Tuesday, September 20th

Tuesday, September 20th:  Daily Class Outline

Lesson Objectives

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.

Connection to Course Goals

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.

Complete a Postscript for Portfolio I – Part B (10 minutes)

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.

Collect Portfolio I – Part B (2 minutes)

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.

Introduce Portfolio I – Part C (5 minutes)

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.

Discuss Summarizing and Responding to and Image (10 – 15 minutes)

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.

Practice Summarizing a Print Advertisement (25 minutes)

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:

Sample Questions:

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.

Sample Transition : Once you’ve determined the details to include in your summary, you need to consider how you’ll arrange these details. How can you deliver the details of the ad in a way that makes sense and is easy to visualize? How can you describe your ad so that it interests your readers and makes them want to read on? Before writing our own descriptions, let’s look at a few samples and discuss their effectiveness.

Examine Sample Summaries (10 minutes)

Use the following samples or ones that you develop on your own to discuss the importance of engaging readers and using details to enhance description. Put these (or your own) samples on an overhead and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. Which one do students like more and why? Which one seems more interesting? Which is clearer in its purpose and focus?

Sample #1

This ad for Budweiser beer was found in Maxim magazine. Maxim is a men’s magazine filled with stories and everyday advice. The ad shows a tall, blond woman wearing a bikini. She is also wearing a cowboy hat. There’s a neon sign outside a bar that looks blurry. There are people inside the bar but they are not the main focus of the ad. The woman in the ad looks straight at you. She seems to be saying that if you drink Budweiser all your dreams will come true.

Sample #2

What if I told you that you could have the perfect butt? A butt so wonderfully silky and smooth that it shines with the brilliance of a new coat of paint? To achieve this ideal bottom, all you need to do is purchase a bottle of Jergen’s lotion. At least, that’s what the marketers for Jergen’s want you to believe. Featured in the September issue of Shape magazine, this ad catches a reader’s eye with a close up, profile shot of a woman’s butt. The butt is beautifully bronzed, so rich with color that it nearly comes to life on the page. It is set against the backdrop of a bright blue sky and large billowy clouds, as if to say that Jergens lotion will free you from the confines of everyday life and take you to a place where you feel fresh and soft.

If time: Ask students to write a few lines of introduction for their own ad. Tell them to pay attention to detail and development. Also explain how style and voice can make their description more interesting.

To learn more about teaching students how to integrate detail and development, visit the Writing at CSU website at: http://writing.colostate.edu/references/teaching/detail/index.cfm

Conclude Class:

Write a conclusion for class.


  1. Summarizing an ad effectively requires you to hone your observational skills. Read about techniques for observing in the PHG on pgs. 54 – 60. Note how writers use observations to make their descriptions vivid and interesting. You should apply the same techniques to your own summary/description.
  2. Using the notes you generated in class (as well as the reading from your text), write a one page, typed summary/description for your alcohol ad. Use pgs. 54 – 60 and pg.172 in the PHG as a guide. Bring your summary and ad to class.