One of the most important things for us as a faculty is to make the learning in the classroom as ‘real’ as possible for our students. With this in mind I looked at how we could take the work from our Year 9 Advertising unit and allow students to bring their written creations ‘alive’. They complete a mini-assessment that should inform their writing for their final written assessments. The mini-assessment in this case was for them to first learn the techniques that advertisers use to persuade audiences and then, using these techniques, create an advert for a Christmas food advert.
After briefly analysing current adverts, the students go on to use the techniques they have learnt to plan their own advert. However, before they did this I wanted them to prepare a pre-task response and this was to create a radio advert promoting their own school: Huntington. In so doing I knew that they could start with a subject matter that they had direct experience of, thus allowing them to be more confident in their work. However, the revelation came when they realised that we would actually create these pieces. Every single learner was desperate to do as good a job as possible – mostly because it was going to be shared amongst them all and placed into a real ‘industrial context’.
The writing was completed for a homework task and the adverts recorded in one lesson. I chose to use iMovie for the radio adverts. The reasons for this were that the students could add simple sound effects and music and that within the lesson they could also save the pieces to our WebDav folder. Moreover, those who wanted to could add images (this was not part of the task but I was impressed by some who began to match images to the words – remember, this was all in one, single hour lesson).
The results are impressive. Yet, more impressive for me was that at the start of the next lesson, ‘Bell Work’ consisted of answering the question below. We then shared our ideas as a class. I had to stop taking their suggestions after 10 minutes. It was refreshing to see such retrieval from all students…
From here we then used this information to ‘score‘ the adverts that we played back – using the student suggestions to rank the adverts.
The ‘top 5’ are here:
Having a ‘real’ audience and creating ‘real’ products is absolutely vital to creating a sense of vibrancy in the classroom. The students know that what is happening goes beyond those four walls. This is akin to how they think in their bedrooms and how they think as they use their mobiles on their way into school. We have to always keep that in mind – otherwise they’ll pull the plug on us!