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Friday, October 12 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Designer Kids: Out Commercializing the Commercializers

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As authors and consumers of content, students may be led to more critical habits of mind in part through harnessing their own creative impulses in the design of promotional products as are routinely found in stores everywhere.  Books, games, and movies (and books and games made into movies), and music all routinely migrate to marketable products such as t-shirts, collectible or decorative figures and artwork, water bottles and coffee mugs and glassware, and office supplies, all with students as major consumers of such products.  The model unit and lessons offered in this workshop seek to harness that media savvy by leading students to design their own, unique versions of such promotional products, but in service to critical thinking, critical literacy, and research experience.  The session begins with a brief overview of a model unit and lessons followed by audience participation to create (individually or in a small group) an outline or overview of a similar collection of coherent lessons involving reading, research, writing, and multiple communicative channels for publication of the student products arising from those lessons.  Participants will have the opportunity to consider their own students’ specific reading, writing, and research tasks within the various lessons.  Participants will likewise choose from among a variety of product platforms (toys, Lego sets, board games, etc.), clothing (t-shirts, cloaks, hats, etc.), decorative objects (figures, display signs, etc.), home and office items (water bottles, mugs, writing utensils, glassware, kitchen tools, etc.) that students may design in keeping with the students’ reading and research.  For example, while reading Holes, students might research the desert setting described in the book and then design (and describe in detail) a Lego-style building set to match that landscape, and with associated sketches and character descriptions.  Further, these same promotional materials may be turned toward the purpose of promoting the work, Holes, in this instance and likewise similarly used to promote thoughtful reading itself.  The presenters will advocate (with a final model) for this style of lesson design for students to design promotional products in support of civic engagement, as with contemporary voting promotions (Get Out the Vote, etc.), or other civic advocacy models.  Participants will only need traditional writing materials, or laptops or tablets, to engage with the lesson design activities.


Robert Williams

Professor, Radford University
Robert Williams, Professor of English and Interim Director of Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts for Radford University, teaches English and Welding.  His interests always condense to issues of literacy, writ large, and always include writing and reading whether in language... Read More →

Dan Woods

Associate Professor, Radford University
Dan Woods is an Associate Professor of English at Radford University. Dan received his PhD from Virginia Tech majoring in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on English Education. Before pursuing his PhD, Dan taught middle and high school English in Roanoke City and Montgomery... Read More →

Friday October 12, 2018 3:00pm - 3:50pm EDT
Salon F 2801 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24017