Epic Holocaust Writing Project #3 #engchat

This is the third of several posts that will talk about an epic Holocaust writing project that we are embarking on.  Too much for just one post, so enjoy.  Click here to read the previous post.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are attacking this project in two phases…

           Phase 1 – Spread the Word
           Phase 2 Collect the Money

So how do we spread the word within our community about our mission?  

Product Pitchmen

In a Language Arts hex (a six-week class in middle school where I focus only on writing, grammar, and mechanics) we do a project called Product Pitchmen.  We first go over Ethos, Pathos, and Logos and look at numerous advertisements to identify these appeals.  Then the real fun begins…
  1. Students work in pairs.
  2. I give them a product that has been removed from the package.
  3. They brainstorm all of the different ways that product can be used.
  4. They decide on the best most marketable use. 
  5. They create a name for the product and their company.
  6. They begin creating various pieces of publication to sell the product (i.e. brochure, TV ad with script, radio ad with script, press release, magazine ad, user manual, keynote presentation that reveals their big product, etc.).
  7. Each of these publications must be printed and submitted to me, the Marketing Director.
  8. If the product is 100% free of grammatical and mechanical errors, then they get paid (in Monopoly money).  If not, then I ONLY circle errors and hand back.  It is their job to figure out what is wrong and fix it, because we have gone over those elements in the two previous years.
  9. At the end, we hold an auction with real donations from area businesses that they can bid on and take home.

Applying the Appeals

So when it came time to brainstorm how we could spread the word about our project, we came up with a lot of the same methods in this Google Doc.  That part wasn’t too hard.  It was the how do we market this that gave the students some trouble.
So back to Google Docs.  I created a Doc that had a few categories: Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Project Title, Project Slogan.  The students in both sections then worked in pairs to brainstorm methods used to appeal to our audience and list them.   We had a fairly big list in each category, but it seemed like a common theme was occurring in each category.  After some cleaning up of the Doc, the students came up with this.  Now the students are on the same page with how we plan to market this and can use these appeals in their publications.

One Penny, One Soul

We got the project name in place, and the creative juices were flowing.  On the whiteboard I was basically doodling a design for our One Penny, One Soul project, but together we settled on something like this…
The brown circles are pennies.  However, one student thought to put Anne Frank’s picture on the penny instead of Lincoln’s.  BRILLIANT!  And leave it to a tech-savvy student to come back to school two days later with this generated logo.
The entire grade was floored.  The penny’s year is even the year that Anne Frank lost her life during the Holocaust.  
We felt like this project was really coming together.  At this point we had:
  1. Project title.
  2. Project slogan.
  3. Marketing methods that use the three appeals.
  4. Publication ideas and jobs assigned.
However, we still had some more questions – we wanted to explore if there might be more options.  I felt we needed talk with the other 8th grade class in Muscatine.  Next step…Skyping!
To be continued…
Mr. Bormann
English Rocks!

P.S.  Check out our YouTube channel for video updates on our progress and technology being used.

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