Tag Archive for Syntax

Weekend Pop Culture: Starbucks and Create Jobs for America

So I was in Starbucks this week.  Actually I’m in Starbucks every week.  It’s somewhat dismaying and comforting that the woman behind the counter sees my car pull up and starts making my drink.  Anyway, as I was waiting, I noticed that among the “freebies” was an infographic on newsprint about creating sustainable jobs.  I couldn’t help it.  I took one of the pamphlets and put it in my purse.  As a result, I’ve been engrossed by the coverage of this topic for the entirety of this week.

Create Jobs for USA is a partnership between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network to create and sustain jobs.  They work with a microfinance corporation that lends to small businesses that are in need.  And while, it’s interesting that a corporation like Starbucks is donating 5 million towards this initiative and having customers donate too, but let’s get back to the marketing.

The infograhic is a remarkable source for classroom exercises.  Think: image analysis, language analysis and evaluating argument.  The good news?  If you don’t frequent Starbucks or don’t want to be seen taking the pamphlets out of the store by the “purseful” some of the best graphics are available online at the Create Jobs for USA website.  Today we’ll start by looking at the language/images of the organization itself.  Tomorrow we’ll examine the media blitz that surrounded the initiative.

For the “panels” below determine if you’ll project them or have students works individually or in small groups to examine, assess and respond. These are only two examples of what you could use check the website to find others.

Create Jobs “Infographics”

Infographic Panel-Visibly Indivisible

Questions to pose for discussion or short response:

  1. Discuss the use of the phrase “visibly indivisible.”  What is the connotation?  Why employ this “play on words” mimicking the pledge of Allegiance?
  2. Annotate the image.  Pay particular attention to the primary focus on blue/white.  Explain why the “visibly indivisible is in read and placed on top of the flag itself.
  3. Read the paragraph on the right.  Explain the effect of repeating “we.”

Infographic Panel-9.1% of the U.S. Labor Force are Unemployed

 

Questions to pose for discussion or short response:

  1. What is implied by both the size and placement of 9.1?
  2. Examine the color scheme and image choices.  What impact do they make on the argument you identified above?
  3. In the paragraph, discuss the repetition of the word number.  Explain the impact on both purpose and audience.
Create Jobs for USA Advertisement
Similar to the “infographics” the advertisement is brief and relies primarily on graphics and succinct text.

Questions to pose for discussion or short response:

  1. Listen carefully to the music used.  What is its purpose?  When is there a shift in the soundtrack and how does it reflect the tone of the advertisement?
  2. What is the impact of no narration or dialogue?  What is the purpose in those omissions?
  3. What images, statistics or language stands out to you the most?  Explain your reasoning and describe the effect.

Weekend Tech: NBA Lockout

Many online news sources participate in weekly Q & As.  I often find myself saddened by the fact that I never seem to have the time to include myself in the conversation.  I sadly console myself, however, with the archived texts.  These Q & As are valuable resources for discussing ethos/logos and authorial voice.  I find that students struggle to understand and identify these.

Since Q & As are short exchanges everything must be condensed.  It gives students a great opportunity to examine how “discussion leaders,” even when prodded, stay on task and logical.  Have students read, write, or discuss.  You could easily treat each question and answer as a short passage.  You can also have students examine the angrier language used in the questions versus the even responses of the answers.  Below are some screenshots from the Q & A with Scott Rosner at The Washington Post this week on the topic of (what else) the NBA Lockout.

 

Using Online Q & As

Example #1

 

Example #2