Personal Ads

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Aug
  • 23
  • 2007

I gave you beer yesterday and now it’s time to learn how to make fun of people in an educational way. Not much progress on the censorship front involving Fight Club, one of my favorite books and movies. That entry is practically writing itself, though. On with the show.

When Words Matter Most

Just two days ago, my girlfriend came up with an idea that initially spawned laughter, then made me think. She was serious all the way through, it just took me a few minutes to catch up. She’s got a way to get students thinking about why words matter.

Sample personal ad from Yahoo!Personal ads are terrible. They always have been and likely always will be. In an area where words are almost all you have to rely on in order to get something you want (namely, a date), many people don’t care about the image they project with words. So visit a personals Web site (Yahoo! Personals, for example), grab a few screenshots, and put together a worksheet for students to laugh at and correct.

How to access the AutoCorrect in Microsoft WordOr you can just use a Word document for easy creation of these things. This gives you control (changing photos to protect identities, for instance), but you do have to type everything out. Each ad is short, though, so it shouldn’t take long. Just make sure Word doesn’t do any auto-correcting or else the whole point goes out the window: Tools >> AutoCorrect… and turn off a few things there. Just be sure to turn them back on when you’re finished.

Maybe this is a good opener for a few days in a given week. This could work kind of like a DOL activity. Then you hit them: what do these ads say about these people? So what do similar mistakes in your writing say about you? For the students upon whom that settles, ouch. Very ouch.

How to insert a photo from file in Microsoft WordThe furthest I’ll go to protect identities is occasionally removing names and changing pictures. Use the same picture for each personal ad to avoid any bias (“Oh, s/he’s hot so I don’t care what s/he says!”). Just slip in a stock Microsoft photo: Insert >> Picture >> From File >> Photos and start browsing. Take a quick trip over to morguefile for better pics. Insert those the same way, just navigate to your desktop or wherever you saved the image.

I keep things real so all wording comes from actual personal ads. The truth is often stranger than fiction, anyhow. It also allows me to say “I couldn’t make this stuff up! This is how bad it actually is!” with much greater ease and confidence. But you go ahead and create personal ads with specific errors you want to highlight if that’s your thing.

This could be a good place to put my YourSpace Word template to use, as well. Find something really bad, recreate it in Word, distribute it, and critique it in the first few minutes. Could be a fine opener.

1 comment

1. dy/dan » Blog Archive » Personal Ads in Education says:

[8/23/2007 - 6:51 pm]

[…] Todd Seal has a cool plan for working personal ads into your English instruction. Follow suit. […]