Dissecting Media Messages

Description of the material selected as the focus of the Lesson – Political Advertisements found at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/ from election years 1968, 1988, and 2008

Lesson Plan Title – Dissecting Media Messages

Discipline and Topic – Information Literacy Skills/ Evaluating Information Sources

Target Population – 12th Grade, fully integrated Government Class

Curriculum Links – Students have been studying the democratic process and elections. This lesson will teach them how to dissect political advertisements they may see on television or online.

Media Literacy Objectives – Students will be able to:

    • Identify the creator of a message

    • Distinguishes the intent of a message

    • Explains techniques used to capture attention in a message

    • Describes bias in a message

    • Explains how a message may be viewed differently by different people

Materials and Timing – LCD Projector and Laptop, Laptop Cart with internet access, Worksheet, 1 (45) minute class period

Scope and Sequence – Introduction, including recap of previous lessons. Brief lecture on the 5 ideas everyone should know about media. Brief whole class discussion on what advertisements are designed to do, and the idea that presidential candidates have something to sell too. As a whole class, view a political advertisement from each side in 2008 at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/ and fill out the attached worksheet for each. In small groups, view at least 1 advertisement from each of the candidates in 1968 and 1988 at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/ and analyze using the worksheet. Ask the class to identify who they would have voted for in 1968 and 1988 based on the advertisements alone.

Supplemental Materials – none

Evaluation of Students –

Each advertisement/worksheet will have the same rubric, for a total of 60 points

Evaluation of the Lesson –

Were students engaged? Was there discussion about the advertisements? Were students on task? Did students seem to enjoy the lesson? Are students able to apply these questions in other areas?

Was there enough time? Was there too much time?