Thank you parents, for sending your students into school so tired tomorrow...

The Super Bowl hasn't even started, and I'm already thinking about it being over.

Not for the reasons that one might think... Contrary to what many of my friends think, I actually enjoy watching the game. This game, at least. Of course, the Super Bowl isn't about The Game. It's about the commercials.

Why not take them into your classroom tomorrow?

"The Day After" is commonly referred to as the day after major holidays (in the kids' eyes), like Halloween or Valentine's Day. You know, those days when the students lumber half-asleep or worse, hopped-up on sugar. You think to yourself, Great. Here we go. Get through the day... The Monday following the Super Bowl counts as one of "those days", too. A time when kids stumble in late and bleary-eyed. They stayed up too late watching the Half-Time Show, or were over  at a neighbor's house or friend's house with their parents at a Super Bowl party. I began to dread the Monday-After as much as February 15th, or November 1st.

A couple of years ago, it dawned on me to try bringing The Game into the classroom. At least, the parts students cared about. So, we began polling classmates on their favorite teams. Which is, er, fun. But I needed more for the Monday-After.  And so did my students.

Enter the commercials.

Thankfully, my district is one that hasn't banned YouTube. Which means I can stream the best (and worst) commercials the Monday-After into the classroom. I got chills all over again watching the sappy commercials, and laughed harder than I had the night before at some of the most silly ones.

Since persuasion is a writing genre with particular emphasis at my grade level, I decided to make my students work for their favorite commercials. Rather, they worked using their favorite commercials.

I spend no more than the time prepping than it takes to watch these commercials to choose which ones we'll target the next day in class. I've picked a few graphic organizers on persuasive techniques and include a PowerPoint or SmartBoard lesson on the powers of persuasion in advertising.

And the students do the rest. They critique their favorite ads for such appeals as ethos, pathos, logos. We discuss glittering generalities used in advertising, and the power behind an emotional ad. They reason, argue, and come to consensus (most of the time) on what particular strategy was most likely used behind the scenes. And then we write about it. Advertisements, letters, persuasive essays. They all become so much more meaningful to my class because each on of the kids is genuinely engaged in the content. Did I mention that my students are elementary school students?

Whether you're a Pre-K teacher, or high school music teacher, I implore you to let real-life work in your favor tomorrow. Take some time to discuss the students' favorite commercials. Even the youngest students will notice things like who bonked their head when they ran into the pretty girl in the chip commercial, for example. And upper grades can write about and debate the logic behind these ads. Make each moment count, from the singing of the National Anthem to the trophy ceremony. Ask your students to think about the "Why" behind the Big Game. And be prepared to be shocked with what they discover.

Sometimes it can be easy to let go of the teachable moment when life gets too busy in our schools. Try not to let tomorrow get away from you!

I look forward to sharing my students' work with you later on in the week. Stay tuned!



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