Choose Your Words Wisely (Grades 9-12)
To understand that well-chosen words can enhance ideas and support different purposes in effective persuasive communication.
- Pen and paper
BACKGROUND DISCUSSION (20 minutes)
- Explain to students that one of the key elements in persuasive writing and communication is word choice. Well-chosen words can help a person communicate effectively and achieve goals.
- Discuss how persuasive language used to communicate effectively and to achieve goals consists of colorful, rich, and precise words. Strong word choices help to clarify and expand ideas. Choosing words carefully to provide details that are informative and interesting can help persuade an audience to adopt a new point of view or take a particular action.
- Bring magazines, online advertisements, or a video of a television commercial to class. Divide students into teams. Have each team highlight in colored markers the persuasive word choices that are used in the advertisements or commercials in order to critique them.
- Elicit a discussion of the significance of the specific word choices by asking questions such as: Are the word choices targeted to a specific audience? What tone do the word choices convey? What feelings do the word choices evoke?
- Have teams generate a list of effective word choices and write them on the board in colorful markers. Students should also list words that don't work well to persuade people. Explain to students that they may refer to these lists when choosing words to promote their products.
WRITING ACTION (20 minutes)
Distribute copies of Choose Your Words Wisely (Grades 9-12) Student Reproducible.
Divide students into small groups. Distribute to each group a magazine advertisement. Have each group discuss what they like and dislike about the advertisement distributed. Ask: What different words and images would you have chosen to advertise the same product? Have groups re-create the advertisement using their own design. Encourage students to use colored markers and parts of the original advertisement in their re-creations.