Teaching aim - to teach students how to identify what has to be present for a poster to be a propaganda poster

Thinking aim - To identify what parameters are constant in posters and what the variables for a regular poster and propaganda poster would look like. To create the initial steps for a descriptive algorithm.

These two aims are closely entwined, actually I think the thinking aim is the tool I will use to achieve the teaching aim.

Lesson outline


We started by spreading out the circular sheets we had created last time and in twos or threes, students decided which parameters (or even which of the values) were constant, and wrote these on a list.

We then introduced a poster than two students had made earlier on in the week (most of the class had been out on a rafting expedition, but the two girls who stayed at school had created a poster.They were instructed to keep secret what it was about and to use limited amounts of text). Each group worked through their list identifying the values they could see for each parameter. They were allowed to write more than one value. Then, based on their list of values, they were to try and identify what the poster was about.

The second part of the lesson involved each group going to the internet and randomly selecting a poster for another group to work with. This was important as it gave them a chance to move about and have a degree of ownership over the materials we were using. Once the posters had been given out they had to divide their paper into three columns, first they used their list of parameters and identified what values they could see in their poster, then in the third column they had to write what would this value look like if it were to be transformed into a propaganda poster. Already we discovered that to make sense the parameters had to progress in a certain order. For example colour only made sense if it came after theme and message. One group found this straightforward to do, one need some help and one struggled.


I really enjoyed this lesson, although I have no idea if I am actually teaching them anything useful when it comes to thinking or not! We will test out whether these parameters and values are useful by transforming the poster into a propaganda poster next time. Initial discoveries from the lesson today seen to be that message and theme (two of our parameters) can have the same value in a regular poster but should have different, though related, values in a propaganda poster. It strikes me that the thinking tools (in my case the ENV model) are a way to structure the teaching of analysis in art, but I have in the past tried to use a form of algorithm to teach them this skill. I also would like to have more materials to refer to in class, rather than be reliant on the internet for images. So building a bank of images/resources is now part of my plan.


# Alexander Sokol 2011-05-28 16:19
Gillian, this sounds interesting. Can you also share other parameters and values students came up with? These would make it easier to follow the posts.
Re teaching thinking. It's always difficult to say to what extent we succeed. I tend to think that the best way of monitoring it is to look at how much they are able to transfer, especially at a meta-cognitive level. This is the reason why I asked you about reflection on the use of models in one of the previous comments? I feel it may be helpful for the transfer.
# Deirdre Jennings 2011-06-07 16:52
Hi Gillian, this is a great activity and I see how it would allow the kids to analyse the materials too. Did they also come up with the parameters (variables) of mood, target emotional response, target audience etc? I did something similar in an English lesson where we were looking at lies/distortion in the media and it was clear that the target emotions were anger & fear, the mood was 'dark', language used was aggressive and extreme, rather than comparative and so on. The students contrasted them with advertising which produced 'happy' 'fun' responses :)
Also are you thinking of the algorithm as a kind of 'classification' algorithm such as students might use in science to determine if an animal belongs in the bird or mammal category?
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