Monday, August 16, 2010

Learning a Little About You

In an effort to help me know about you, I'd like you to write a letter that has the following information:

Dear Mrs. Welshon,

1st Paragraph – Tell me about yourself . Tell me interesting stuff about you. What is cool about you? What are some things you are proud of? How do you hope people see you? What are some of your goals you hold for yourself?

2nd Paragraph – Tell me how you feel about English class. Do you like it, or not? What do you hope to learn in this class (be specific here, “I want to write better” is too unspecific to be useful.) What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student of English?

3rd Paragraph – What subject do you like the best in school? How can I best help you if you begin to fall behind in class?

4th Paragraph – Anything else you thing I should know about you?


Your name goes here
Period ___________

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Propaganda and Super Bowl 2010 Ads

Now that we have done so much research and learning around propaganda, let's put it to use. We spent two class periods looking at ads from the 2010 Superbowl and filling in a chart that indicated:

(The ads are separated by game quarters. You will need to navigate amongst them to find the ads we worked with.)

Ad Name Audience Purpose Message Style of Propaganda
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dorito Dog

Play Nice

Clydesdale Friend

Betty White Snickers

Doritos: Weight Room

Doritos: Miracle

Hyundai New Car

Cars: Growing Up

Simpson's Coke

Rude Flowers

E Trade: Jealous Girlfriend

Google Paris



Flo TV: My Generation

Vizio: Beyonce'


We also viewed the "Dead Parrot Sketch" by Monty Phython on you tube and talked about euphemisms.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rhetoric, Media Literacy and Propaganda

The Desire to Influence Your Attitude Towards a Community, Idea, Cause or Position

You are surrounded by advertising and propaganda every day. As part of my on-going effort to help you life your life consciously, I want to teach you about propaganda techniques. My hope is that by being aware of how others try to influence your attitude, you will be able to consciously decide if you are going to react, or not.

Below is a chart that we used in class. The hard copy of the chart has a grid or table. Those lines do not show up in this blog, but all of the catagories and information are present.

In order to complete this chart you will need to visit the following websites:

Fallacy Files (look for the tiny alphabet on the left hand side. click on the first letter of the term to see what they offer. For example, if you are looking up "Loaded Words" you would click on "L".

Source Watch - Rhetorical Techniques

OWL Purdue - Logical Fallacies

If you are working on this outside of school you can also watch a few videos that I have included below the chart.

Type: Definition in your own words: Desired Response: Example:
Special Appeals -

Plain Folk




Pinpointing the Enemy

Type: Definition in your own words: Desired Response: Example:
Word Games-

Name Calling

Glittering Generalities


Loaded Words

False Connections –



Quoting Out of Context


Type: Definition in your own words: Desired Response: Example:


Emotional Words

Lesser or Two Evils

Others –

Apologise (Apologize)

Bait and Switch

Photographic Manipulation

Product Placement

Card Stacking


Here are some great videos that explain what proganda is. Some of them are also examples of propaganda.

Here is a video that students made that explain what propagansa is, including examples of three major types:

The following videos are entertaining and informative:

These are historic videos:

You might have seen this "Duck and Cover" video at some point during your schooling. It is an excellent example of proganda.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Cool Hunting" The Art of Marketing and The Study of Rhetorical Devices

This new unit invites us to take a look at how marketers use rhetorical devices to get us to behave in a way they want us to behave. We began this unit by viewing "Merchants of Cool" a Frontline video.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Few Short Films to Consider

We've spent the last few weeks reviewing grammar, working on improving our timed writing skills and technique, as well as buffing up on our command of academic language. Now that CSAP is here, I thought it might be nice to take a shift in how we work with our materials.

Here are a few videos that we use to discuss the elements of a story, character development, tone, etc.

Just before the Olympic Winter Games 2010 started they posted a wonderful video short, For All the Marbles.

The following film, "Out of the Forest" was created by a film students. Take note of how the story builts and then twists. I hope you like it:

Out Of A Forest from Tobias Gundorff Boesen on Vimeo.

"Wolf and Pig" is a wonderful story with a bit of a twist. I think the creation is very creative.

Here's a brilliant example of how one artist inspired another. The notes on the page say, This is the PEN Story in stop motion. We shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9.600 prints and shot over 1.800 pictures again. No post production! Thanks to all the stop motion artists who inspired us. ... "

This one takes post-it notes to a new level:

Now for something a bit more subtle. I am curious to know what you think about this film. Is it serious, or is it sacastic?

Sign Language - a short film from Oscar Sharp on Vimeo.

That led me to this. It is a bit of a change from the others, but I like the creative approach the creator took to the simple prompt of "Wonderful Workplace."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Grammar and Some Fun Videos to Practice With...

Today I want to focus on a few specific skills:

We're going to review a bit of grammar at in the exercise section. We are working on commas today.

Next up, let's talk about author's purpose, tone and message. I'd like you to view the following videos and then create a short written response that explains what you see as the tone, purpose and message. Be sure to include specific details to back up your thinking:

Try out the video from the New Zealand Book Council:

Coca Cola put this ad out in Italy. I wonder why we don't have those kinds of ads showing here:

This is an award winning music video from 2005. What do you think the tone and message are here?

Levi's also has some unusual commercials. Here is one of the best that I have seen so far:

Now, contrast that image with this one:
Sigur Ros: Glosoli

How about this cool music video:

Here's a challenging one:

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

If you found that interesting, you might like to view this, too. We are not using it in class, but I thought it was worth posting. I love seeing how this stuff is made:

Making Of Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bit of Fun - A Thought Provoking Photo Series and a Dance

Although this has noting to do with what we are currently studying, I thought it was worth posting purely for its thought provoking nature.
Here's one image from the "Fallen Princesses" project. The entire set can be viewed here.

Here's a fun video to raise awareness of Breast Cancer month. It features "Down" by Jay Sean: