Skip Navigation

Wordless Media Messages

Main Core Tie

Secondary Library Media (6-12)
Strand 8: Standard 1:

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Grade 9-10
Reading: Informational Text Standard 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 70 minutes each

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Character
  • Social & Civic Responsibility


Catherine Jensen
Shay Woodruff-Walton


The lesson will use a variety of skills (writing, thinking, body movement, media) in order to introduce non-verbal communication to the students.


  • Internet
  • Laptop
  • Clips (songs, paintings, silent film clips)
  • Objects for students to "sell" (see instructional procedures)

Background for Teachers

This is the second day lesson of a unit about analyzing documentary films with a strong focus on rhetoric and non-verbal communication.

This lesson is collaborative with the librarian of the school. Day one is an introduction to what are documentaries. Day three will focus on the use of rhetoric by film makers.

Day four will be a library lesson in which the librarian teaches about media literacy and answers the question, "How do we understand and select what will influence us?"

Student Prior Knowledge

The prior unit focused on historical speeches and rhetoric. This unit will add on to that acquired knowledge.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to identify what non-verbal communication is and the techniques that are associated within it.

Instructional Procedures

  • Students will be instructed not to speak unless given a specific signal.
  • Students will write in their composition notebooks about whatever comes to mind while being exposed to the following: 2 songs, 2 paintings, and 2 clips w/o words.
  • Give students the signal to speak. Discuss ideas the students have had. Ask what all these pieces had in common (non-verbal communication).
  • Use prezi to introduce ethos, pathos, and logos.
  • Give handout with those three terms plus the seven techniques (proxemics, chronemics, oculesics, haptics, kinesics, objectics, and vocalics).
  • Discuss the meaning of those terms.
  • Students will then be chosen at random to "sell" objects (apple, markers, crocheted animal, etc.) to a few classmates. The students must "sell" without words. Thus, they will be judged on their non-verbal communication techniques (the ten terms above). The class will fill out their handout on how those techniques were most successfully used.
  • The whole class will then discuss how not allowing words changed the way our student vendors were forced to communicate. What made this type of communication different from that of speeches?
  • Students will write what non-verbal communication is in ten words or less.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic strategies throughout the lesson.

Assessment Plan

Exit ticket: Write what non-verbal communication is in ten words or less. In a future class, students will be responsible for knowing the vocabulary learned during this lesson on a quiz/end of quarter final.


Created: 09/08/2016
Updated: 02/05/2018