It’s art history. It’s non-fiction literacy. It’s art. It’s graphic design. It’s open-constructed and summary writing. It’s metaphor analysis and critical thinking. It’s psychology and advertising. It’s hands-on. It’s a heck of a good time!
These four parody lessons will be a huge hit in your upper elementary or middle school classroom! Teach them as a unit, or intersperse them throughout the curriculum as I do. They fit just about anywhere.
To understand—and furthermore to create—a parody requires higher order thinking skills galore. Students must understand content, summarize, identify unique characteristics, translate and transform subjects into humorous products, and communicate the translations in a recognizable way. Wow! We’re really working our way up Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking here.
So fun! So GATE! So higher order thinking skill dependent!
I use these parody lessons with 4th and 5th grade, but because of the nature of creativity and the open-ended design of these lessons, there is no reason a 12th grader couldn’t enjoy these lessons and benefit from them. Heck, I remember writing a parody of the Divine Comedy for an assignment in college…
In this download, you get a step-by-step pathway with easy-to-print activity sheets which will lead students through analysis and production of parodies. You may want to gather a few items at very low cost to enhance the unit (Topps Wacky Packages sticker cards and empty snack bags), but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Wacky Packages: Learn about parodies through an analysis of Topps Wacky Packages stickers. These have been delighting kids since I was a kid! Have we ever stopped to analyze what creates the humor? No way! Why should we? But let’s combine academics with good fun in this activity.
Snack Bag Parodies: We’re learning that colors are chosen to bring about a particular psychological effect, and both graphic designers and advertisers know this. What does your snack back tell you through its motto, design, and pictures? And yes, we’re seriously going to make you write about this. We’re evil that way. However, once our evil laughter has died down, you get to make your own parody a la Wacky Packages. These turn out soooooo cool!
Pokémon Non-Fiction Parodies: We’re on to the most complex part of our parody unit in which we summarize, analyze, and synthesize non-fiction reading through the production of a Pokémon card parody. Well . . . why not? Use any non-fiction book—long or short. You’ll be tickled with the results.
Mona Lisa: A classic parody assignment . . . art history, art, a rubric to evaluate. Great minds think alike.