Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

 

Use this whole class lesson to help students learn how they are targets of advertisers. Get your students into the language of advertising and build an understanding of the propaganda techniques used to influence them to do things, feel things, and believe things that may or may not be good for them.

Start with inquiry and class discussion for a critical analysis of the propaganda techniques used in the advertisements below. Use these as daily mini-lessons or teach them over the course of a couple of days. Let the questions guide each discussion, alter the questions to fit your instructional needs or come up with questions of your own.

The key is to help students begin an awareness of and ability to identify how their outlook on life is related to the advertisements they see.

Step 1: Whole Class Instruction – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  

1. Glittering Generalities

Words of praise for product or person; nice words like goodness or patriotism

  • Who is the target audience/market? What evidence suggests this?
  • What word(s) identifies this advertisement as an example of Glittering Generalities?
  • How does the layout of the advertisement emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • How do the font styles, colors, subtext, background colors, props and photography techniques emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • Is this advertisement effective? Why? Why not?
  • What other observations do you have about the way this propaganda technique is used in this advertisement?

2. Name Calling

Trash-talking another product or person

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is the fight?
  • No language is used, but what in the illustration shows rivalry?
  • Examine the objects in the illustration. What other observations do you have that indicate this as an example of Name Calling propaganda?

3. Testimonial

A famous person recommends a product or a political endorsement

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • Who is the famous person?
  • How does the endorsement by this person make the product seem like it is worth the purchase?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the testimonial?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Testimonial propaganda is used in this advertisement?

4.  Plain Folks

Appeals to regular people and their values such as family and patriotism

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertising suggesting will happen if regular people eat Subway?
  • How does this advertisement appeal to regular people?
  • Why does the use of this regular guy appeal to regular people?
  • Notice the only word used is the company logo. How and/or why is this effective?
  • What comparison is shown that supports the usefulness of the product?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Plain Folks propaganda is used in this advertisement?


5.  Bandwagon

An appeal to be part of the group

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting as an important reason to eat this cereal?
  • Examine font styles, colors, language and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the Bandwagon technique?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Bandwagon propaganda is used in this advertisement?

6. Transfer

An appeal that helps a person imagine themselves as part of a picture

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting about the president?
  • How does the layout and background create an image for America and/or the president?
  • What is the tone of this image? Positive? Negative? How can you tell?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Transfer propaganda is used in this advertisement?


7.  Card-stacking

Manipulating information to make a product appear better than it is often by unfair comparison or omitting facts

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What in this advertisement suggests the product is good and/or that facts may be omitted?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the card-stacking technique?
  • Notice the adjectives used in the description. How does word choice affect the idea that smoking is a great thing?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Card-stacking propaganda is used in this advertisement?

 

Step 2: Group Project – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  


From Web Quest – Propaganda Techniques


Use magazine ads to locate an example of each propaganda technique. In cooperative groups, create a collage about the propaganda techniques. Identify the techniques used in the ads.”

Step 3: Begin Unit of Study

From GoTeachGo: Selling Out The Kids – A Graphic Novel Expose’ on the Advertising Industry

GoTeachGo offers 3 grade level ranges for this unit of study.

  • 4-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.

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Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

English teachers begin their instruction of writing by either teaching or reviewing the writing process.

English teachers also know that the revision stage of the writing process is the hardest one for students to learn. It’s the critical-thinking part of the stage. It’s the stage that requires the most work, and it’s the stage that takes the most time.

It’s also the stage where the rigor happens.

Students sometimes become frustrated with the intensity of the revision process, but their main frustration comes from not having concrete strategies to use when doing the revisions themselves.

The 4 Rs of Revision

Once students reach the revision stage of the writing process, they need to learn that this stage has its own process, too.

  • Re-visit
  • Re-read
  • Re-vision
  • Repeat

When they revise what they write, they re-visit their work, they re-read what they have written, and they read for a purpose. Then they can re-vision how they might change, add, delete, restructure, and/or re-write sections to better communicate what they mean.


—and then they repeat the process. 

Students also need to understand the distinction between the revision and the editing process as well. Revision is for content and purpose. Editing is more for checking the conventions of the language—spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar. Of course students also need to understand that the writing process is not a step-by-step process—that writers often go back and forth between the steps, completing some in at the same time.

When students begin learning how to revise their work, try this strategy. It works well for most genres of writing including expository and informational writing, narrative writing, and persuasive writing.

Three-in-One Revision Strategy

This revision strategy gets students revising their work right away. The foundation of the three-in-one strategy starts with the read aloud. When students read their work out loud, so many things pop out to them as awkward, extraneous, missing, or incorrect. The key to success is reading to a partner, or a peer writer, or anyone willing to listen. For instructional purposes, this partner activity teaches students to revise well, and teaches partners to focus their listening by asking questions that require detailed answers. Your students will enjoy learning this strategy because it makes idea development tangible, and it teaches them how to improve their writing themselves.

1, 2. 3 Revision Strategy

  1.  Read Aloud to Partner / Partner Asks Questions: Writers read their stories, essays or reports out loud to partners. When writers finish, partners ask three questions about what they may not understand, what they want to know more about, and/or what they have questions about in general. No one writes anything in this step.
  1.  Writer/Partner Discussion: As partners ask questions, writers list and number these questions 1, 2, 3 at the bottom of their papers. Then writers and partners discuss answers to the questions. Writers don’t answer questions in written form. They discuss with their partners possible answers. Students can write the answers as they discuss the questions, but this section is to get students verbalizing what they mean or meant to say.
  1.  Writer Re-read:Writer’s then re-read their work to find where within their document they might piece answers to the questions asked. Students don’t write the answers, though. They place numbers in the area where they might add information, and then then

re-write their work inserting the information that corresponds to the question.

Repeat this process for each revision.

For the repeat process you can require students to  insert similes, vivid verbs, compound sentences, or anything else that corresponds to the writer’s craft you want to teach in the assignment. Make sure to have students insert no more than two craft items, and when partners read for a second, third and/or fourth time, they can focus their listening on listening for evidence of the craft.

The strategy itself can be revised to fit your instructional focus.

Use this strategy for short or long writing assignments and/or within Project-Based Learning (PBL) units of study. Try it with the writing projects in the PBL unit
Publish or Perish – Deadlines and Designs from GoTeachGoThroughout the unit, students learn the writing, editing, proofreading and publishing processes involved in creating a magazine—and then they create one.

They also strengthen their abilities to examine and understand different points of view while researching and writing about varied topics. The 1, 2, 3 Revision Strategy is the perfect strategy to facilitate discussion and develop informative written presentations from varied points of view.

Students enjoy the process, and they learn how to improve their writing themselves.


So why not give it a try?

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.