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Assiniboia Elementary art work dives into advertising

The Grade 8 classroom is provided a number of ads based on the number of students in that class.

ASSINIBOIA - Laurie Hawkins’ Grade 8 class were first introduced to the idea of having her students create advertisements for the local paper in the spring of 2020, however the pandemic altered the finish line for the project.

Hawkins said the children’s first advertisements were included in the Assiniboia Times in 2021 and it was a big hit, noted by businesses, readers and student artists.

“Assiniboia Times office manager and sales, Linda Hall, approached me about this unique project and I jumped right on board. I feel it is very important that there is a connection between the school (students) and the community. This type of project provides the ‘real life, when are we ever going to use this in the real world’ situation. When choosing a career, students focus a great deal on what they see in their world – jobs of family and friends – and in the common – teacher, nurse, mechanic, etc.,” said Hawkins.

The Assiniboia Elementary School teacher also adds, “Marketing or creating ads or being a part of a newspaper isn’t something that jumps out at most students as a career, especially since most have never read a newspaper in this day and age. We have had so many artistic students – physically and mentally, go through our school. This opens doors to other possibilities in the field of arts.”

Allowing the students to shine in the eyes of the community is a big benefit to this newspaper and classroom partnership. Often, the only thing that gets recognized from the schools are sporting activities or big events.

“Kids these days are the same as they have always been and sometimes get a bad rap, so being in the spotlight in a positive way is important.”

Response from students may have started as an overwhelming task from some of the classroom involved as they struggled to think of ideas or judge themselves on ‘they’re not good enough’ as attested by their teacher.

“Once we go through the process of learning about how ads are developed, focus on the key elements of a good ad, and look at computer generated ads, students tend to settle in and get their creativity flowing. The biggest highlight is when they get to see their own ad in the paper. I usually ask them to create two so that it offers a business or the paper a choice of ads.”

The Grade 8 classroom is provided a number of ads based on the number of students in that class. Hawkins then shares who has purchased an ad and lets students who want to choose their own select first.

“Often there is a family connection so that trumps preference. If students are choosing specific ones, like I said, there is usually a familial connection or they know and like the business. Those who are indifferent, will just randomly get the business,” said Hawkins.

Students are left to their own creative devices for most ads, while some businesses will provide specific information they want included. Students do not have to meet a size requirement.

The student artists have received feedback from businesses, as they commented that some of this student artwork are their favourite ads they place in the paper, while other people in the community have let the classroom know how much they enjoy this edition of the paper, where these students’ advertisements are included.

Hawkins makes special note, stating, “An activity like this allows us to involve research, computer skills, and art all rolled into one. It opens the students’ eyes to how media portrays things and that everything is done with a specific reason. They start to really notice things in the media once we do this.”