Super Bowl Commercials: Thinking Devices

On Sunday, February 6, 2011 I was among the 111 million viewers that tuned into the Super Bowl XLV. This became the most watched program in US history.

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of football. I did not have a favored team. I am one of the many that watch the game for the commercials. Not only are they entertaining, but they also provide additional video clips for educational sessions I facilitate. Jim Knight, author of Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction (2007) and Unmistakable Impact (2011) calls this type of facilitation approach a THINKING DEVICE. Thinking Devices are provocative objects that teachers (or professional development facilitators) can use to prompt dialogue and higher order thinking. [For more information on thinking devices and other instructional coaching materials … please visit the Big Four Ning.]

Two of my favorite commercials from the 2011 Super Bowl are:

The Force

This young child shows us his sense of determination. He isn’t about to give up in his dreams, yet is a bit surprised at his final “accomplishments.”  As educators, we play a role in helping our students believe in themselves, just as the father in this commercial provided some assistance to the young Darth Vader.

Let’s share some stories. What have you done to help build a child’s confidence and belief in his/herself?

Bridgestone Carma

On a related note, the beaver in this commercial provides a sense of “I’ve got your back.” As educators, we too, advocate for our students and “have their backs.” I witness these acts of kindness each and every day.

What acts of kindness have you witnessed?

Do you have other favorite Super Bowl commercials? How could they be used in an educational setting?


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