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Teacher Creates Awesome Uni-Themed Assignment for Students

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Uni Watch reader Tom Roddy is an 11th grade history teacher in Henderson, Nevada. Each year, as part of teaching a unit on the New Deal, he has his students create basketball uniforms for a New Deal-related program or federal agency. The movie-themed design shown above is for the National Film Service, which you can learn more about here. (Some of you may recall that I also featured some of Tom’s students’ designs last year.)

Here’s another one I really like, for the Agricultural Adjustment Act:

And this next one, for the Electric Home and Farm Authority, looks like something that a G League team could wear today:

Here’s another one for that same agency — the EHFA — that might be my favorite of the entire batch. Check out the excellent electric cord/plug graphic on the shorts:

I really love these. You can see some additional designs in this gallery:


Using uniforms as a way to help teach history is so awesome. Please join me in thanking Tom Roddy for sharing these with us, and for the important work he does as a teacher.

Update: So many teachers have asked about doing something similar that Tom Roddy has created this public link to the assignment. All educators are welcome to use it!



ITEM! New Premium Article

What you see above is the cover page from a lengthy PowerPoint file that the Mets are using this season to pitch themselves to brands that might want to advertise on the team’s game broadcasts and/or in their ballpark. It covers everything from the green-screen ads behind the plate to ads on the outfield walls, and a lot more. It’s a fascinating document that gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at how such deals are sold.

For this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack, I went through the document, page by page, with longtime Uni Watch reader and ad industry professional Ben Thoma, who had lots of really good insights. The resulting article is a doozy — over 5,000 words — and I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like it.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the whole thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!



ITEM! New "Can of the Day" Feature

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, lately I’ve been putting some of my houseplants in vintage tin cans, plus I have those new collections of vintage typewriter ribbon cans and moth vaporizer cans, all of which means I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at old can designs on eBay, and I’ve come to a conclusion: Old can designs are really, really cool. They feel playful and industrial simultaneously, and the metal surface really makes the graphics pop.

So I’ve decided that we’re going to have a new daily feature — the Can of the Day. Most days it’ll just be a photo of an old can I spotted on eBay and a sentence or two of text, although I might have more to say about particularly interesting specimens. We’ll see how the project evolves.

I got the idea to do this after spotting the amazing floor wax can shown above (here’s the full listing for it). What a design! I love the colors, the two lobes on the front, the heel-shaped graphic about scuff marks — all of it! I felt the need to share it, and that’s when I thought, “Oh, I could do that every day on Uni Watch.” So that’s what I’m going to do.

I realize some of you probably don’t care about old tin can designs as much as I do, and that’s fine — you can just ignore this section each day. But for those of you who appreciate such things, I look forward to sharing these designs with you. Enjoy!

Update: Proofreader Jerry Wolper found an old TV commercial for this product:

Comments (25)

    I remember watching commercial for Glo-Coat….some ad agency in New York had a big bump from it

    The surprise to me is that they made a color one. I thought that campaign belonged solely to the black and white era.

    “Mad Men” had a storyline about the agency winning an award for a Glo-Coat ad.

    Yes! I thought of that episode as soon as I read Paul’s item and was trying to recall whether it was for this real product or a made-up one. Thanks for saving me some mental gear-grinding.

    OK someone needs to put those Agricultural Adjustment Act shorts into production right now.

    Is the “Can of the Day” something you would accept submissions for, or are you going to limit this feature to cans that you find? I’m guessing that you’ve already filled the pipeline to some extent, since you are confident that there is sufficient material to make this an everyday feature.

    I like the new “Can of the Day” feature…a trip through time. Suggestion…could you put in the write up a time frame of when the can may have been used? It may take some digging, but I think would be worth it to provide some context. That particular can strikes me as being from the mid 1960s. I did some digging and found this product was around since the 1930s!


    Although the product may be older, today’s can is definitely from the 1960s. I’ll try to include the era of origin when possible.

    I want to take Mr. Roddy’s class. That sort of sort was mostly what I was doing in my classes anyway.

    Tom Roddy, you have some very talented students and you must be an exceptional teacher. Those kids will always remember what the New Deal did because of this assignment. That is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen, and well done to your students as well.

    Tom Roddy, you have some very talented students and you must be an exceptional teacher. Those kids will always remember what the New Deal did because of this assignment. That is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen, and well done to your students as well.

    Re: the Mets sponsorship doc; if you look in the global footer in all 30 clubs’ websites, you should see a similarly-named link to that club’s pertinent information (sometimes labeled “Corporate Partnerships”, or “Sponsorship Opportunities”; you get the idea). Some use a fancier approach than others to convey their info, but there’s something generally available to look at.

    I love the New Deal uniforms and how it’s become another annual Uni Watch tradition started – and continued – by a reader. This really is an awesome comm-uni-ty!

    As the son of a teacher (who was quite creative and I could see doing a project like that), I say kudos!

    Kudos to Tom for that fun little school project. Kinda wish I had gotten something like that when I was in school!

    I’ve already commented on Substack, but I feel I have to hit this point hard: Agency FB was not a good choice to be used for the entire Powerpoint. It’s a decent enough font for headlines and signs, and it’s even acceptable for the Canucks’ numbers and NOBs, but when one uses it for all of the text of an entire document, it makes for a rough read. I get you don’t want to have a plain, default font (e.g. Arial, Calibri, or Verdana) and you want something eye-catching, but again, a font like Agency is best for headlines. The rest of the text needs to be comfortably readable.

    These uniforms and the idea behind it are so cool. Wish I had a teacher like Tom back in the day. This create an uniform idea can be applied to many historical subjects but from now on, whenever I see the words The New Deal I will think of Tom, his students and their uniform designs.
    As for can of the day feature: cool! Are soft drink cans too small or do they also qualify?

    I’m thrilled to see uniform design used in an application where storytelling should be encouraged.

    That is an awesome assignment! I’m an English teacher, but I forwarded this post to the US history teacher at my school. He may be utilizing something similar soon.

    Hey All,

    It’s Tom Roddy. Thank you so much for your kind words and positive feedback! I love that so many educators out there want to use this lesson too! It’s so humbling and validating to get such a positive response. The uni-verse/comm-uni-ty is the best!

    I wonder how much accidental traffic you’ll get from people searching a totally different Can of the Day…

    It won’t be the same as the original Uni Watch COTD sidebar from days gone by…but I’ll of course enjoy it!
    PS-I Miss Mike Chamernik‘s Question of The Week feature as well.

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