Tuesday, November 13, 2007

LIVEbrary Lesson Plan #5: Be The Ad

LIVEbrary Lesson Plan #5:
BE THE AD: The Future of Advertising is YOU!

(for a colorful, downloadable PDF version, click here)

Topic/Subject: Media Awareness
Age Range: 9-13
Grade Level: 4-8

- Reading
- Assignment
- Quiz
- Discussion Questions


"Barrett's First Day of Class"
an excerpt from the novel
Leaving Simplicity
by Claire Carmichael
Published by Annick Press
Reprinted here with permission.

~ Introduction to the Reading ~

In Leaving Simplicity, teenager Barrett Trent is forced to leave the isolated farming community he grew up in and join his cousin, Taylor Trent, in the big city where she lives. Set in the not-so-distant future, Leaving Simplicity takes technology and advertising one step beyond anything you've seen. After his cousin Taylor gets suspended, Barrett faces his first day of class alone. He's assigned to Acantha Brown, an unpopular girl whose job it is to show Barrett around.

~ Barrett's First Day of Class ~

When a siren sounded, everyone was galvanized into action. Obviously the siren was an indication that lessons were about to begin, so like everyone else, I picked up speed. Reaching Block Five, I joined a mass of students in the corridors. Room Eighteen was rapidly filling.

I hesitated at the doorway, looking for Acantha Brown. There she was, near the back. It was a help I'd caught a glimpse of her when registering yesterday, otherwise I would have had to ask someone to point her out to me.

"Acantha?" I said, looking over her. She was rather plump, and had frizzy hair, but I couldn't see why she thought she might need a total makeover to transform her into somebody else when she was a perfectly pleasant-looking person.

"You're Barrett Trent? I've saved a seat for you."

"Hello," I said. "I saw you yesterday, when I was with Mr. Platt."

I slid into the desk beside her. I had a glowing screen set into its surface. Along the top edge of the screen were the words, "Your desk is underwritten by Begone! Pain Relief."

I looked around. Almost every place was taken, and the room was filled with the buzz of conversation. I became aware that people were looking at me with open curiosity, which made me feel as if I were on display.

"You have to identify yourself." Acantha showed me how to wave my bracelet over the screen. It gave a soft burp, then "Welcome, Barrett Trent" appeared. Then the words, "Reminder: no student may use a personal electronic device in class."

"The teacher has a master screen," Acantha said. "Each desk shows details of the person sitting there. Results, reports -- everything can be called up."

"There won't be anything on me, yet," I said.

"Acantha was amused. "When you enrolled yesterday, you did a set of assessment tools. All those results, plus a full background search, will already be in the central data bank."

It was somehow appalling to realize that strangers had access to all this information about me. "I can understand why the test results are useful," I said, "but what's the background search for?"

Acantha seemed surprised I'd asked. "To tailor advertising to meet your personal needs."

I could see what personal needs I had that advertising could meet, but before I could comment on this, a hush fell as the teacher came into the room. He was a brawny man with very little neck, and as he walked to the front podium he was putting on a loose top over the shirt he was already wearing. It proclaimed: "This science period is brought to you by Blissjoy Mood Lighteners -- Make Life Shine Again!"

When a siren signaled the end of the period, which had been fairly basic physics, the teacher actually said, "And remember, students, this science period has been brought to you by Blissjoy Mood Lighteners. Don't be blue, don't be sad. Blissjoy Mood Lighteners will make your life shine again."

"We have Corporations & Culture next," said Acantha, standing up. She was taller than I realized.

# # #

Copyright 2007 by Claire Carmichael. Excerpted from the book, Leaving Simplicity. Published by Annick Press. ISBN 9781554510900 (library binding), ISBN 9781554510894 (paperback). Reprinted with permission. For more information, please visit http://www.annickpress.com. Thank you.


Ad Bingo!

Everyone in your class makes an Ad List of every place they see an ad on school property in one day. Starting now, write down all the ads you see, and where you see them, up until class tomorrow. Try to find at least 5 ads. A logo by itself doesn't count. It has to be an ad. Here's an example of an Ad List:

1. Ad for gardening web site on the calendar in Ms. Jones' room.
2. Ad for newspaper subscription on Ms. Jones' coffee cup.
3. Ad for dry cleaner on pencil I found in the hall.
4. Ad for diet program on the granola bar I had at lunch.
5. Ad for Homecoming Dance over the door to the cafeteria.

The next day, your teacher asks each student to tell about one ad they found. The teacher writes the ad on the board. If you have that ad on your list, put a star next to it. When the next person tells about an ad, if you have it on your list, put a star next to it.

Each student takes a turn describing an ad they saw that is different from any listed on the board so far. If a student doesn't have any original ads on their list, he or she "passes" to the next person.

Keep going like this, writing ads on the board, while each student checks them against their own list. The first person to get 5 matches with the list written on the board shouts, "BINGO!" Check the winning student's list against the list on the board to make sure all five are matches. You can continue the game if you want until there are more winners or you run out of original ads.

Variation: If you enjoyed Ad Bingo at school, try it at home. Ask each student to write down the ad messages they are exposed to at home in one night. Then bring the list to school the next day and play another round of Ad Bingo!


NOTE: Quiz answers are available to teachers upon request from LIVEbrary@annickpress.com. Quiz answers will be revealed during the live Skype Chats and made a part of the Skype Chat Transcripts.

1) Multiple Choice. How many TV advertisements is the typical teenager exposed to each day?
A. 100
B. 300
C. 500
D. 700

2) Multiple Choice. In 1983, how much did businesses spend on television advertising to kids?
A. $1 million
B. $5 million
C. $50 million
D. $100 million

3) Multiple Choice. In 2008, how much will businesses spend marketing to kids in all mediums: TV, radio, newspapers, print, online?
A. $1 billion
B. $5 billion
C. $10 billion
D. $15 billion

4) Multiple Choice. What percentage of U.S. schools have contracts with soft drink companies involving "pouring rights," whereby a company gets exclusive rights to sell soft drinks in a school?
A. 25 percent
B. 45 percent
C. 65 percent
D. 95 percent

5) Multiple Choice. What percentage of United States "tweens" (8-12 years old) have their own TV set?
A. 15 percent
B. 25 percent
C. 45 percent
D. 65 percent

  • Do you think advertising belongs in school? Is it okay to have ads on school book covers? What about advertising for school events? How about political advertising for school elections? What about the lunch menu -- is it an ad?

  • Do you think advertising in schools is okay if the money it generates leads to better equipment and supplies for the school? Is it okay to wear a company's logo on your team uniforms if that company pays for the uniforms and/or other sporting equipment?

  • Would you be upset if you found out that your best friend was getting "rewards" for mentioning certain products in his or her emails or text messages to you? If you could get free stuff by mentioning products or web sites to your friends, would you do it?

  • Think up some questions for guest author Claire Carmichael. You might ask her what "OmniDrives" are, or "physiopara" scans, or "nons." Post your questions on the LIVEbrary Blog at <http://annickpress.blogspot.com> or send them by email to LIVEbrary@annickpress.com or ask them yourself during the Live Skype Chat with Claire Carmichael on Thursday, November 15, at 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. (Was that an ad for the chat?)

Copyright ©2007 by Annick Press. All rights reserved. Printed here with permission of the publisher. Please request permission from LIVEbrary@annickpress.com before posting this lesson plan in any public place. Thank you.

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