Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow Day + Facebook + Health Challenge= Eureka!

I received the call regarding our snow day the night before.  Pretty sweet-- I could sleep in a bit and plan out a leisurely day.  I'm not sure why, but I found myself musing about the stir of inter-disciplinary activities I was entertaining for my American Government class.  One of them, I have been contemplating for launch as early as April, 2011.  It's the notion of having student create political ads as a way of showing their understanding of media and politics.

The idea actually came to me from Health Class.  In one of our professional cluster group's we have been working on a CBL related to teaching the influence of media on health issues.  Mike Gruber made (at least in my opinion), a terrific suggestion for a challenge:  Use media to "counterattack"  negative media influence.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure that this challenge is going to come off this way.  But it sent me in a different direction. I intend to assign the students to make campaign ads.  The instructional goal will be the same-- By using media, the students will understand its influence.  We will study some ads and then give the students' their mission.

All of this was in my head, the morning of snow day.  I even had the notion that I would have them develop two ads-- one attacking an actual office holder and the other promoting the fictional campaign of the challenge.  Yet, I also wanted this fictional campaign rooted in reality.  I was thinking of having the students "run" an actual person against the officeholder.  However, when I started to write down potential "candidates" the list was pretty short.

Enter Facebook.  I posted the following status on my wall:

Help me out? I am trying to think of famous living Michiganders for whom my students can design political campaigns. The catch? They can't be politicians. Folks like Dan Gilbert, Jeff Daniels, Mary Sue Coleman. Toss in a name and I bet my minions have designed a campaign ad for her/him by May.

Lots and lots of names.  Enough to assure me that I can let teams of maybe  2-3 students draw and then run their candidate for governor or senator.  Perhaps in the future I could try this at a higher technical level by teaming with another department.  In the mean time, I am quite pleased with my Snow Day/Facebook/Health Challenge collaboration.

Flickr CC Photo by EtanSivad

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