Admongo: Deconstructing Commercial Messages
As mentioned earlier in this blog, at the 11th Annual Northeast Media Literacy Conference at UConn I am presenting a talk titled “CCSS and Media Literacy in the Classroom: Communications and Critical Thinking through Promotional and Public Service Messages.” As a service to those attending the conference and to followers of this blog and the Moving Images textbook, here are notes and links included in my presentation.
First, it is important to review principles of media literacy: here are the essentials at the NAMLE website.
Then, on to what educators face as principal challenges in curriculum development today: the Common Core State Standards. For media literacy professionals, the following descriptions are the essentials. For Reading Literature: Analyze the representation of a subject or key scene in two different artistic mediums (RL/9-10:7); Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (RL/11-12:7). For Reading Informational Texts: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (incl. multimedia).. (RI/9-10:7); also, integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem (RI/11-12:7). For Speaking and Listening, students must make strategic use of digital media (incl. audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (SL/9-12:5) Finally, in History/Social Studies and Science/Technical Subjects, learners have to make strategic use of digital media (incl. audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (SL/9-12:5)
For resources specific to the investigation of commercials, one of the best places to begin is at Frank Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse, where there is a homepage for materials on critical thinking about advertising. For educators of elementary and middle grades, there is the Federal Trade Commission resource Admongo, which features many exercises and lessons. From my own materials related to Moving Images, there is an extended interview on this blog with advertising copywriter Kevin Goff, and links to commercials can be found. These can be evaluated using such models as those of the Instructor’s Resources with Moving Images or this lesson from the MLC pages: Deconstructing a TV ad. Recent ads have come under quite a bit of scrutiny, such as the commercials during this year’s Super Bowl.
Other examples used during the presentation are for investigative work done by students using such exposes as PBS’s Merchants of Cool and Digital Nation and Media Education Foundation’s Killing Us Softly and The Bro Code . Using selected parts of these media reports as a basis, students must research topics offered by their teachers and create presentations based on the media questions that are most appropriate. The attached Unit Activity Guide – Critical Analysis 5b Lesson Plan – was drafted for work with Merchants of Cool and Digital Nation in conjunction with Chapter 5 of Moving Images.
As for examples from my classes that are shared during the presentation, those are for attendees – so I look forward to seeing some of you media literacy educators there!
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