Teaching Persuasion with PSAs

Post date: Jan 21, 2013 9:37:39 PM

9. Teaching Persuasion with Public Service Announcements (PSAs)


A Project-Based Approach to Teaching Persuasion

Essential Question (EQ): How do we get struggling students to attend lunch-time tutoring? (This essential question is easily changed to whatever you want your students to create a PSA for)

Objective: Students will learn persuasive techniques and evaluate commercials, PSAs, and speeches. Students will learn copyright, fair use, and creative commons. Students will learn how to reach a specific audience. Students will apply their knowledge of persuasive techniques, copyright, and audience in a school-oriented PSA that will broadcast to the school in the morning announcements.

Evernote Account: with all links (video, websites, worksheets) for this unit

Steps: (This assignment was used for groups of 6 students in a senior college-prep class)

* Note a lot of the video can be watched at home in a “flipped” class scenario while doing the discussions and YouTube searches at school.

  1. Introduce Persuasive Strategies by showing “The Art of Rhetoric Video.” Ask students to go onto YouTube and find examples of the three: Pathos, Ethos, Logos in popular commercials- show a few of them to the class.
  2. Using the Worksheet “Check the Strategies,” show the TED talk: Schools Kill Creativity and have students complete the worksheet for the speech. (The link provided in the Evernote account is for YouTube for iPhone access, if your school blocks YouTube, you can get the speech directly from the TED website- Adobe is required).
  3. Introduce the EQ- Brainstorm reasons why students don’t want to come to tutoring during their lunch time. (This prompt/brainstorm will change based on your own school’s needs).
  4. Use the Persuasion Map (adobe required) to do further brainstorming on the topic (I assigned this as homework and created hard copies for students who couldn’t access it).
  5. Using the “Evaluate the Product” worksheet, evaluate three PSAs in “AdCouncil PSA Commericials” and discuss what about the PSAs really made an impact. (The texting while driving one is really good)
  6. Either assign as homework or read the following two articles in class: “10 Principles of Effective Advertising” and “Persuasive Video Techniques”- Go back to the commercials watched by the class and decide which ones followed the guidelines from these articles.
  7. One day for copyright, fair use, Creative Commons lesson. I show the Preziand take them on a tour of the Creative Commons website. I then assign students to create a “doodle” that they will “copyright” using Creative Commons. They must go to the Creative Commons link in Evernote and click the requirements they want to have apply to their “doodle.” They must then either print/copy and paste the applicable logo or draw it on the bottom of their “doodle.” (Note: they are not actually required to register their doodle with Creative Commons- just find out what logo is appropriate for their doodle)
  8. Guest presentation from the Video Production teacher about the school’s audience and tips about what will work and what will probably bomb. Great time for Q and A by the students too.
  9. Groups will create the storyboard for their commercial and write the script on the other side of the paper. They must get me to sign-off on it before they are allowed to begin filming.
  10. Groups are given one week to create their PSA/Commercial to persuade their audience of struggling students to give up their lunches and go to lunch-time tutoring. They also have this week to edit and produce a rough draft of their product.
  11. DOWNTIME: During this week, there will be downtime while some groups are filming and others are not. I had students explore and take notes on the website “Let’s Make Movies” I had students complete three small assignments for my next unit: satire.
  12. Students post their drafts online and we have the video production class critique them giving constructive criticism about what is good and what might want to be altered.
  13. Students are given 2 days to revise their projects and submit them.


  • Formative “bell-ringers” on the front board each morning defining and matching the persuasive terms.
  • After video submission, a Google Form (completed in class using devices and QR code) that asks each student, individually, what their group’s ad was about, what persuasive elements it used, who the audience was, what they did with copyrighted material.


PSA Rubric

Feel free to ask questions in the comment pane below if I’ve been unclear about any of the plans.