Last week I posted about CLIL (content and language integrated learning): what it is, and how to use it in the classroom. Though I mentioned a few ideas in the post, this week I’m going to give you a step by step guide for one CLIL type project that I recently did with one of my teen classes. What we did was to learn about, and eventually create, TV commercials.
The aim of these lessons was to teach vocabulary related to commercials, language involved with writing a script and eventually filming. This was a three part lesson that was a lot of fun, and met the aims of getting the students to be able to discuss commercials and advertising in general. Keep reading for a lesson by lesson breakdown of what I did. To make your life even easier, you can click on the button below to gain access to the worksheets that I gave my students to help them prep for the project.
Lesson One: introduction and planning phase
The first thing that I did was to give the students an overview of the project and make it clear what would be expected of them by the end of each lesson. The next phase was to pre-teach some vocabulary that I wanted them to be able to use throughout the project. Here is a complete list of the new vocabulary that I taught:
Subliminal, claims, target audience, celebrity endorsement, advertising agency, showcase, market, marketing trends, niche, product placement, brand loyalty, nostalgia, brand, logo, adolescent, slogans, jingles, campaign
After introducing the vocab, we played a few communicative games to get them used to the words and to ensure they understood the meaning.
Before setting them loose to start on their own commercials, we watched a few examples in class. After each commercial, we discussed whether it was effective, whether it was entertaining, how it made us feel and what the strategy of the commercial was. By identifying how the commercial worked, students came understand the commercial on another level. It also gave them a chance to use some of the vocabulary listed above.
The last half of the first lesson was dedicated to getting the students started. Each group decided on a product to sell and then started the fun work of deciding on an appropriate marketing strategy. To gain access to the worksheet I created to guide them through this process, click on the button at the end of this post.
Lesson Two: Writing the Script
Simply handing the students a piece of paper and telling them to write their commercial would have resulted in an unusable mess and a stressful filming day. Instead, I decided to use this opportunity to talk about language associated with scripts. We talked about close/wide shots, how to describe action, how to add directions for the actor, etc.
To do this, I printed out several example commercial scripts that I found online. Groups dissected them and performed them quickly for the whole class. I highlighted the different features of the script and discussed why they were useful for the actors when filming. To ensure that they understood, we watched a sample commercial and started writing the script for it together so that they were comfortable with the format.
With this background information, they were prepared to write their scripts in an agreed upon format. If they finished before the other groups, I had them start preparing props and other materials for their commercial.
Lesson Three: Film it!
The day of filming, everyone was a little nervous. I explained to the class that everyone would be helping to film each commercial whether it be helping remember lines, creating sound effects or acting when necessary. Also, though there was one main director for each group, everyone was allowed to give feedback after each scene.
Students were given a little time to get ready, then the first group was randomly chosen. Though the films themselves were meant to be no more than one minute in length, it took a long time to film it in a way that the groups were satisfied with, so make sure to leave yourself plenty of time for this. Again, to make this a success, ensure that everyone is involved in some way. Otherwise the temptation for students to talk to their group during this time is to great and will definitely be distracting.
A Few Notes About Editing and What to Do with these Films
Two groups brought in their own cameras and insisted that they were going to edit the films. One of the groups did all the necessary work, but the other became too busy and didn’t have the time. I wouldn’t recommend giving the option. Instead, bring in a smartphone or tablet with a good camera and plenty of free space on it. There are plenty of free apps online that you can get to help you do simple editing.
I used iMovie and was able to edit a number of films in a short time while laying in bed! Make it clear that their editing advice must be simple. If you make it too complicated, you won’t have time to complete the project.
When all the films have been edited, make sure to dedicate fifteen minutes or so of a subsequent lesson to show the videos as a class. The look on their proud little faces will make any extra work you’ve put in worth it.
Ready to try this project lesson in your classroom? Click on the button below to gain access to a worksheet to help your groups plan their commercials.