‘Exploring Infomercials and Creating Our Own’ by Samar Ismail

 In Elementary, Lessons and Ideas, media literacy, Professional Development, Resources, Secondary

AML is pleased to publish here a fun new lesson from a recent AQ graduate, Samar Ismail!

Samar imagined she would capitalize on her Grade 5/6 students’ enjoyment of infomercials – always a good idea to meet your students where they are. She has skillfully integrated Language, Art, and Drama in this rich lesson, illustrating the primary strategy of teaching “though” and “about” media. The students also have the opportunity to create media: this is where critical thinking is consolidated.

Educators may find the lesson pdf by clicking here.

*Reflection is an important part of lesson design and execution: here is Samar’s reflection on this lesson design experience:

This lesson ended up being more of a project and it took longer than I expected mainly because of student absences. However, overall, the students were really engaged and came up with really interesting ideas. One of the highlights was a pen that could write in different fonts. 

Initially, a challenge I had was how to get the students to use their critical thinking skills to look beyond the surface level of the media. This was the first time we analyzed media so it was to be expected that they wouldn’t be questioning what they were seeing right away. This does tell me that one of my next steps is to continue infusing media literacy cross curricularly. In some ways I am at an advantage because I don’t teach literacy, so I have more of an onus to teach media literacy through the arts and science. In terms of my teaching practice, I have more opportunities to use my creative thinking skills to discuss media literacy whenever possible. 

Another challenge I had was with the marking. The first group that presented was annoyed with me because they earned a 3-. I told them the success criteria was discussed several times and had been posted onto Google Classroom. However, they did not meet all of the requirements. This does tell me that working on initiative and taking ownership of their learning is something my students need to work on but I also need to be more explicit by printing out the success criteria. 

I think for next time, I would scaffold the lesson differently and have more time dedicated on how to analyze media before we even discuss creating our own production. I think this would lead to more engagement and critical thinking.


*Educators can easily scale this lesson by adding more challenging tasks and integrating other subjects such as Media Arts and Health and PhysEd. Suitable for Elementary and Secondary levels (ed.).

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