Monday, February 04, 2008

Comparing and Contrasting Campaign Ads

The Super Bowl of election primaries is tomorrow. Tuesday will be D-Day in Georgia as well as many other states. What better way to remind the adults in my student’s lives to get out and vote than by providing an opportunity for students to compare and contrast campaign ads! More often than not the exercise ends up being a parent-child discussion on the way to ball practice, on the way home from daycare, or the subject of dinner conversation.

First using Ease History we begin by looking at campaign ads from the past. As we watch them we categorize the ads into the following categories----biographical, issue-oriented, values-laden, and negative. These terms come from a lesson plan at the website found here.

Once we have looked at several examples for each category I divide the class into groups. Each student receives a work sheet with the following questions (taken from this page):

Group Members:
Candidate in Ad:

1. How would you categorize your ad? (biographical, issue-oriented, value-laden, or negative)

2. Describe the language and tone of the ad? Is the narrator a male, female, or the candidate? Does the ad specify an action for the viewer (i.e. to elect the candidate, to visit the candidate’s website, to vote against the opponent)? How do language and tone shape the overall message?

3. How do words, images, color, music, camera angles, lighting, people, and symbols contribute to the message of the ad? Do you think they are effective?

4. Did this ad influence you? Did you learn from it? How did it appeal to you? How would you change it to make it more effective?

During our look at past campaign ads I also provide opportunities for students to answer the questions they will encounter during the group portion of the activity so that once they are are on their own they are familiar with the direction I’m trying to take them.

This activity meets several of Georgia’s standards for Language Arts as well as Social Studies.

Here are ads for each of the candidates that are still viable. I only took ads that were uploaded to You Tube by the candidate’s campaign. I tried to choose ones that have aired on television.

Now it’s your turn….Choose an ad or view them all and tell me which one(s) appeal to you, if you dare. :) I haven’t decided yet which candidate I will be voting for. Perhaps your response will influence my vote.

Mike Huckabee

John McCain

Mitt Romney

Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton


Hercules Mulligan said...

Ever heard of Ron Paul? He is, by far, the best candidate on the block. He is pro-life, pro-family, pro-Constitution.

Here is a fantastic video comparing him with Ronald Reagan:

And here is Ron Paul's ad:

Not only is Ron Paul's platform the Constitution and the words of the Founders, but his record shows that that has been his practice, unlike the other five candidates.

EHT said...

Thanks Hercules. The keyword with the videos I chose was "viable". Mr. Paul has yet to "medal" in any of the primaries that have been held to date, and that is why I didn't include him. I only utilized the front-runners.

It might not be very democratic of me, but my groups divided easier with 5 videos rather than 6.

Hercules Mulligan said...

I don't think that candidates should be utilized or promoted merely because they are "front-runners." They should be promoted because they have good principles. Ron Paul is the only candidate with firm integrity. For that reason, he is a worthy character, and the best material for a leader.

By the way, Ron Paul is the "front-runner" that the media refuses to cover, because he is not a "team player." Another video about that:

Anyway, I think he is worthy of support. I would just like to encourage voters to vote for their country and their Constitution, and not necessarily for the most popular candidate. This is not a celebrity show or a sports bid; this is the political future of our country.

Hercules Mulligan said...

I would like to say "thank you" to EHT for this post, and getting readers to consider to election that will soon be upon us.

God bless America.

EHT said...

While I understand Dr. Paul has energized many in this country and I agree with many of the things he says I cannot call him a frontrunner at this point with only 6 delegates and no pledged superdelegates.

I do believe Dr. Paul has started something that he should continue with through the next four years. It would be interesting to see him run again.

Also I don't necessarily see this particular race as a popularity contest....too much is at stake. Everyone I've spoken with have valid reasons for voting the way the have and not just because someone in the media shows video clips of this one or that one more than the others.

I wasn't trying to be close minded by eliminating Dr. Paul from my video list but I stuck to a certain framework I created in creating my lesson plan....viable candidates, a variety of ad types, ads written and presented by the candidate's campaigns, issues that could be understood by nine and ten year olds, and hold the number of videos to five because my groups divide better in this matter.

When dividing groups I have several different things to consider. Many children have a 504 plan which is a legal document that determines how I teach the child and details such dynamics such as who the child can be in a group with and who they can't, what types of discipline/teaching strategies I can use, etc. Plus I have to be available to all the groups at one time. My room handles five groups better than six.

It was just a simple lesson plan to practice the skill of comparing and contrasting.

Hercules, I know you know I'm not close-minded and I'm not part of any media conspiracy to keep Dr. Paul out of the spotlight. If I was I would have deleted your comment and wouldn't have taken the time to visit the weblink with the video of Dr. Paul.

btw....I usually pass by hundreds of campaign signs on my way into my polling place. I found it interesting that the ONLY signs I saw at the park's entrance were Dr. Paul's and Mike Huckabee's. I live in an area of Atlanta that is roughly half white (maybe a little less) and half African American (maybe a little more). A school down the road that's used for voting also only had signs for Paul and Huckabee. It just made me go Hmmmmmm......

Hercules, I'll make you a deal. If Dr. Paul wins any primaries today I will publish an apology to you and any other Paul supporters out there for leaving him out of my lesson plan. I just don't think he will.