What the kids already know:
We will begin this unit directly after students have finished taking the Florida Writes! In preparation for this state-mandated writing exam we studied persuasive and expository writing strategies. At this point students are well-versed in analyzing an argument, deciding which argument they can most effectively support, and selecting the most effective persuasive strategies for presenting and supporting their argument.

Prior to preparing for the Florida Writes! exam we completed a unit on the ways television communicate stories. In this television unit students are very familiar with the information found in the chapter "Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom" from John Golden's book Reading in the Dark and the ideas of how film teach as presented by Carlos Cortes. They are especially familiar with the elements of frames; lighting; metalanguages for films and commercials (
such as long shot, close-up, and medium shot); camera movements (pan, tilt, zoom, and tracking), angles (low, high, eye level, and dutch), and sound (diegetic, nondiegetic, internal diegetic)

Students have also been exposed to various forms of narrative structure by using Freytag’s Triangle, Aristotle’s Formula, Todorov’s Model of Equilibrium and Disequilibrium to interpret and analyze texts in previous units.

Beginning of Unit:

Media Literacy - The student develops and demonstrates an understanding of media literacy as a life skill that is integral to informed decision making.
Informational Text - The student comprehends the wide array of informational text that is part of our day to day experiences.
The student develops the essential technology skills for using and understanding conventional and current tools, materials and processes.

Benchmark Number:
Benchmark Description:
The student will analyze ways that production elements (e.g., graphics, color, motion, sound, digital technology) affect communication across the media;

Benchmark Number:
Benchmark Description:
The student will explain how text features (e.g., charts, maps, diagrams, sub-headings, captions, illustrations, graphs) aid the reader's understanding;

Benchmark Number:
Benchmark Description:
The student will use information from a variety of consumer (e.g., warranties, instructional manuals), workplace (e.g., applications, contracts) and other documents to explain a situation and justify a decision; and

Benchmark Number:
Benchmark Description:
The student will use appropriate available technologies to enhance communication and achieve a purpose (e.g., video, digital technology); and

Purpose: The purpose of this instruction is to teach students how to apply the information they learned while preparing for the FL Writes! to their analysis of print advertisements, and to assist their understanding of how to approach a print advertisement as a form of argument. Students will be introduced to the concept of Pathos to assist their understanding.

Students will be able to:
1. Make connections between written and visual argument
2. Identify elements of Pathos in a print ad
3. Understand the concept of Pathos
5. Apply their understanding of pathos to analyzing advertisements
6. Know advertising-specific terms and their definitions
7. Use the metalanguage of advertising in analysis
8. Understand how to use the Voice Thread website
9. Post a verbal analysis of the pathos
and persuasive strategies at work in a printed advertisement


Step 1: Activating Background Knowledge
Since this lesson is preceded by a study of persuasive (aka argumentative) writing, we will begin this unit by encouraging students to apply background knowledge to new information through the following activity:
1. Students are broken into groups of 4
2. Each group is given one of the following questions:
- Is cold weather better than hot?
- Is it more fun to watch TV or play outside?
- Is it better to stay up late or go to bed early?
- Is purple a better color than blue?
- Is it better to have a pet or not have a pet?

Each group will have a sheet of 11.5''X14'' paper and a colored marker. Students must discuss their group's prompt and agree on a side to argue. They will label their paper with their stance (Ex: Cold weather is best) and make two columns. One column will be labeled "proof" and the other "strategies" (these are terms with which the students are familiar). In the "proof" column students will put bullet points that explain why their audience should believe them. In the "strategies" column students will write the persuasive strategies they would employ to convince their audience of their opinion. A sample of the finished product for this activity would look something like this:

3. Each group will present their plan of argument in front of the class. These posters will be hung around the room.

Step 2: The Language of Advertisement
To understand the argumentative language of advertisement, students must be exposed to key elements of the language.
Students will be told that there are many, many different terms with which to describe advertising, but for now, we will only look at
Students will be responsible to have 13 notecards (which can be actual notecards or pieces of cut paper). On each notecard students will include one term's definition, a picture that will help them remember the word's meaning, and a sentence in which the word is used. Words for this lesson are:
- Z-line
- Slogan
- Bandwagon
- Bias
- Card Stacking
- Glittering Generalities
- Patriotism
- Targeted or Intended Audience
- Transfer
- Stereotyping
- Social Values
- Facts and Figures
- Magic Ingredients
Each student will have access to a laptop and will be given directions for looking up the appropriate definitions for each word. Words and their definitions will be posted on the class website. Each student will be responsible for defining one word. Several students will have the same word. After ample time (inside and outside of class) is given, students will teach their term to their classmates. Presentations will be completed in groups (all of the students assigned "bias" will present at the same time). While presenting, students will share their word's definition, picture, and sentence.

Step 3: Introducing and Practicing Pathos
Pathos is a concept most students should know how to produce and recognize but most likely do not have the knowledge to call "Pathos" (or emotional appeal). To teach Pathos I will:
1. Ask students to move their desks so they will not be distracted by any of their peers and get out a sheet of notebook paper.
2. Show a series of images (about 10--examples are below). Students will have 20 seconds (give or take) to view each image and note how it makes them feel. Sample images:
external image hoboken-jersey-city-hcscpa-memorial-service-sad-puppy.jpg external image Happy_Baby.jpg external image b.melancholy.jpg
3. Students will then join with a partner and briefly discuss the different emotions they experienced when viewing the images. This time of collaboration will be followed by a brief discussion in which I will pose the following questions:
- Did anyone NOT experience an emotion when viewing these images?
- Do you think these images are trying to make you feel something? Why or why not?
I will then explain that the choices made in the framing, lighting, angles, colors, and content of commercial photographs have all been specially chosen to convince those who view them to do, say, or believe something by making them feel something.
- Look at the picture of the puppy. He's sad, right? Does looking at this sad puppy make you want to do anything? If so, what? (I assume some students will say things like: hold it, talk to it, cry, etc.)
I will proceed to explain that that is an example of pathos, or emotional appeal. I will continue explaining pathos, explicating the following key points:
  • Pathos is defined as "persuading by appealing to the reader's emotions."
  • Choices are made to create an emotional response form the audience
  • Pathos is often effectively used to support an argument

Step 4: Advertisement as Argument
This step begins by having students look at this ad:
external image resized-2009091294316286.jpg
- If you don't recognize this ad it's from BMW's new JOY IS BMW campaign which focuses on the joy BMW automobiles apparently bring to their owners. This means that the main argument of this campaign is that driving a BMW will bring joy to your life just like it has brought joy into the lives of the people who already own a BMW.
What do we know about BMW? (How much is a BMW? Who do you think usually buys a BMW? etc.)

-Lets take a few minutes to look at the JOY IS BMW website before we discuss the ad: JOY IS BMW
We will watch the opening video twice before I ask students what they noticed about the opening video. I will then ask what they believe BMW's goal was in creating this video. Students will be given time to talk with a partner before answering this question.

I will then read the opening letter aloud to the class and ask them to discuss how pathos is at work here (if at all). They will again discuss with their partner before answering. After this discussion I will pass out a copy of an article from the Wall Street Journal that discusses BMW's very recent switch from "The Ultimate Driving Machine" campaign to "JOY IS BMW". The article discusses the state of the economy and very clearly explains why the switch was made. It also states that people featured in most of the new ads are actual BMW drivers and their families in their BMWs. Students will volunteer to read the article and I will stop us from time-to-time to discuss potentially difficult vocabulary, ask guided reading questions, and relate the change to the state of our economy (providing additional explanation if necessary).

Once we have finished our reading I will
instruct students to begin their basic analysis of the ad: (Each group will have a color copy of the ad.)
- Take a minute and talk to your group. What do you notice about the people, colors, angles, and settings in this ad? Why do you think BMW chose to take this approach to advertising? Which of our advertising terms apply to this ad? How do you know? Is pathos involved? How do you know?
We will briefly discuss these questions as a class, writing key information on the board which will be divided into the columns: people, colors, angles, setting, terms, strategies. After this initial analysis period, I will ask students to look back at the posters they created at the beginning of this unit. After some think-time is provided, I will ask students to identify any of the strategies available for persuasive writing that are in play within this print ad. I will then ask if they see how the print ad works as an argument? (If they successfully make the connection we will move forward. If not, I will spend time more explicitly explaining this connection.)

For homework, each individual student must write a paper analyzing the ad, including the information developed in their group brainstorm and our class discussion. They must answer the same questions we discussed and provide sufficient support for their answers. They must explain how print advertisements and persuasive writing is similar and how they are different.

Step 5: Voice Thread Assessment
To conclude this segment of our unit, students will be required to complete a Voice Thread assignment. Students will each have a laptop while we practice using the Voice Thread website. I have posted the JOY IS BMW ad for us to practice with. As a class, we will log on to the Voice Thread website to view the assignment: Voice Thread Assignment . I will show students how to look at the ad, listen to my comment, and respond. Students will take some time to play with the site and provide a practice response onto the BMW ad by simply saying something along the lines of, "This is Janie Johnson and I understand how to comment on a voice thread image." I will then show students the WWII ad on which they will find instructions for the assignment and the WWII ads on which they are responsible for commenting before we log off.

I will provide students a handout on which there are explicit instructions on how to access and use the voice thread, a black and white version of the ad, and a printed version of the questions they are responsible for answering. You may view a color version of this handout here: Instructions for Voice Thread Assignment One

Students will be assessed through the timeliness and quality of their:

  • Participation in class activities and discussions
  • Ability to teach their advertising term to their peers
  • Analysis paper
  • Voice Thread assignment

- All questions to which students are expected to provide a well thought out response will be presented visually as well as orally.
- Students will work abundantly with peers and in groups.
- We will have several class discussions to clarify confusion and discuss new concepts.
- Students will have access to technology required to complete all assignment before school, during lunch, and after school both in the classroom and library.
- ESOL students and students with special needs will be encouraged to write down any questions they need to ask me before or after school.
- While students are completing activities and brainstorming/discussing with one another I will walk around the room providing support and clarification when necessary.

The information on this page was prepared by Danica Trevarthan