Financial Literacy and Media Messages

Unit Overview

Context

In these lessons, students will explore the message and meaning presented by a variety of media texts. They will have the opportunity to create their own media text that conveys a message. Lesson 2 will conclude with students using their bodies and movement to communicate a message. Students will discuss the impact of non-verbal communication as a means of communicating an idea in a creative dance piece.

Lessons

Lesson 1 - Get the Message

In this lesson, students will look critically at a variety of advertisements. They will interpret media messages in advertising and consider how we react as consumers. Students will examine Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and identify why they are created and how they, as consumers, react to them. They will then select a social justice or socio-economic issue and create a piece of visual art to convey a message.

Lesson 2 - Dancing the Issues

Students will use creative movement to communicate a message about social justice and socio-economic issues. They will conclude the lesson by using creative movement to communicate a message in an ABA pattern dance sequence, using their visual art piece as a stimulus.

Lesson 1 - Get the Message

Lesson Overview

Estimated Time: 200 minutes

In this lesson, students will look critically at a variety of advertisements. They will interpret media messages in advertising and consider how we react as consumers. Students will examine Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and identify why they are created and how they, as consumers, react to them. They will then select a social justice or socio-economic issue and create a piece of visual art to convey a message.  

Connections to Financial Literacy

Connections to financial literacy can be made in Visual Arts, in which students consider the relationship between arts, the community, and media. Connections can also be made in all strands of the arts curriculum as students develop skills related to reflecting, responding, and self-awareness in all of the arts. These skills are transferable and can be applied in contexts involving financial issues, including situations where they need to be critical consumers. In addition, ideas and themes related to socio-economic issues can be explored through all of the arts.

Curriculum Expectations

D. Visual Arts

D1. Creating and Presenting

  • D1.3 use elements of design in art works to communicate ideas, messages, and understandings

D2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analyzing

  • D2.2 explain how the elements and principles of design are used in their own and others’ art work to communicate meaning and understanding

Expectations in which explicit connections can be made to financial literacy can be found in the Media Literacy strand. Through learning to recognize overt and implied message in advertising and other media texts, students can develop the critical thinking skills that they need as consumers.

Media Literacy

1. Understanding Media Texts

  • 1.1 explain how a variety of media texts address their intended purpose and audience
  • 1.2 interpret media texts, using overt and implied messages as evidence for their interpretations

Learning Goals

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to

  • identify the purpose of media texts
  • identify the audience of media texts
  • look at media critically
  • communicate the difference between implied and overt messages
  • use the principles of design to create visual art that conveys a message

Instructional Components and Context

Readiness

Students are encouraged to have experience with a variety of media texts. Students should have previous experience differentiating between print and film ads and should be able to identify key differences. Critical thinking will be used widely throughout this lesson, and prior experience and exposure to higher order questioning and reasoning is recommended.

Terminology

Media Literacy

Audience
Visual stimulus

Social Justice

Poverty
Consumerism
Global aid
Racism
Conservation
Global warming
Equality
Unity
Peace

Materials

Video Projector
Chart paper and markers
Magazines
Newspapers
Brochures
BLM #1 Issues Assessment Checklist
BLM #2 Issues Self-Assessment Reflection

 

Lesson Plan

Minds On

Whole Class > Identifying Different Types of Advertisements

Begin by asking students to identify what advertising is. Prompts: Who can provide me with an example of an advertisement? What type of advertisement is that? Why do we advertise? Students are encouraged to identify examples they have seen both on television and in print. Ask students to identify the differences and similarities between the purpose of print and television advertisements, and have them record these ideas in the Venn diagram. For additional information and resources see http://www.media-awareness.ca.

Next, present the class with three different magazine images. The first two should feature a product, but cover any words. The final image should be a photograph from a magazine article. Post the three images for students to see and refer to each one. Ask students to identify whether each image is an advertisement or a photograph. Prompts: Is this image an ad or a photograph? How do you know? What are the distinguishing features of each? Ask additional questions to arrive at the distinguishing characteristics between images that promote a product, and ones that do not.

Finally, present to students two new advertisements; one which contains a product, and another ad that does not contain a product (e.g. a lifestyle or vacation ad). Ask students to identify the differences and similarities between the ads. Prompts: What is the message for each of these ads? Which one do you believe is more effective? Ask students to identify that in some cases the product is an experience.

Connections

Connections: Ask students to use their understanding of advertising all around us to think critically about the purpose and audience for public service announcements.  

Differentiation: Students may require the opportunity for oral talk with a peer (think/pair/share) before engaging in class discussion. Provide students with additional time for discussion where required.

Assessment for learning: Anecdotal notes can be taken to record student understanding and to drive the next portion of the lesson.

 

Action!

Whole Class/Small Group > Reacting as a Consumer

Ask students to consider the purpose of other genres or forms of advertisements. Tell students that they will be watching another type of advertisement called a “Public Service Announcement.” Show students two different video clips from Concerned Children’s Advertisers. Encourage students to consider the purpose of each advertisement.

“Words Hurt”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8TpwylLkMw
“The Chase”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EsY9g3jiLw&NR=1

Key Questions for Discussion:

What was the purpose of each of these advertisements?
Why might they have been created?
What are these advertisements promoting?
How did you react when you saw each advertisement?
What is the purpose of an advertisement?

Have students identify that the purpose of some advertisements is informational, while the purpose of others is to sell a product.

Next, have students watch the clip, “Media Monkey” from Concerned Children’s Advertisers.  
http://www.cca-kids.ca/psas/media_literacy.html (This clip can also be found on YouTube).
Ask students to consider the message of this advertisement. Prompts: What is the message of this advertisement? How do you know this? Who is the intended audience? Have students identify that this advertisement wants children to think for themselves, without relying on advertisements.

Tell students they are going to take what they now know about different types of advertisements and apply that knowledge to analyse ads. Have students create a list of criteria for effective advertisements. Refer to BLM #1 Issues Assessment Checklist to aid in the co-creation of the list.

Place students into small groups of 3 to 4 and provide them with a variety of print ads, both advertising a product and ones that provide the public with information. Invite students to analyze the ads in these groups using the following questions as guidelines:
What is the message of the advertisement?
Who is the intended audience?
Is this an effective ad? Why or why not?

Ask students to consider the number of words in the advertisement used to present an idea. They should also consider the use of colour, position, layout, words (descriptors) and any other elements that make ads more appealing. Prompts: How does the text and image relate to one another? Could this ad still promote its message without words, without images, or do they rely on one another? What elements might make some ads more effective than others?”

Invite students to share their analysis with the class.

Connections

Connections: Students are encouraged to apply their previous understanding of effective messaging in advertisements to create a piece of visual art that conveys a message.

Differentiation: Provide video ads to students who are visual learners. If computer accessibility exists, consider placing some students at the computer to analyse video ads.

Assessment for learning: Circulate in the classroom while students are working in groups, engaging in conversations and assessing for student understanding. Anecdotal notes should be recorded both at this time, and when students share their print ad analysis with the class.

 

Consolidation

Individual > Using Visual Art to Convey a Message

Students will be asked to pick a social justice or socio-economic issue and create a piece of visual art to convey a message.  

Ask students to consider their previous analysis of advertisements, by considering the criteria chart previously created. Ask them to identify what made the ads attract consumer attention. Prompt: What elements supported the ads to effectively communicate their message? Have students consider the elements of design (see Ontario Arts Curriculum page 130) in print ads that made those ads most effective. They should consider the lines, colour, position (space), layout, and words in their responses. 

Invite students to select a topic from the following list of social justice and socio-economic issues:
poverty
consumerism
global aid
racism
conservation
global warming
equality
unity
peace

Students will create a print advertisement about one of these issues, taking into consideration:

  • Construction of reality – what is your message?
  • Representation:
  • What medium will you use?
  • What colours, shapes, techniques will you use to create an image?
  • What will attract the interest of the audience?
  • Audience – whom are you trying to attract?

Connections

Connections: Students will use the topics from their art piece as a stimulus for creative movement in lesson two.

Differentiation: Provide students with the opportunity to select a medium that works best for them as an individual. Allowing students to self-select their final task will yield more successful results for students as individual learners. Some students may need a scribe or technological assistance for the written reflection after their artwork has been created.

Assessment of learning: Students’ visual art piece will be evaluated using BLM #1 Issues Assessment Checklist and students’ independent reflection using BLM #2 Issues Self-Assessment Reflection sheet.

Lesson 2 - Dancing the Issues

Lesson Overview

Estimated Time: 60 minutes

Students will use creative movement to communicate a message about social justice and socio-economic issues. They will conclude the lesson by using creative movement to communicate a message in an ABA pattern dance sequence, using their visual art piece as a stimulus.

Connections to Financial Literacy

Connections to financial literacy can be made in Visual Arts, in which students consider the relationship between arts, the community, and media. Connections can also be made in all strands of the arts curriculum as students develop skills related to reflecting, responding, and self-awareness in all of the arts. These skills are transferable and can be applied in contexts involving financial issues, including situations where they need to be critical consumers. In addition, ideas and themes related to socio-economic issues can be explored through all of the arts.

D. Visual Arts

D1. Creating and Presenting

  • D1.3 use elements of design in art works to communicate ideas, messages, and understandings

D2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analyzing

  • D2.2 explain how the elements and principles of design are used in their own and others’ art work to communicate meaning and understanding

Expectations in which explicit connections can be made to financial literacy can be found in the Media Literacy strand. Through learning to recognize overt and implied message in advertising and other media texts, students can develop the critical thinking skills that they need as consumers.

Media Literacy

1. Understanding Media Texts

  • 1.1 explain how a variety of media texts address their intended purpose and audience
  • 1.2 interpret media texts, using overt and implied messages as evidence for their interpretations

Curriculum Expectations

Dance

A1. Creating and Presenting

  • A1.1 incorporate the use of props and materials into dance pieces they create
  • A1.4 combine the elements of dance in different ways to communicate a variety of ideas

A2. Reflecting, Responding and Analysing

  • A2.1 construct personal interpretations of dance pieces that depict stories, issues and themes, and explain their interpretations using dance terminology
  • A2.2 analyse, using dance vocabulary, how the elements of dance are used in their own and others’ dance pieces and explain how they help communicate messages and ideas

Learning Goals

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to

  • use the elements of dance to communicate a message or idea
  • use props to enhance a dance piece
  • reflect and interpret other’s dance pieces that present an issue
  • use the elements of dance to communicate a message
  • reflect on the message of their own and other’s dance pieces
  • communicate how the elements of dance are used to communicate a message

Instructional Components and Context

Readiness

Students are encouraged to review their notes about media messaging and effective advertising. Refer students to www.media-awareness.ca to review various aspects related to advertising which will be highlighted in this lesson. They should have a solid understanding of non-verbal messaging from the previous lesson. Students should also have a solid foundation of social justice and socio-economic issues, and should be able to apply this knowledge to a dance piece that they create.

Terminology

Personal space
Body storming
Levels
Tempo
Body
Prop
Stimulus
Elements of dance
Phrase
Sequence
Locomotor and non-locomotor movement
ABA
Flocking
Canon

Materials

Music for creative movement
Scarves (substitute streamers or fabric if necessary)
Chart paper and markers
Pictures of poverty
BLM #3 Peer Reflection Sheet

Lesson Plan

Minds On

Whole Class > Body Storming; Incorporating Props into Movement

First, ask students to find their personal space within the room. Begin by asking students to move freely about the room improvising movement. Tell students to move around the room body storming the emotion of “sadness.” Invite them to use different levels in this exploration. Use music as a stimulus for this activity and to inform the tempo of their movement. Pause student movement for reflection. Prompt: Did speed have a factor in communicating emotion? How was sadness communicated/reflected in your body? How might you use different levels to convey sadness? Invite students to continue moving throughout the room, but this time, to demonstrate the concept of “happiness.” Pause student movement again for reflection, but this time focusing on the element of body. Prompt: How can you use different body shapes to convey happiness?

Share with students that sometimes a prop might be used to help emphasize an emotion. Hand out scarves to each person. Invite them to engage in the same activity, but this time, incorporate the scarf into their movement. Remind students that their exploration should be safe and appropriate. Encourage students to avoid literal uses of the prop. Prompt: How might you use the prop (scarf) as an extension of your body to make shapes, pathways, and lines to emphasize or extend movement? How does this help to communicate an emotion?

Share with students that there they will be exploring issues in the next activity that are connected to different emotions.

Connections

Connections: Students will apply their body storming to create a movement piece that communicates the theme of “poverty.”

Differentiation: Provide images as a visual stimulus and oral prompts, depending on the needs of the learner. Be sure to incorporate both to meet the needs of all learners. Visit www.caseyhouse.com for visual images or the United Way website for additional PSAs http://www.unitedwaytoronto.com/media/psa.php.

Assessment for learning: Observe students movement exploration with the prop and provide immediate oral feedback. Select a small group of students and side coach while the rest of the class is body storming, if required.

 

Action!

Whole Class > Brainstorming

Write the word “poverty” on the board/chart. Ask students to brainstorm words associated with poverty (fear, hope, sadness, homelessness, cold, illness, hungry, etc.) Record these words underneath the word poverty. Present students with images of poverty and encourage them to continue adding to the list. Prompt: What does poverty look like? Sound like? Feel like? Tell students that they will be using these words as a stimulus for movement. Post the list in an accessible place within the classroom.

Pairs > Body storming

Place students into pairs and provide each of them a scarf. Ask the pair to select a word from the list, and communicate through movement that word with their partner using the scarf. Remind students to come up with a single movement or gesture that represents their word. Allow time for creation and use music with a slow tempo to inform movement. Invite half the class to share their movement, while the other half observes. Alternate observation with an opportunity for discussion after each half presents. Invite students to elicit words/emotions/feelings from the movement. Then invite students to identify what they observed and how believe it was effective.

Key Questions for Discussion:

What elements of dance did the dancers use to communicate _________________ (i.e. sadness/fear)?
Were the ideas clearly communicated through movement? What specifically was effective?
How has the dance clearly communicated something that couldn’t have been expressed in another way?
How did the use of the scarf help communicate their idea?

Small Group > Poverty Dance Phrases and Sequences

Partner each pair with another pair to create groups of four. Ask each pair to teach each other their movement and put the two movements together. This will create a dance phrase that now has two movements in it. Ask the group to share their dance phrase demonstrating how they have incorporated the two movements into one dance phrase, by having half the class present at a time, while the other half observes.

Next, have two groups of four combine, to create groups of eight. Have each group of four teach their dance phrase to each other, to create a four movement dance sequence. Assign the following criteria in the development of these pieces:

Each dance sequence should include:

Give students the opportunity to share, one group at a time, and give each other feedback. Feedback should be based on the above criteria.

Connections

Connections: Invite students to use their exploration in pairs and groups to identify what successfully communicates an idea. They will apply this knowledge to a culminating group piece that conveys a message about various issues.

Differentiation: Some students may need to observe others before creating their own movement. If necessary, during the initial pair exploration, have students observe other pairs to provide them with ideas, or extend the time used for bodystorming. A guided bodystorming session could also be helpful.

Assessment as/for learning: Students will give each other peer feedback using the posted criteria. Continue to record anecdotal observations, as well as giving feedback through conferencing while groups are working using the criteria.

Consolidation

Small Group > Communicating a Message in an ABA Dance Sequence

Students will create a dance piece that communicates a socio-economic issue selected by their group based in work completed in lesson one.

For this final task, students will be asked to work in a group of four. Invite students to select one of the following topics from the previous lesson’s visual art activity - poverty, global aid, conservation, global warming, unity/peace and war.  

Ensure that each group has chosen a different topic and ask them to begin brainstorming words associated with their topic. The words will then become the stimulus for communicating the topic. Prompt: What does _________ (global warming etc) look like? Sound like? Feel like? These words might be thoughts, feeling, ideas or anything they feel connects to the topic.

Indicate to students that they will be creating an ABA pattern dance sequence to communicate their topic. In their group, ask each student to be responsible for selecting one word from the list they created, and invite them to communicate that word through movement. Remind students to come up with a single movement or gesture that represents their word. Ask each member of the group of four to teach their movement or gesture to the other members. This will create a four movement phrase in the ABA pattern dance sequence. This is the “A” in the ABA pattern. Students in the group will be dancing each of the four movements at the same time. Assign the following criteria in the development of these phrases:

Each dance phrase should include:

  • different levels
  • locomotor and non-locomotor movement
  • formation change
  • clear communication of message

After the groups have created their “A” dance phrase, ask the group to use the same four distinct movements in “A” but now perform them in contrast in another way. This will now be the “B” in the ABA pattern. Provide students with the choreographic choice as to how they might like to perform their “B” using the elements of dance (i.e. retrograde, different levels, energy change, directional/relational positioning etc). Include in their “B” phrase the coordinating theme to inform some of their choices (i.e. poverty and global aid, peace/unity and war, etc). Finally, ask the group to end the ABA pattern dance sequence by returning and repeating their “A” movement phrase. Their ABA pattern dance sequence should then have the first four movement phrase (A), followed by four movements that originated from A that have now been changed to a new phrase (B), followed by the group repeating the A phrase again.

Remind each group to include the following in their ABA pattern dance sequence:

  • a clear beginning
  • a clear ending
  • use a variety of formations
  • clear differentiation between A and B in the pattern through a choreographic choice made by the group
  • any other appropriate features or elements in their dance sequence (invite student input)

Invite students to share their ABA pattern dance sequences in a variety of ways either teacher directed or with student input.

Extension Ideas:

  • Allow students the choice to incorporate music into their dance sequence, use choral dramatization with words or phrases brainstormed from their issue or share without music.  
  • Consider grouping students in groups of four and use Flocking to explore one theme. Then, when presenting, invite another group with a contrasting issue to share at the same time in an overlapping diamond formation.

Invite each group of four to reflect on each performance using the BLM #3 Peer Reflection Sheet.

Connections

Differentiation: Provide students with the option of incorporating a prop into their movement sequence. Some students may opt to exclude the use of props in their final piece. Allow students the opportunity to present in the location in which they rehearsed. Based on the needs of the class, provide opportunities for creative sharing such as: two groups share simultaneously, sequential presentation of all groups with an eight-count overlap, canon etc.

Assessment of learning: Students should be evaluated using BLM #14 Dance Assessment Checklist from the CODE Critical Literacy document.