This lesson worked pretty well with my advanced class at my coed high school. My advanced students are really shy but very advanced, so this worked well with their level and helped them get out of their shells.Lesson: Infomercials and persuasionIntroduction:
1) Write the word infomercial on the board. Have students provide guesses as to what the word means (say it breaks down into two words if necessary). Give a brief explanation that these are commercial that try to sell you things you may not need. Show a powerpoint slide with a picture of the Snuggie. Ask students if they want to buy this item. They give a resounding "NO" and "this is useless!" Say infomercials try to make you want to buy these items.
2) Give students a transcript of the Original Snuggie infomercial and watch it on youtube:
. The kids get a kick out of how silly the item looks and the ridiculous scenes like where a whole family dressed in snuggies roasts marshmallows.
3) Explain that the commercial does different things to convince people to buy this useless product.Lesson:
1)Talk about persuasive strategies that the commercial uses with the students: I used personal speech (you, I we etc..), Rhetorical questions, emphasis, sense, emotions, and repetition.
I used powerpoint to explain each item and frequently referenced the transcript. I had students find examples of each strategy for me in the transcript, then made up my own silly examples, and then asked students to provide their own examples.
2) As a check for understanding we re-watched the commercial and students yelled out or raised index cards (with the letters for each kind of strategy) during the infomercial.Activity:
1)I gave students worksheets (sample attached) with silly infomercial items and leading questions. I used "clocky," "the cap shaper,"
the remote wrangler" and "lighted slippers" with my students but the sky is the limit. Go to www.asseenontv.com
for inspiration. Highlights include the bacon genie, sauna pants, and the clapper.
2) I had them write their own infomercial using the worksheet. I walked around and helped them use the persuasive strategies or to give them examples and inspiration. Give students plenty of time to write and encourage them to be silly. Some groups REALLY get into it. Others think the items are stupid so encourage them to build on that and try to sell it anyway.
3) Students shared their work with some hilarious results. Especially for the remote wrangler and the slippers.Conclusion:
Students did a blind vote for best infomercial. If there's a tie the teacher has the veto vote. If students went fast, I watched another silly infomercial with the class.