February 21, 2018

The First (Tyrannical) Emperor, Martian Poems, and Bad Advertising – Week 18 in Houck’s Class, by Mia LaFramboise

Every few weeks, one student in our class gets to sit out the super quiz and write the weekly update.  This week’s update was done by 6th grader Mia LaFramboise.  Thanks, Mia!

This week in Mr. Houck’s class we focused mainly on ancient China, Martian postcard poems, and media literacy.

For our ancient China studies we watched a video about the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. He united China’s seven warring states, built the Great Wall, and commissioned the terracotta army to guard his amazing tomb, but he was also was a bit of a tyrant. He killed and exiled his family members and enslaved many of the people he ruled in his quest to build the Great Wall of China. As a result, the video was a little gory.

On the first day of the school week, we read an old poem that described many ordinary items the way an alien from outer space sending a postcard home would. For example, the poem called books (or “Caxtons”) mechanical birds with many wings, that perch on hands and are treasured for their markings. We each wrote our own Martian ostcard poem, using similes, metaphors, etc. to describe everyday objects. We also each made a visual metaphor to accompany our poems, taking one of the things we’d talked about in our poem and drawing a picture of it as it was literally described in the poem.

We also continued the media literacy unit we started about a week ago by watching ads for cell phones, Taco Bell, fake bugs, and other products. Then we discussed which of the fourteen (or fifteen, if you count fantasy) advertisement tactics they used (bandwagon, beautiful people, maybe words, explicit claims, plain folks, experts, celebrities, fear, warm and fuzzy, humor, intensity, bribery, repetitiveness, testimonials) and how these ads encouraged stereotypes.

Overall, it was a fairly interesting week.

Lucas Houck About Lucas Houck

Mr. Houck teaches in the middle school. He thinks it's the greatest place to be. Born and raised in Oregon, he enjoys camping, fishing, soccer and good food. He loves his wife, his baby boy, his work, and his friends!