An Example of Media Use

Media Use for a Specific Text

            In order to demonstrate how I would incorporate media in my teaching, I have designed the following WebQuest for students in the ninth grade to use in conjunction with their study of the short story “Lose Now, Pay Later” by Carol Farley. This short story set in the year 2041 tells of two teenage friends, Deb and Trinja, who stop by the mall on their way home from school one day, where they noitce a new shop in a tucked-away corner. This store has machines that give away "Swoodies," a sweet concoction that causes the eater to experience highly pleasant memories and sensations, for free. Deb and Trinja try all of the flavors and point out the store to others. Soon, these stores have spread all over the world and people are lining up for their free Swoodies. The unfortunate downside to all of this happy snacking, however, is that people are gaining weight. One day, Deb and Trinja notice a thin woman standing next to a booth called The Slimmer. The woman promises that by entering the machine, the girls will lose weight instantly. The machine is not free, but Deb pays the woman the money just to prove that losing fat and weight that quickly is impossible; much to her surprise, Deb finds that she has lost five pounds. Like the Swoodies, the Slimmer booths become massively available, and people line up for both experiences, eating Swoodies, paying for the slimming process, and receiving small, blue tattoo marks to indicate how many times they've used The Slimmer. It is Trevor, Deb's younger brother, who is the only person to think that perhaps the machines have been installed by aliens and provide a means of controlling human behavior.

Exploring Persuasive Writing: A WebQuest on Advertising Messages


            Imagine that you live in the time and place of the short story we read in class titled “Lose Now, Pay Later” by Carol Farley. You work for a mid-size advertising agency in this community, and the Swoodies and the Slimmers have been available for a few years. People have gotten used to these commodities, and people are not eating as many of the free Swoodies as they used to eat, which means that Slimmer business is declining. You have always suspected that the two operations were linked, and sure enough, the mysterious owners of the Swoodie Corporation have approached your advertising firm to design a multi-media advertising campaign that will persuade people to eat more Swoodies, presumably so that they will pay for the use of the Slimmer. Your boss has assigned a group of his best advertising people, including you, to create and pitch an ad campaign to the Swoodie Corporation.

            In doing this WebQuest, your group will have the opportunity to explore different types of persuasive messages from varying media sources. You will work together as a team to design, through effective persuasive writing, an advertising package which you will then present to your peers.

The Task

            You will create several different pieces of advertising for your project. These should incorporate varying media types such as TV or web commercials, webpage advertising, newspaper and magazine ads, and radio commercials. You are not limited in the type of advertising tools you use, so please add any other ideas you might have. You will present your ad campaign to the class. To demonstrate to me why you made the advertising choices you made, each group member will also turn in a one-page summary describing some of the different types of appeals you saw and why you found them particularly compelling or effective.

The Process

1.      I will assign you to your group, consisting of four members. Each member of the group will be responsible for parts of the project. Two team members will be responsible for keeping all members on task and keeping track of the time spent on task, and the other two members will share the responsibility of keeping written notes of what the group views. All members will be responsible for creating and presenting the finished products.

2.      Visit the following websites to gather background information on major advertising agencies.,

3.      Please view the following videos to explore visual media and different types of appeals. Keep a log of the items you view, and note the team will need to turn in five video log entries.                            

The Snuggie:

The Sham Wow:

Baskin Robbins:



Travelers Insurance:

Lincoln MKZ:

Burger King:

President Obama:



4.      Now visit the following websites to view web page advertising such as banners. Focus on the advertising rather than page content, and keep a log of the ads you view. Your team will need to turn in five log entries focusing on five different ads.,,,,

5.      Now you will have the opportunity to look at some print media. There are stacks of magazines and newspapers in the classroom for you to look through. Please choose five ads from magazines and five ads from newspapers, for a total of 10 log entries from your group.

6.      Create three different advertisements for Swoodies. Make sure you use different types of media, varying appeals that we studied earlier (such as emotional, social, fear, humor, scarcity, brand, etc.), and make sure that everything is well-constructed and free from basic errors.

7.      Write your one-page summary. Remember, each member must turn in a summary, so each group should turn in four summaries. Be sure to include descriptions of the types of media you saw, the types of appeals that were used, your thoughts on the effectiveness of those appeals, and why you chose to construct your advertising campaign in the way that you did.

8.      Prepare your presentation. Remember that you are pitching your ideas to a large company that may buy your product – the advertising – so make this appealing and interesting.












Content of Log Entries (20 entries)

Little or no effort. Clearly did not read or view ads and materials, and few entries (0-5).Some effort. Read and viewed some of the ads and materials, and had several entries (6-10).Good effort. Clearly read and viewed most of the materials and ads, had a good number of entries (11-15).Excellent effort. Clearly read and viewed almost all of the materials and ads, had many entries  (16-20). 
Content of Advertising Campaign (3 ads)Little or no effort. Ads do not show connection to product, lack persuasive element, and do not show a range of different media.Some effort. Ads make reference to product, but are not persuasive or do not use a range of different media.Good effort. Ads are clearly connected to the product, show initial elements of persuasion, and use several different media.Excellent efforts. Ads are clearly connected to the product, are persuasive and interesting, and use three different types of media. 
Content of One-Page SummaryClearly reviewed few or no ads, shows a lack of understanding of types of appeals, and does not explain choices.Clearly reviewed at least half of the ads, but understanding of appeals or explanation of choices is insufficient.Clearly reviewed a large number of ads, understanding of appeals or explanation of choices is good but needs further reflection.Clearly reviewed most of the ads, shows a clear understanding of the different types of appeals and explains choices in depth. 
 Mechanics of Ads and Summary Numerous errors in grammar, visual presentation is not appealing.Several errors in grammar, visual presentation could use further development.Few errors in grammar, visual presentation is good but not fully developed.No errors in grammar, visual presentation is clear and fully-developed. 
 Presentation Does not demonstrate an understanding of the project, group members do not work well as a unit.Lacks either a clear demonstration of understanding of the project or a lacks a clearly cohesive group.Group demonstrates a good understanding of project and works together as a clearly cohesive group.Group demonstrates a thorough understanding of the project and functions as a cohesive team. 


            With a daily meeting schedule of classes lasting fifty minutes, this WebQuest will take us two weeks to complete. We will devote the first week to viewing the different resources and advertising. I will give you time in class during the second week to start your final projects and writing assignments. You will also meet with me in a group conference during the second week so that you will have an opportunity to ask my any questions or address any concerns you have about the assignments. Please be aware that we will begin other lessons after all of the conferences have taken place, so your group will need to finish the project outside of class.


Congratulations on finishing this WebQuest! You will have had the opportunity to explore various types of persuasive methods and to put this into practice by creating your own persuasive writings. You should have a more thorough understanding of how people use various appeals to influence others, and I hope you will continue to critically assess all of the messages that you view on a daily basis for the effect that they are intended to produce. Keep thinking about your world and challenging those ideas.