Public Service Announcement
The Public Service Announcements (PSAs) offers a way to check for understanding as students are tasked with embodying and representing information within this creative format. The brevity of the PSA form necessitates a clear synthesis of ideas that can be communicated in 30 to 60 seconds. This strategy also offers opportunities for revision after the first sharing so that students have a chance to implement the feedback they receive from their peers.
Content and form preparation:
To prepare to explore a PSA, invite students to examine the characteristics of the PSA form. Show examples of actual PSA’s to students to co-construct an understanding of key elements of persuasion used in the form (e.g., message, slogan, celebrity endorsement, music, visual design) as well as common forms of advertisement (e.g., print, TV commercial, radio, etc.).
Invite students to share what they know about public service announcements (PSAs). Then, show examples of successful PSAs found on the web or YouTube. After viewing the examples, ask students to articulate the message of each PSA and the strategies used to convey the message, then to express why they thought it was effective or not. Keeping this reflection and analysis in mind, divide the students into smaller groups. Each group creates a PSA around content; it might be the same content or each group may have a different topic. For example, if the content is how to use science lab equipment safely, each group can be assigned a different science tool. Each PSA should last one minute or less and should include elements like sound, visual imagery, text, a slogan, “real life” examples and applications, etc. After each group creates and rehearses their PSA, the creative work is shared out with the larger group for feedback and potential revision.
- What was the message of this PSA? How was it communicated?
- What was most effective about this PSA?
- What similarities or differences do you see across the PSAs we created today?
- Think about how you can use the elements you’ve seen in the example PSAs to communicate your message.
- Is there a slogan or tagline that would clearly communicate your main ideas?
- Who is your audience for your PSA?
- Have students create PSAs to explore good classroom behavior, work habits, and daily procedures. For example, at the beginning of the year/of a unit, students might create a PSA about lab safety, the importance of checking your work, or why it’s important to use correct punctuation.
- Reading/Writing or Social Studies: Have students create a PSA concerning a major theme or social issue presented in a text or prevalent in history. For example, after reading the book, Wonder, they might create a PSA about bullying.
- Math: Have students create a PSA that helps teach others the importance of a mathematical concept/equation and its uses in everyday life. For example, students might create PSAs about the many uses of the Pythagorean theorem or forms of measurement.
- Science: Have students create a PSA about a variety of environmental issues. For example, when exploring natural disasters, they might create a PSA about avalanche, hurricane, or tornado safety (complete with information about that particular natural disaster).