Lesson Plan

Teaching Persuasive Strategies through making a Public Service Announcement

Students are introduced to, evaluate, and then use the persuasive strategies in their own research-based Public Service Announcements.
Adam C.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

Recognize persuasive techniques in use in media. Utilize persuasive strategies in their own work. Evaluate an issue and make a research-based decision. Design and plan a multimedia presentation. Create a script and storyboard. Organize a small team to produce a multimedia product. Create a short Public Service Announcement video.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 7 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduce Persuasive Strategies

Prepare for lesson by finding a selection of public service announcements and popular commercials on YouTube. The original ShamWow! commercial and ASPCA donation commercials are suggested. Also, download and have read to view the following PowerPoint presentation from ReadWriteThink: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson56/per... Print and copy a handout of the presentation for students. Begin the lesson by asking students about their favorite commericals and discussing why those commercials stood out. Then watch the selection of YouTube videos including ShamWow and ASPCA. Discuss what makes these commercials stand out. These commercials and PSAs all use specific strategies to grab and hold our attention, and, more importantly, to manipulate our thinking. Provide students with handout of the presentation for notetaking. View the ReadWriteThink Presentation on Persuasive Strategies. Have students identify which videos from YouTube utilized the different strategies and make note of it on their handouts as examples of each strategy.

2 Using our powers for good.

Now that students are familiar with the persuasive strategies, they are probably realizing that these strategies are in play all around them. Most notably, persuasion is at play in advertising. We, however, will not be using these newfound powers for making money. Instead, students will be trying to influence others to make good decisions about a social issue of the student's choice (or you might choose to assign topics) Introduce/review the website ProCon.org. Here students are presented with vetted information for both sides of popular and often controversial social issues. If students choose their own topics, require a short, 1-page overview of the topic be written by students to prove they have read about their topic. If students are researching an assigned topic, I would first create a set of comprehension questions to be answered about the selected topic. Students must select and document their position on their topic. Students also need to select one or two specific points about the topic they want to focus on. This will be the focus of their Public Service Announcement.

3 Design Public Service Announcement

Free, Free to Try, Paid

Students will need small groups for this part of the unit. Groups could be pre-existing, or based on what topics they select. In their groups, students must first agree on a topic and a focus for their PSA. Again, depending on the students, it may be best to assign topic and focus. The next step is for students to brainstorm ideas for how best to get their point across. First, what persuasive strategies best fit their purpose and focus? Students should use three strategies in their PSA (not counting Claim as a strategy) Discuss with students that as they plan their PSA, they should be aware of their limitations (time, location, and available technology, all of which the teacher will need to assess based on their individual situation) After some preliminary discussion, students should draft a basic plan for their PSA for teacher approval. This should include a brief synopsis, what role each group member will play in the production of the PSA, and which persuasive strategies they will be using. Once approved, student groups should be given access to Storyboard That. Students must use Storyboard That to plan and script their PSA. StoryboardThat is fairly easy to use, but do plan to spend some time giving students an overview.

-PSAs should last between 30 and 60 seconds. - Claim must be clear - Must include screen directing viewers to more information on the issue. - Must include three persuasive strategies

4 Film and Edit the PSA.

Free, Free to Try, Paid

Once students have completed their storyboard and it has been approved by the teacher, students will need access to WeVideo. WeVideo has been selected because students can use their personal electronics to film and then submit their footage to WeVideo where the group can collaborate on editing the footage. Students will need an introduction and tutorial if they have not used WeVideo before, however, they should catch on fairly quickly.

Once students have filmed and edited their PSAs, there will be a classroom viewing. As viewers, students must identify the claim and persuasive strategies used in each PSA.