Analyzing Propaganda Techniques

DAY 1-2

  1. Present or share the link to the Prezi presentation on “Analyzing Visual Rhetoric.” Discuss the images with students and instruct them to take notes on the presentation. Or review the Common Propaganda Strategies hand-out, listing the most common techniques used in propaganda.
  2. Break students into groups of 4 or 5 and assign them to collect ten (10) examples of different types of propaganda from various sources such as newspaper editorials and cartoons, advertisements from magazines, the internet, and TV. is also a good source of TV and internet ads. For TV ads, students should record the channel, time, product, and a short synopsis, and what category it falls under on a 3x5 index card. Limit students’ online and TV ads examples to three (3) so that they examine print media as well.
  3. The students receive a group grade based on the accuracy of their propaganda labeling.

DAY 3 (You may need an additional day depending on length of presentations.)

  1. Individually, each student presents his/her examples of two (2) different propaganda strategies to the class. As there are many examples, students presenting on the same categories of propaganda and even the same products is fine, as it only reinforces the multiple ways that the public is persuaded by propaganda techniques.

DAY 4 (May take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete novel.)

  1. M.T. Anderson's Feed is a compelling satire about the effects of consumerism on society as told from the point of view of teens. Some of the language in the novel needs to be discussed before beginning the reading for two reasons: 1) Anderson has created a future speak or an adapted slang, which isn’t far from how many teens speak today (saying “LOL” instead of actually laughing out loud); and 2) there is some challenging language and cursing in the novel. However, a deeper analysis reveals that the character(s) who use(s) such language only do so because they are incapable of thinking and of articulating their thoughts. This has provokes vivid classroom discussion about the power of language and the power and of having control of one’s language. To be able to communicate articulately and effectively is itself a kind of power, and this novel examines the sense of self that is lost, when one loses the power and ability to communicate. (A Feed for Thought synopsis from Candlewick Press is attached.)
  2. Here are two documents you may choose to use and/or adapt while teaching the novel:
      • Feed and Poem Comparison PDF: This document may be used while teaching the first chapter of Feed to address the future speak that Anderson has created for his characters in the novel. The poem is by Taylor Mali, a renowned spoken word poet.
      • Feed Vocabulary Etymology PDF: This document may be used throughout the novel to guide students in discussions about the language the characters use, as well as the denotation and connotation of specific words. Students will notice when and how the government, parents, and media/advertisements in the novel are using language and if it is similar or different from the main characters’ uses.
  3. Distribute the Feed Utopia Worksheet to use as a quiz or short essay response activity once reading of the novel has been completed.