Teaching Writing with Super Bowl Commercials

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Using picture prompts to teach writing is a great way to get kids to write about a multitude of topics, but have you ever tried to use videos instead?  I've got some great ways to get kids writing, speaking, and collaborating using high-interest and engaging Super Bowl commercials!


For this lesson, I'm using my very favorite Super Bowl commercial of all time: the Darth Vader Kid Volkswagen commercial.  You can use any commercial you want, or have students choose their own.  It's super simple to find them on youtube after the big game.


For this lesson, I was trying to reinforce sequencing, and writing with a consistent stream of thought.  But this strategy will work for teaching dialogue, problem and solution, character development, really any writing trait!  

I like to follow the I Do, We Do, You Do method for teaching writing.  I started by giving each student a graphic organizer for the skill we're learning. So, since my students needed a lot of work with structure, I modeled a simple story like Cinderella, but mixed up all the actions.  For example: first, Cinderella went to the ball, next, she was sad because the stepmother ruined her dress, then she tried on the glass slipper, and last, the prince came looking for her.  We discussed how even with the transition words, my story didn't make sense. I then modeled a simple story like the 3 Little Pigs, using our organizer and making the actions sequential.  We talked about what happened first, next, then, and last, and how the story flowed, compared to my Cinderella story, which was all mixed up.



For the We Do part of my lesson, I showed my commercial.  But here's the kicker: I showed it on MUTE! Leaving the sound off allows students to process the action without the distraction of music or dialogue.  I really wanted them to develop their own ideas about the story without the influence of sound.  As a group, we discussed the first and next part of the video and all filled in our graphic organizers together.


For the You Do part,I had each student fill in the remainder of their graphic organizer. You could easily do this in small groups or as one class story, depending on your objective. And since we're 1:1, I gave each student the link and allowed them to replay the video as often as they needed to come up with their story.

As a closing activity, I invited the students to turn and talk to a partner to share their stories.  Everyone had the same first and next part, but their then, last, and finally had been written independently. We regrouped and watched the video one last time, this time with the sound ON.  An extension or homework activity would be to compare and contrast the original version to the version your students wrote.

There are so many ways to use commercials in your classes- this is just one of them! Have you used ads before? If not, definitely give them a try...you'll be the MVP of your school! For more great writing prompts, check out my Writing Pinterest Board! Follow Everyone Deserves to Learn's board ESL Writing on Pinterest.




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