Friday, June 30, 2017

Social Studies, Advertising, And Persuasion: Student Travel Magazines Sell Tourism

ASIDE 2017
Over ten years ago, we heard a presentation entitled “Ban the Bird Units” by librarian and educator David V. Loertscher. Essentially, it encouraged teachers and students to get away from the mundane use of facts as reporting mechanisms. This especially holds true today in the age of Google. At the time, Loertscher used the typical biographical research report as an example of a “bird unit” in which students responded to a series of questions that followed a timeline.

The state project is another example of the typical “bird unit” in which students have to find the state motto, bird, flower, etc. Ugh! Our question is who cares? Sure, it’s good to know your state particulars, but all that can easily be found on 50States.com.

ASIDE 2017
For us, it's the “so what” or remix of research to deliver content that demonstrates a higher-order thinking process with other skills that go beyond mere facts. The state magazine covers in this post required research, creative writing, and media literacy to do just that.

The students were challenged to develop clever ways to entice readers to visit their states, including titles that used alliteration for the magazine masthead and catchy sales lines just below the masthead with one of the state’s main marketing points.

They looked at the design and layout of real travel magazines. We discussed the different techniques that advertisers used to attract attention, and we critiqued covers based on design, color, and layout to see which ones were most effective in creating visual appeal. The students also observed the conventions for writing the story taglines as ways to hint at the content inside.

ASIDE 2017
The kids had a ball bringing their states to life, and they willingly helped each other out to create clever promotional ideas. The process seamlessly integrated social studies content with media literacy skills. Their finished designs became the focal points to attract visitors to their booths at the school's annual State Fair.

As for the birds, they left the nest!

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