Top Reasons To Attend My School

By Richard St Amant, September 2, 2009

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Summer Design Institute

Subject Area

  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

100 minutes of classroom activities (spaced out over two to three weeks) and approximately 240 to 360 minutes of homework time (over the same time period)


Many public school students take their schools for granted. They may have had little part in the decision to go to their particular school. Perhaps they are there simply because it was the school in their neighborhood or they lived within the school’s district boundaries, or it was the school their parents went to.  This lesson will help students look at and evaluate reasons why someone might choose their particular school to go to, and beyond that, teach them to pitch a marketing campaign to attract prospective students to attend in the coming years. This lesson, which will have several parts, will give the students an opportunity to creatively learn and then express why there are good reasons to attend their school.  The lesson will begin by welcoming the new “junior members” of the “High School Marketing Firm.”  As junior members they will be invited to pitch a campaign to a prospective client. Students will be reminded of the process they will need to follow in preparing a campaign.  A multimedia presentation of various marketing campaigns will be shared and then the teacher will describe the design process.  Students will be asked to review the challenge and to ask the prospective client about their specific needs. They will then be broken into heterogeneous groups and a rubric will be shared about the project. The groups will be asked to investigate the problem and taught how to gather information.  Each group will choose a different sector of the public from which to gather information and will begin to discuss possible strategies (a homework assignment will be to interview members of the area of the public that they have chosen). Students will be asked to reframe the problem and make sure that they are on the right track.  They will then be asked to generate possible marketing plans (following the rubric that they have been given).  The teacher will help the groups to refine their plans and help them to edit, develop, and refine their ideas.  At this point a panel made up of the various public sectors will be asked for their input and groups will have a chance to refine their plans further.  Groups will be given another day to put together a proposal that they will share with the panel.  The panel (as well as the other groups) will listen to the pitches created by each group and will discuss whether the group has met the challenge or not.  The class will come together and further develop a marketing plan based on the best pitches.  Students will be asked to reflect in their journals about the process. This lesson will lay the groundwork for a future lesson in which each student will create a personal marketing plan that they will use in preparing for a job in a career that they are interested in.  That lesson will take them through: writing a resume; searching for a job; filling out applications; going out for a job interview.  

National Standards

Language Arts Standard 1. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process Standard 4. Gathers and uses information for research purposes Standard 7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media Standard 8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes Standard 9. Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media Mathematics Standard 1. Level 1. Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process 1. Draws pictures to represent problems 2. Uses discussions with teachers and other students to understand problems Technology Standard 4. Understands the nature of technological design 3. Identifies appropriate problems which can be solved using technological design

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Students will be able to :
  • describe the marketing process
  • identify key sectors of the public from whom to gather information
  • survey different public sectors (students, teachers, administrators, parents) to determine their interests in the school
  • reflect on their own interests and goals
  • articulate how words and images relate to one another, particularly in the marketing process
  • demonstrate how words, images, and sounds fit together in a marketing piece


computers – class set for a few days digital cameras variety of visual art supplies Alliance for Excellent Education - various high school Web sites



  • graphic design: the practice or profession of creating print or electronic forms of visual information for  areas such as publications, advertisement, packaging, or Web sites
  • client: a purchaser of a service or product; a client looks for a designer to act as the translator between their voice/idea and their audience
  • awareness: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge


1. Teacher will welcome students into the new “marketing center.”  As “junior members” of the marketing center students will be asked to develop a marketing plan. 2.  Students will view film (previously downloaded) entitled “Public Relations Expert.” 3.  After viewing the film students will be asked what they know about marketing and design. 4.  Ask students about what sorts of brand name products they are familiar with.  Consider displaying different examples of marketing campaigns, i.e. Nike’s “Just Do It"; McDonald’s “I’m Loving It”. 5.  Explain that it is the marketing team’s job to help develop “brand awareness.” 6.  Students will need to be reminded that design is about serving a client, getting their ideas across to others, and not strictly about self-expression but, rather, resolving a problem.  While their experiences as students and their personal style will be extremely valuable as they design a new school logo, they must remember that they are designing to meet the needs of their client (their school). 7.  Introduce the challenge: To develop “brand awareness” for their school.  To figure out what things make their school unique, special, or a stand-out from other schools. 8.  Allow students to view various high school Web sites to see what features other schools may be highlighting. 9.  Break students into homogenous groups and let them know of the group roles and have them pick a leader, a secretary, and a presenter/reader. 10.  Provide students with information about their school through existing materials such as yearbooks, newsletters, brochures, etc.  Explain that this is the starting ground for their presentations. 11.  Assign a sector of the public each group must gather information from: Faculty, Current Students, Current Parents, Prospective Students, and Prospective Parents. Homework Assignment One: Each group member must interview a member of their assigned public sector or have them fill out the attached questionnaire.  


There are two sections of the lesson which will be assessed using different rubrics.  One rubric will be used to evaluate how well students understood and adhered to the design process in preparation for their presentation.  The other rubric will be used to evaluate the presentation itself.

Enrichment Extension Activities

This lesson could be tiered so that students with a lower reading comprehension rate could work in a group with the teacher reading the materials aloud to them while the students with a higher reading level could read the materials on their own.  After the reading is completed then the class can come together to discuss the material and ask any questions.  Students than could be re-grouped homogenously.  Each group would then determine roles: • Group Leader • Group Secretary • Group Reporter As tasks are completed the group roles can be rotated so that every member of the group will have an opportunity to function in the different roles. Presentations could be incorporated into recruitment events with selected student groups making presentations to incoming students and/or their parents. Some of the design elements could be incorporated into the school’s Web site.  Working in conjunction with the school’s webmaster, students could learn about web design and html markup and tagging. An extension of the design process as mentioned previously will be to have the students come up with a marketing campaign for themselves as they prepare to do job/career searching.  
  1. Really good idea for a design project that could help students appreciate their school more. I would like to modify this lesson to focus on a campaign aimed at increasing student attendance.

    I also like the enrichment idea about using the presentations for recruiting.

    I think that if the aim for the campaign is specified, then the audience, or user, is better defined.

    Good idea.

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