. It’s not necessarily that important what’s right and wrong in the ads, but that the students are learning to think about *why* various decisions were made in the ad’s production and what effect the ads are having on them in ways they may not have noticed.

Film-making: Filming Your Campaign Ad

This should be fun, fun, fun! If the child ends up reading the speech instead of looking into the camera, fine! If they end up having a finished product that doesn’t live up to their expectations, just laugh, congratulate them on their first attempt, and move on. It’s all about the process — all the little decisions and plans and putting it all together. They’re putting themselves in the candidates’ shoes to see what it feels like to try and sell yourself to people you don’t know who will be judging you on all kinds of things like your hair and the photos on your desk.

History: Famous Political Ads Throughout TV History (Online)

Thinking: Spin Worksheet

The purpose of this worksheet is to encourage critical thinking, to help the students to see how a fact can be skewed in different directions, and to again lead them to be more savvy as they absorb messages in the media. While the facts they’ll be spinning aren’t necessarily political, they’re good practice. When you hear or see examples of spin in the media, you might want to point them out. They might also benefit from exposure to a “Crossfire” type show on television.

Computer Science: HTML Template for Online Ad

Here’s a bit of code for developing your online ads, if you’d like to do that.

Individual PDFs to download, in case you don't want the whole lesson:

Analyzing the Ads

Filming Your Campaign Ad

Spin Worksheet

HTML Template

Previous lessons:

Week 4: A Poster You Can Believe In
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?

Download the whole unit so far: Vote for Me

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