Every year, we kick off our 8th Grade "Theme and Symbol" unit with this Power Point presentation on hidden message in popular logos. The students are incredibly engaged when they realize that the world is communicating with them in ways they never saw before.
This presentation begins with logos from Tostitos, Baskin Robbins, Hershey's Kisses, and moves through other, lesser known brands or logos. It ends with a focus on deeper symbolism, with a reveal of what the characters in The Wizard of Oz could symbolize, and moves into allusions with Apple products and Starbucks.
I usually follow this day's presentation with a study of Shakespeare's "Out, out brief candle..." from the Macbeth "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." soliloquy; paired with a more intensive study of Robert Frost's "Out, out..." poem.
We focus on the symbolism of a brief candle - a shortened life - and the relevance of Frost's allusion to it in the "Out, out..." poem.
With "Out, out...", students look for hidden meanings throughout the poem - from the mountain ranges of Vermont (suggesting the teeth of a saw), and the significance of five mountain ranges (foreshadowing the loss of 5 fingers on a hand).
I love to close the day asking students, "What if Frost's poem is actually not about a young boy who accidentally cuts his hand off with a saw?" I call attention to the date of the poem (1916) and we begin a discussion of World War I - including the differences in this war compared to any other... leading to the implementation of the selective service, where "boys" were asked to "do a man's work" (Frost).
Finally, we analyze Frost's tone in the last two lines: "And they, since they were not the one dead, returned to their affairs."
I haven't included the poetry passages out of concern for copyright infringement, but both the Shakespeare Macbeth soliloquy and the Robert Frost poem are available on the internet with a simple search.