Media Literacy Unit Plan - Mr. Furman's Educational Website
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Mid-Term Unit Plan
Media Literacy Unit
What’s in an Advertisement? Seeing Through the Hype
Natalie M. Schaff
ECOMP 6016 Billings, MT
Introduction to Business—Media Literacy Unit
What’s in an Advertisement? Seeing Through the Hype.
Introduction Business Students—Grades 9-12
Objectives, Content, and Standards:
The primary focus of this unit will be on students developing an awareness of media’s influence on society as well as students practicing the necessary skills to critically analyze the media messages found in all aspects of their environment. Students will learn the five key questions of media literacy and discover common advertising techniques through daily on-line activities, reflection and discussion. A team produced multi-media project will be created to be presented to a group of their peers.
The multi-media project will require students to deconstruct one commercial message meant for TV or the Web, one commercial message meant for print, and one commercial message that promotes social change, public service, or a political purpose. Students will use the five key questions of media literacy and their understanding of common advertising techniques to analyze/deconstruct each ad. Student pairs will develop presentations that will include an embedded TV commercial link and two digital commercial images. Team analysis will be delivered to the class through their own digital video introductions as well as embedded audio clips using Windows Sound Recorder or the recording feature within PowerPoint. Completed projects will be published to our class website.
The following Montana State Standards for Media Literacy will be addressed in this unit.
• Content Standard 1—Students recognize that media messages are constructed using specific techniques which manipulate sound, image, text and movement to convey meaning.
• Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of media for a variety of purposes.
• Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze and evaluate the impacts of media on individuals and societies.
Students will complete a multi-media presentation that will illustrate their understanding of and application of the essential questions of media literacy. They will provide three advertising media examples to show how persuasive advertising techniques are used in daily media venues to influence consumer spending, brand awareness and loyalty.
See rubric in resources.
Evidence of Informating:
• hands on production of a peer to peer public service presentation using digital equipment, materials and sources
• delivery of public service presentation to peers
• web publishing of public service presentation for a wider audience
• deconstruction of media messages for critical thinking and analysis
Required Hardware and Software:
• Computers with Internet connections
• Digital Video Camera
• Windows Sound Recorder
• Microsoft Word
• Microsoft PowerPoint
Unit Overview/Lesson Plans
Day 1— Introduction to Media Literacy
1. Print and laminate posters (see resources) defining Media Literacy, Five Core Concepts, Five Key Questions, Four Process Skills, and the Empowerment Spiral. Randomly hand the posters out to groups to help introduce the topic of media literacy and to generate discussion. Posters will be hung up around the classroom at the conclusion of the activity.
2. Use following video links to further define media literacy.
What is Media Literacy?
3. View and discuss teen produced public service announcement:
“People or Puppets? Media’s Stronghold on Youth Culture”.
Topic: The effects of media and advertising on teenagers.
Day 2 & 3—Student Reflection and Response to Consumerism & Commercialism
1. Hand out and discuss cartoon strips-poking fun at advertising and the public they target. (see resources)
2. Read the following on-line articles and write down at least four points of interest from each article that are worthy of further thought and discussion.
“What Are You Worth? Audience For Sale”
“Rise of an Image Culture”
3. Use these points of interest as topics to express your own point of view, thoughts, and feelings on our classroom blog .
4. Read blog responses. Note and respond to points of view.
Day 4 & 5—Techniques of Ad Persuasion—Making Sense of Ads
1. Discuss and provide examples of frequent advertising persuasion and critical consumer question techniques (see resources)
• Techniques of Persuasion
• Ad Technique Critique Form
• Use of Color Handout
2. Follow these links for additional persuasion techniques.
“How to Analyze an Advertisement”
Common Advertising Strategies
3. As a class, follow the links from the “Making Sense of Ads” web page.
• What is the ad trying to do?
Interactive activity—Match the ad to its purpose.
• Who is the intended audience?
Interactive activity—Match the ad to the magazine where it first appeared.
• Strategies are used to sell the product?
Interactive activity—Roll over each ad to see the different selling strategies.
• What do ads reveal or conceal about an era?
Interactive activity—Match each ad to the year it was produced.
• What else do you need to know to understand an ad?
Interactive activity—What do you need to understand to analyze an infamous political ad?
4. Read “Brands R Us: How Advertising Works”
Respond to the following questions posted on our classroom blog.
• In the author’s opinion, how does advertising work?
• How can you reduce the influence of advertising on your life?
• Do you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view? Why?
Day 6-7—“The Persuaders”
Watch PBS Produced Frontline documentary, "The Persuaders", which reports on the cultures of marketing and advertising and how this influences what we buy and how we view ourselves.
Hand out and read through the AMA Statement of Ethics (American Marketing Association)
Use discussion questions provided in the teacher guide to direct discussion in groups. Record points of discussion in classroom blog.
Day 8-9—Your Turn to Critique
Advertisements online—Practice, in teams of two, analyzing persuasion techniques and answering the key questions of media literacy using one ad from .
Use the critique sheets, advertising persuasion handouts, and AMA Statement of Ethics to organize thoughts. Answer the five key media literacy questions listed below, fill out the Advertising 101 critique sheet and determine whether the ad you chose follows the ethical standards set forth by the AMA. Be prepared to share the ad that you picked and your conclusions of the ad with the class. (see resources)
1. Who created this message?
2. What techniques are used to capture my attention?
3. How might different people understand this message differently from me?
4. What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented or omitted?
5. Why was this message sent?
6. What advertising techniques were used?
Day 10-20—Student Produced Projects
Introduce Media Lit Unit project to student teams. Demonstrate a bare bones sample PowerPoint to help illustrate project expectations.
Demonstrate how to use the necessary software and hardware needed to create the final project, such as how to use the digital video camera and Windows Sound Recorder, how to collect advertisement samples and how to embed audio and video links into PowerPoint.
Students will use their understanding of media to produce a multi-media project with the purpose to inform its audience on what media literacy is and how to critically “read” various media messages in day to day media interaction.
1. Script and storyboard of project idea
2. PowerPoint Presentation with the following elements:
a. Student produced digital video introduction
b. One television or web based commercial, one commercial designed for print media, one commercial designed to promote social change, public service, or a political purpose
c. Television commercials and print advertisements can not be duplicated.
d. Student produced audio analysis of each media example
e. At least one opportunity for audience participation or discussion
f. Student produced conclusion using audio or video with audio.
3. Presentation to the class
Permissible Project Links and Resources:
• Commercial images in the student data folder
Sample TV Commercial Links: (More will be added later)
• Audi—Wrinkle Free Dog
• Toyota –Rival Couple for RAV4
• i-talk –Apple Cell Phone
• Sprint –Crime Protection
• Sony –Cell Phone
• Telegraph –Cell Phone Satire
Sample Political Ads
Variation of Unit Wrap-up
Post print media examples and TV commercials on the blog and have students answer the five key media lit questions and advertising techniques used within the ad to attract its target audience. They could then choose one add to spoof and develop their own commercial demonstrating the spoof.
Brands R Us: How Advertising Works. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
CML MediaLit"! Kit Handouts (Color version). Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
Color & Meaning in Advertising. Color Wheel . Retrieved January 3, 2007 from
Common Advertising Strategies. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved January 5, 2007 from
Ethical Norms and Values for Marketers. Marketing Power, Inc. Retrieved January 8, 2007 from
Holt, Reinhart and Winston. Five Key Questions of Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
Holt, Reinhart and Winston. What is Media Literacy? Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
How to Analyze an Advertisement. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
People or Puppets? Media’s Stronghold on Youth Culture. ListenUp! Retrieved December 14, 2006 from
Montana Standards for Media Literacy. Montana Office of Public Instruction. Retrieved January 1, 2007 from
Pope, D. Making Sense of Advertisements. History Matters. The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
Rise of an Image Culture. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
The Persuaders. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved January 8, 2007 from
What Are You Worth? Audience for Sale. Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved December 30, 2006 from
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