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.
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.
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
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
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.
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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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:
Students will create a print advertisement about one of these issues, taking into consideration:
- Construction of reality – what is your message?
- 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: 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.