Texas Speech Communication Association
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Lesson Plan


Lesson Plan Type Standard
Estimated Time 4-5 days
Grade 9th-12th Grades
Author Mellessa Denny

Overview  •  Standards  •  Instructional Plan  •  Documents


Materials: pictures or optical illusions, copies of assignment


Hook: Show some sort of optical illusion pictures or something from mulitple perspectives. (See attached images under Documents Section.) Discuss how they interpreted those images. Why did people see different things? (I use the book, Zoom, by Itvan Banyai. I bought a used one and tore out the pages and laminated them. Then, I hand each student a page or two as we walk into the hallway. I tell them to put the book back together, but I don't give them a starting or ending point. I only tell them that the picture zooms out. After they are finished putting it together, we talk about what their brain had to do to figure it out--use context clues. We also talk about how the perspective of different people on the pages is completely different than the others--their "world" looks different. I tie this into the idea of perception, or how we view things. 


Lesson: Present notes on the definition and process of perception. (See note sheet under Documents.) Discuss how we take in certain verbal and nonverbal cues and interpret them, often seeing things in a different way than others. Discuss what influences our interpretations. Use lots of examples as you discuss the process, your own examples as well as ones the students can generate. Ameriquest has some funny videos you can find on YouTube. But PLEASE vet those for appropriateness for your class. 


Guided Practice: Have students read the article from the Washington Post called "Pearls Before Breakfast." Here is a link tothe story.


If you want a shortened version, look under Documents. After they have read, discuss the questions under Documents. Then show them the video clip below that is a sped up version of the experiment. Also show a video from Jimmy Fallon where he takes famous musicians into the NYC subway in disguise. Discuss what was similar and what was different and, more importantly, WHY the perceptions were different. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZeSZFYCNRw      Joshua Bell experiment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aluYo-FSqiw            Jimmy Fallon and U2


Independent Practice/Assessment: Do the Classroom Assumptions Activity (found under Documents.) Students need to make name tags that others in the class can see. Then, explain the rules--no talking, no using your own name, no random listing of names. Tell them they will need to give a specific cue for 12-15 of these--Example: He wears cowboy boots so he likes country music. The point is to make them answer using assumptions and then to check those assumptions tomorrow when you discuss this as a class. Tell students they will not be sharing anything they wrote unless they choose to share it. Only the teacher will see this. So they should be honest in their assumptions. This activity should take one period.

The next day, ask the questions on the second page as a class discussion. Set up the environment so that students feel safe and free to discuss these items. Tell the class that just because someone says something does not mean they believe it. Allow the conversation to be about society overall. Give some of your own examples or ask the students to give examples.  

Be sure to reiterate that our perceptions are sometimes right, sometimes, wrong but most often can be different than others. We need to be cognizant of those perceptions and how they influence our communication and interactions with others. That is a part of the encoding process that a sender needs to go through in order to create messages. 


Closure: Use the stereotyping question on the second page of the Classroom Assumptions Activity as a way to close the unit. 





Independent Practice/Assessment: