Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Come On, You Can Trust Me

Colleen Starr

Description

Students learn to define and then recognize a variety of propaganda techniques at work in their everyday world. Choosing one technique, they creatively demonstrate a thorough understanding from real world experiences.

Objectives

The student selects and uses strategies to understand words and text, and to make and confirm inferences from what is read, including interpreting diagrams, graphs, and statistical illustrations.

The student locates, gathers, analyzes, and evaluates written information for a variety of purposes, including research projects, real-world tasks, and self-improvement.

The student identifies devices of persuasion and methods of appeal and their effectiveness.

The student selects and uses a variety of speaking strategies to clarify meaning and to reflect understanding, interpretation, application, and evaluation of content, processes, or experiences, including asking relevant questions when necessary, making appropriate and meaningful comments, and making insightful observations.

The student uses details, illustrations, analogies, and visual aids to make oral presentations that inform, persuade, or entertain.

The student critically analyzes specific elements of mass media with regard to the extent to which they enhance or manipulate information.

Materials

-Recognizing Propaganda handout from attached file
-Propaganda Collage grade sheet from attached file
-A variety of magazines, pamphlets, and Internet ads
-Multiple pairs of scissors
-Multiple bottles of glue
-Basic idea and handouts originally designed by Leslie McDonald, Gulf Breeze High, Santa Rosa County District

Preparations

1. Duplicate handouts and grade sheets for each student.
2. Prepare possible promptings to keep discussion going at each point.
3. Have all supplies gathered and ready to assist those who need them.
4. Supervise and encourage student progress during class period.
5. Verify completion of each project on expected due date..
6. Greet each presentation positively on presentation day.
7. Complete grade sheet on each project.
8. Record grades and return grade sheets to students.
9. Encourage further creative endeavors by displaying each presentation. Generate interest by allowing other classes to examine and discuss the work they see hanging in the room.

Procedures

BACKGROUND
1. Students may have read ANIMAL FARM to see persuasion in action.
2. Further discussion could have shown that different leaders in history used a variety of methods to gain a following.

ACTIVITY
1. Write the words BRAINWASH and PERSUADE on the board. Ask students to brainstorm the images that come to mind from each word. Make a list of suggestions under the appropriate word. Accept all reasonable answers.
2. Ask students to identify the basic differences between the two words. In the course of open discussion, work in a way to review the definitions of connotation and denotation.
3. Ask students if they have ever been brainwashed. If yes, have them explain how and when. If no, prompt discussion by offering some possible examples typical to the life of a teen in a variety of life areas.
4. Ask students if they have ever been persuaded to do or believe something. If yes, have them explain how and why. If no, prompt discussion by offering some possible examples typical to a the life of a teen at home, work, school, or in the social life.
5. Explain to students that rarely a day goes by that we are not swayed in one way or another, or that we do not attempt to sway someone else in one way or another. Explain that this is propaganda in action.
6. Distribute Recognizing Propaganda handout. Explain that the American consumers are bombarded by a variety of messages intended to sway opinions. Especially if this lesson follows the reading of ANIMAL FARM, a discussion of political campaigns is appropriate.
7. Go through the techniques listed on the handout one by one, explaining and asking for examples from personal experience that illustrate the nature of each technique. Encourage students to write examples in the margins of their handouts and take notes as they feel necessary from discussions.
8. Encourage students to underline or highlight key points on the handout.
9. When you are satisfied that students have a thorough understanding of propaganda techniques, make the following assignment as summative assessment. Tell students to choose one technique discussed and create a collage of ads of this type. Distribute the grade sheet in the attached file as you give instructions. Show students the criteria to be used to show mastery of the concept.

10. The collage building can begin in class and continue at home, or it can be accomplished completely in class with an additional class period utilized for individual work.. This decision will be based on the length of class periods. I used 63 minute classes. We began gathering ads in class, and students were asked to find more ads at home. Students created the collage on their own poster boards at home. Only a few needed basic materials borrowed from me in class.

11. Supervise all work done in class to troubleshoot possible problems and answer questions. Discuss oral presentation skills. Use student responses to generate a list of do's and don't on the board. Summarize the criteria developed and remind students how this will be evaluated. (See Propaganda Collage Grade Sheet in the attachment.)
12. Collages are due two days after the assignment is made.
13. On due date, check to see that all students have a completed collage in class at the very beginning of the period.
14. Allow each student to explain to the class how his/her collage illustrates the specific technique chosen. The teacher should fill out a grade sheet during each presentation.
15. After each presentation, interpret student feedback to see if all understand why the specific ads used accurately illustrate the technique chosen. Ask the creator for further explanation if necessary.
16. After presentations, allow the creators to display the creations around the room.
17. Record grades and distribute grade sheets to students.

Assessments

Formative Assessment - Teacher observation and questioning during discussions, work sessions, and presentation of projects by classmates. Also, reflection on how understanding will affect future decisions demonstated in classroom discussion or by written response.
Summative Assessment On time, successful completion of collage following pre-announced rubric.

Extensions

I was amazed at how interested students were in this information and the subsequent activity. The collages were excellent and accurate, as well as being a very effective way to demonstrate understanding. In addition, each student had a chance to be the expert and explain his project to classmates. The audience was totally involved and captivated by each presentation. Pride in ownership was evident. Worked beautifully.
This activity could easily be modified to include a multimedia presentation instead of a collage if resources are available. Adjust time allotted as necessary. This activity could also be adapted to study a particular set of political campaigns. There is no limit to creative possibilities as adaptations.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.