To transition from Portfolio I - Part B to Portfolio I – Part C. During this transition, students should begin to consider the similarities between summarizing and responding to a written text and summarizing and responding to a print image. Also, today’s class should provide students with some practice for summarizing or describing a print advertisement.
Portfolio I – Part C expands on students’ repertoire of skills for summarizing and responding to texts. As critical readers, students should come to understand that the world itself is a text to be interpreted and responded to. Therefore, their responses need not be limited to other pieces of written text. Writers often interpret and respond to cultural events, spoken conversations, societal trends, art and images (among other things). This portfolio gives students the opportunity to see how their own writing can serve as a response to a variety of texts and situations.
While you take attendance, have students complete a postscript for Portfolio I – Part B. Ask them to comment on what they view as the most successful part of their portfolio and what areas could still use improvement. What did they learn from completing this portfolio? Which assignments or class discussions were most helpful? How did they try to overcome the challenges they faced with this portfolio? You might also refer to pgs. 213-214 in the PHG for other postscript ideas.
Remind students to put their postscripts in their portfolios and to be sure their names are on their papers.
Transition: Use this transition as an opportunity to create a clear bridge between Portfolios I – Part B and Part C. You might say: The first two portfolios asked you to summarize and respond to written articles, but there are many other things that writers respond to. What are some examples? Students might say things like: historical events, cultural trends, art, film, sports, politics, social issues, theories, discoveries, tragedies, etc… Let students know that this portfolio will provide them with an opportunity to respond to other forms of text, particularly an advertisement for alcohol.
Distribute the assignment sheet for Portfolio I – Part C and ask students to read through it. Take any questions they have and highlight important parts. Use the explanation given under today’s “Connection to course goals” to bring students up to speed on why we’re summarizing and responding to an image.
Transition: Develop a transition here.
The goal of this discussion is to help students think about how summarizing and responding to an image will be similar and different to summarizing and responding to a text.
Ask students to read pg. 172-3 in the PHG (quietly or ask for a volunteer to read aloud). Then, discuss how this assignment will be like their previous essays and how it will differ. You might begin by asking, “So how is summarizing and responding to an image similar to summarizing a text?” Then, ask how they differ. One main difference may be that if a writer’s purpose is to positively evaluate an ad, the selection of details, and the tone and style of their summary may be more approving than if their purpose was to criticize it. Use the PHG explanation as a guide for this discussion.
Explain to students that their Part C paper will most likely ask them to utilize all three types of response (from the PHG pg. 169). They’ll need to analyze the effectiveness of an image within its rhetorical context, interpret what the image means, and agree or disagree with the assumptions or implications of the ad.
Review what it means to interpret and reflect on a text (pg. 169 in the PHG). Explain that most of the response for this paper will consist of students’ interpretations of what the ad means. Since ads conceal their arguments, it becomes our job (as critical readers and viewers) to interpret what the ad is saying and respond to those messages (by agreeing or disagreeing with the implied argument or responding to its effectiveness).
Explain that the next week and a half will be spent practicing strategies for summarizing and responding to a print advertisement for an alcoholic product.
Transition: Develop a transition here.
Have students take out the alcohol ads they brought to class for today. Explain that this exercise will give them practice with summarizing an ad. They should choose one of the two ads they brought to work with. You might suggest that they choose the ad that they find more interesting or has the most potential for an effective response. Or, have them consider the purpose and audience for the Portfolio I – Part C assignment and choose that ad that best fits our writing situation. Let students know that they may use a different ad for their final portfolio paper. For now, they’re just practicing skills for summary and analysis.
Then, ask them to take out a sheet of paper and lead them through a series of questions to encourage close observation of the ad. Remind students that it’s important to observe the ad closely and describe it accurately since readers won’t necessarily have access to the ad itself.
Use some or all of the following questions to facilitate a guided writing activity (read the questions aloud or reveal them one by one on an overhead). Give students about 2 minutes to respond to each question. Put these questions on an overhead:
1.) List five adjectives that describe this ad.
2.) What is the tone or mood for the ad (funny, sarcastic, serious, cozy, mysterious…)?
3.) What is the advertisement for? What is the product?
4.) Where did this ad appear? What was the publication? What is the purpose of this publication (i.e. to promote fitness; to show fashions)? Does it make sense to have an ad like this one in this publication? Why or why not?
5.) Who is this ad targeting for an audience (men, women, fitness enthusiasts, sports fans…)? How can you tell?
6.) Where is the alcoholic product placed? Is it a prominent feature of the ad, or does it blend into a scene? Is it given any human like qualities (i.e. a bottle of wine shaped like a woman’s body)?
7.) Where does the brand name appear in the ad? How many times does it appear?
8.) Are there people in the ad? What genders and races are represented? What are the people doing? What role does the alcoholic beverage play in what they are doing?
9.) Describe the ad’s treatment of its subjects’ bodies? For example, are some body parts cut off (i.e. a woman’s body is shown but her head isn’t in the picture)? Or are bodies fragmented or objectified? Which parts of the bodies seem most important and least important?
10. What does the ad’s text say? What feeling or idea is the text meant to convey? How does the text add to the ideas expressed by the images?
11.) Examine the font. How big is it? What type of font is it ? How do the details of the font contribute to the overall effect of the ad?
12.) How is the camera used? Where does the camera appear to be? Is it close to the subject or far away? Is it above the subject, below the subject, or facing the subject head on? What effect does the camera angle have? How does it contribute to the ad’s effect?
13.) What colors does the ad use? Are they bright? What associations are connected to these colors? What effect does the ad’s use of color have?
14.) In your opinion, does the ad glorify the alcoholic product or does it truthfully represent its qualities? Explain.
15.) Now, look back at your list of responses and notes. Highlight the points that you feel would be necessary to include in a summary or description of this ad.