Bunthorne's Blog

Stewart McGowan's blog

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

For those who asked: Ways into advertising

Have a look at the image below.

Gender in ads

I sourced this from the ‘Information Is Beautiful website’ about four years ago. It shows the frequency of words in ads for children’s toys aimed at boys; Hot Wheels, Nerf guns, Beyblades – those sort of ads. Yes, I know that wordle’s a bit old hat now but this is a good example of where it’s at its best. I started here, then asked students what they thought would be the biggest on the wordle for toys aimed at girls? If you’d like to know the answer, click here. gender in advertisements

What I then asked students to do was to choose a toy advertisers had aimed at one gender and swap it to the other. They had a choice of forms to present but a number chose video. Unfortunately the best video I have isn’t in an uploadable form! Hmm might be time for a video upgrade on this blog. But if I told you it was a skateboard aesthetic film about what boys liked, featured a lot of explosions and Zhu Zhu pets doing extreme stunts…



Speaking task alternatives.

This is part of a continuing series. Some might say an on-going saga. But I think it’s worth sharing the latest thinking in my staff on speaking tasks.

Here’s the one we’ve just finished writing: T1_Yr 10_Social_Justice_Asst_Notification_2014. Naturally it comes with a couple of extras, like a scaffold and a marking criteria: T1 Yr 10 Social Justice digital presentation Scaffold 2014, T1_Yr 10_Social_Justice_Marking_Criteria_2014

It’s our attempt to keep mixing it up when it comes to speaking tasks. We’re very happy with our Stage 6 tasks, where we have students reading their own creative writing aloud and reflecting on their own writing, with support from a visual presentation if desired. In case you’ve missed it previously, here’s one of them: 1. HSC_AoS_Assessment_Notification_2014

The great thing about this task in Stage 6 is that it formally values the creative side of the syllabus and encourages students to see it as an essential part of the course. And, of course, it values the part of English that a lot of us love – the creative and the imaginative. However, we didn’t want our Year 10 task to be a ‘lite’ version of the HSC task.

Year 10 have just finished their speaking task – it went over exceptionally well, probably because we did have an authentic audience in mind and encouraged students to speak directly about issues that matter to them. The opportunity to pre-record before presenting, or to present a digital video, was taken up by about thirty students and prevented a lot of the refusals and melt-downs we’ve seen in the past.

So we’re very happy with this one. Hopefully you’ll be able to use this to inform your own practice! If you’ve got a better alternative, please share!

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