Year 9 Media: Gruen Challenge

Year 9, as an introduction to their media unit, completed a Gruen challenge over the course of our double period on Friday.

After discussing the purpose of advertising and some of the most common strategies they had noticed in ads lately, students were asked to brainstorm what sorts of things would be the easiest and hardest to sell as an advertiser. They came up with some interesting answers, like convincing people to re-elect George Bush (hard to sell) or convincing people that Apple products were better than Microsoft (something they thought would be a piece of cake).

Students were then shown the clips of the Pitch segment on Gruen, in particular the “sell the invasion of New Zealand” and “sell banning religion” advertisements. We then discussed the different approaches taken to the task: playing on emotions (guilt, anger, sympathy), intellectualising the topic and humour.

They were divided into groups and given their brief: they were asked to sell the shut down of either Facebook or YouTube.

There were three parts to the task. A brainstorm sheet on which they were required to come up with an approach (humour or appealing to emotions) and then formulate 3 ideas for a theme or plot for their ad. They then had to produce a storyboard for one of these ideas, planning 9 frames plus narration.

Students then had to use a computer (limited to PCs due to our wireless being down) to produce either a video or a PowerPoint vaguely resembling what they wanted their ad to look like. They then had to present their storyboard and ad to the class.

There were prizes to be awarded for: the best ad as voted by peers, the most original ad, and best group work during the creative process.

It would have been great to have been able to give students more time on this task. Most were extremely enthusiastic and I had to award 2 group work prizes as many students really worked well together even though I had mixed up peer groups.
The most original award went to a group who turned YouTube into a disease and interviewed a (fake) doctor about the symptoms. The best ad as voted by peers went to a group whose ad demonstrated how easy it was to hack a Facebook account, thereby leaving you susceptible to all sorts of nasty things.

We also got the chance to discuss their digital footprint and responsible online behaviour during the presentations.


A great week in the classroom!

Thought I would take the opportunity to rant about what a GREAT couple of days I’ve had in the classroom-maybe it will balance out the negativity of some of my other posts!

Over the last few days I have seen my year 11 class really knuckle down and get serious about poetry analysis. Despite my lame attempt to engage them with a home made AFL ball, the students produced mind maps and analysis paragraphs exploring the Australian Voice this week. They worked in groups to formulate thesis statements to guide their writing, and developed analyses which demonstrated just how far they had come in the last year.

What I was really stoked about was the way in which they have developed synthesis skills-something which is towards the top of Blooms hierarchy. It really challenges the assumption that students in standard English can’t produce sophisticated writing. We also spent a bit of time yesterday reflecting upon their writing style, including what they did well, what they found hard, and some of the ways I can provide more support for their writing. Students went away with a task to set personal goals for their writing, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

My year 9 class this week also wowed me with their creativity and enthusiasm for their group products; they came up with some brilliant ideas to stage a performance of ROMEO AND JULIET for a modern audience, including puppeteering, using shadow, and elaborate set design.

A couple of groups were also working hard to source a real world audience for their performance (sadly I have not heard back from any of the “real world” audience I contacted-clearly don’t hold enough weight in the education sphere!) discussing who they knew that was involved in theatre.

Let’s hope the momentum continues!