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Teaching Plan:
Part I (1 day)
Purpose: In order to segue into understanding TV as a faction of visual literacy, students should
spend the first day of the unit becoming more familiar with TV as a genre of visual literacy itself,
as well as some of the distinct characteristics TV has to offer the visual literacy realm of
learning, such as unique narratology, different genres (and subgenres), and how TV as a text
informs viewers while also being informed by viewers. During Day 1, students will be introduced
to these concepts as overarching TV characteristics, so they can focus their study later in the
unit on one particular genre of TV in order to further investigate the effects and influences TV
can have on society.

Students will be able to identify genres of television and characteristics of multiple

genres of television
Students will be able to explain how TVs unique open narrative format allows for a
different form of narratology than many films or novels offer.

1. Bell Work: students will individually respond to the question should television be studied
in school? Why or why not? This activity will allow students to begin thinking about the
educational relevance of TV, and its usefulness as a topic of study for visual literacy.
Students will share their response and ideas with a partner before sharing with the class
in a small warm-up discussion.
2. After briefly defining genre (since students have worked with this concept in novels and
film, it should not require too much attention), the teacher will ask students to write down
as many different genres of TV shows as they can think of in 1 minute. Students will
share their lists to create a class brainstorm of all of the different genres they thought of.
The teacher will lead a discussion of how the different genres students listed are similar
or different (e.g. what makes a comedy a comedy).
3. Students will be asked to consider the different or similar narrative forms and
conventional storytelling techniques each genre typically makes use of. The teacher will
explain the concept of open narrative and narratology, and ask students to provide
examples from television shows they are familiar with that fit the open narrative way of
telling a story. At this time, the teacher should explain how the open narrative ploc arc
differs from plot arcs they might be more familiar with (film, novels, etc.). (Possible
assessment extension: ask students [individually or in groups] to create an open
narrative plot arc visual for a season of one of their favorite TV shows in order to
demonstrate their understanding of this topic.)
4. The teacher will ask students to focus on the teen drama as a subgenre of the genre of
drama in TV. In groups, students will think about and discuss the different characteristics
of the show that must be present for the show to be considered a teen/high school
genre. The groups will also be asked to consider what audience this genre of TV
typically targets, how they do so, and why they think that is the case. Finally, students
will be asked to consider if teen dramas are based on real life, or if individuals choose to
live the way they see their favorite characters living.

5. For homework: students are assigned into groups and each group gets to choose a TV
show from a list of teen dramas. By allowing groups to choose which show they will
watch, and allowing students to individually choose, within that show, which two
episodes they will personally watch, we are allowing students to make choices that will
be appropriate to their background and experiences. They will be asked to consider and
write down any patterns they notice in the way different groups of people (either social or
cultural) are portrayed. The only limitations to these choices are that each group must
choose a different show, and no two students in each group should watch the same two
episodes.The following is a lists from which students will be selecting their teen dramas:
Veronica Mars
One Tree Hill
Boy Meets World
Saved by the Bell
Freaks and Geeks
Dawson's Creek
My So-Called Life
Day Two (1 day)
Purpose: Now that students are more familiar with television shows as a visual text, and how
certain shows can be categorized for in-depth study and comparison, students will investigate
how the media teaches (or reflects) certain values (Cortes 2005). The media can be extremely
influential without consumer knowledge or even active participation, and students should have
the chance to investigate the social and cultural portrayals of groups of people in popular high
school drama TV series aimed at teenagers as the target audience. Students will analyze and
question these portrayals in order to consider motives and to become more critical consumers
of TV shows and other popular visual media.

Students will be able to analyze a television show in order to identify groupings

(stereotypes) of people that exist within the shows world.
Students will be able to judge the values a show portrays as realistic or nonrealistic
Students will be able to apply the values a TV portrays to their own lives and
experiences and compare and contrast those experiences to draw conclusions about a
shows perception and impact of and on reality.

1. Bell Work- individually, students will write about their experience with a high school
drama show of their choice (not necessarily the one their group watched episodes of for
homework) and respond to the following questions: how did this show influence the way
you thought your high school experience would be, and why? If it did not influence your
high school expectations, why was that the case? This is an excellent opportunity for
non-native English learners to reflect on media aimed at teenagers they might be more





familiar with based on their home culture before reflecting on how similar shows in
America are constructed and the values they present.
Students will get into their TV show groups and briefly summarize the contents of the
two episodes each group member watched for homework. Ideally, each group will have
watched 8 different episodes total.
The teacher will ask groups to discuss different patterns they noticed in terms of
character behavior and how characters were grouped, and do these groupings and
behaviors reflect real life? Why or why not? After 5-10 minutes of group discussion, the
teacher will invite groups to share opinions and ideas with the class.
The teacher will ask the groups to list the different patterns, or groups of people
(cultural/racial or social), they noticed in their show, and the teacher will start a
brainstorm on the board of titles the groups give them. Groups of people listed by more
than one group will receive additional checks by them to show recurrence.
The teacher will lead a class discussion on stereotypes, and how different groups of
people are presented by the media. Guiding questions include: how to the media,
particularly TV shows, present different groups of people? Can these groupings and
portrayals be considered stereotypes? When? How do these portrayals influence the
way you view others? Do these portrayals reflect the way you and your group of friends
As an exit slip, students will individually respond to the following question: do TV shows
influence behavior, or does behavior influence TV shows? Can it be both?
For homework, each group of students (the original TV show groupings) will come up
with a list of questions they still have about the media and how it portrays high school
social or cultural groups and behavior. These questions will be appropriate for all
audiences, and address concerns or ideas they still have about how media influences
viewers (or vice versa) or portrays society. Students will be asking their high school
classmates these questions in order to get an understanding of how other teens think of
media portrayals of real life, and raise awareness of the values being presented. Sample
questions for students to consider: do TV shows targeted toward high school students
portray realistic high school students? How have TV shows influenced your behavior?
Did TV shows impact your perception of a typical high school experience? What values
do TV shows portray as important or typical of high school students? What TV shows do
you watch? The depth of the questions students come up with will help demonstrate
their knowledge that TV can disseminate values and how it does so in significant ways.
Each group will have the weekend to compile their questions and create an online
survey using SurveyMonkey. These surveys will be distributed to every math class in the
school (with the math departments permission) the following Monday, so students can
work with the survey results in class the following Tuesday. Students will be encouraged
to use Google Docs to work with their group online when creating questions. This will
allow them to communicate clearly in real time online, and Google Docs has a built-in
translator tool that can allow students from linguistically diverse backgrounds to feel
confident in their communications and make all input comprehensible to them.
Part Three (3 days)

Purpose: The final part of this lesson series will be extended over a 3-day period. Now that
students have collected desired data from their classmates, they will compile and review their
data, so they can redesign what they have and communicate their findings. This part of the
lesson provides students with the time and space to produce infographics that display the most

meaningful and significant details gleaned from their surveys. Finally, students will have time to
reflect on their findings through whole-class discussion and individual reflection.

Students will be able to report their survey findings to their group members and
compile/review data.
Students will be able to analyze their data to come to conclusions about the schools
perception of media (tv teen dramas) influence and perception of real life.
Students will be able to create an infographic that serves to display their data for
presentation purposes.
Students will be able to consider the ways in which their survey task shaped or
influenced their understanding of teen dramas as a genre.

1. When students arrive to class, they will meet in their groups to compile and review the data
they collected on SurveyMonkey.
2. With their group members, students will begin working on their infographic that will serve to
present the findings from their survey. Students will work on their product in class. This should
take up to two class periods. Student infographics can be created for free at
3. Students will then present their infographics to the rest of class. Students will display their
infographics around the room, and classmates will have the opportunity to walk around and view
all finished products.
4. On the final day of this lesson series, students will engage in a whole-group discussion that
allows students to share what they have learned, to reflect out loud on their findings, and to
examine any lingering questions or wonderings they may have. Some questions to consider:
How does these shows shape your own identity or not? Why does media follow these patterns?
What is troubling about this? Can TV shows influence public perception or opinion? Do TV
shows attempt to showcase certain values, or is it a side effect of telling a story?
5. Finally, students will begin the individual reflection part of the assignment. For this task,
students will write a 2-page paper that requires them to reflect on their overall findings about the
different values TV teaches viewers and their experience with TV as a value-informed media.
They will also be asked to consider how TV, as a unique narrative form, can disseminate these
values differently than movies or novels in the same genre. ELL students will be given an
alternative reflection paper assessment opportunity (they can choose to do the first one as well),
in which they will be asked to compare their home cultures and native culture TV experience
with what they learned about American high school dramas, and if these stereotypes exist in
their cross-cultural experience. They will be asked to reflect on why they think the values they
noticed do or do not appear in high school dramas created by members of their own culture (if
such shows exist), and why they believe that could be the case, and if American high school
drama shows impacted their perceptions of high school life more or less than their home
cultures shows, or at all, and why.
LAFS.1112.SL.1.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, text, and issues, building on others' ideas and
expressing their own clearly and persuasively

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly
draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or
issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear
goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and
evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or
challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence
made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what
additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
LAFS.1112.W.3.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a
question (including a self-generated question) to solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry
when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of
the subject under investigation.
LAFS.1112.SL.2.5: Make strategic use of media in presentations to enhance understanding of
findings, reasons, and evidence to add interest.

ELLs will be provided with links to their assigned television show that include subtitles in
their L1.
Students will be placed in heterogeneous groups representing varied language
Provide a brief description of the show and main characters in the ELLs L1 for each
show an ELL student is working with.
In order to accommodate students with a limited access to technology, groups who have
limited access can discretely inform the teacher so the teacher can give that group
preference when choosing a show, so the group can select a show they are already
familiar with (and therefore require fewer re-watchings of episodes).
The teacher will use Google Docs to give students scaffolding and support during their
planning processes.
The teacher can provide exemplary examples of past infographics and outlines for
procedures for creating a quality infographic and survey for students who need more
guidance beyond instructions.


Work Collected/Observed: Student group discussions and work will be observed. Final
reflection papers and infographics will be collected and assessed.

How work will be assessed: Observations will be informally assessed for student
participation. Student work collected will be assessed in terms of their ability to answer
the questions asked of them in a holistic manner.