Lesson Plans on Media Literacy for Children

Instructor`s Bio

Vanessa Espitia Mendoza is currently a doctoral student in the Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Culture at the University of Texas at El Paso.  She is presently a Research Assistant in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her educational background includes a Master`s certification in Science Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Buffalo New York and a Bachelor´s Degree in Psychology from the University of La Salle in Gomez Palacio, Durango Mexico.  Her area of expertise ranges from: teacher; educational and psychology consultant for teachers and administrators; individual and group counselor to students from 5 to 17 years of age; and professional trainer.  Her research interests are critical pedagogy, education for social justice, bilingualism and bi-literacy.

 

Theory

The theory used to prepare this lesson plan was Critical Pedagogy.  Critical pedagogy views the world as a historical and cultural context that can be understood in relation to the student`s experiences and transformed for social change (Freire, 2003; McLaren, 2007).  Children should co-construct their own knowledge and use their curiosity, enthusiasm, and creativity to explore reality in an authentic way.   This authenticity eliminates the banking approach and is based upon active participation, critical thinking, co-construction, reflection, and action.  With the help of teachers and a group of students, learners can reach proximal levels of development and stimulate critical thinking that can foster an understanding of reality (McLaren, 2007).  Children have a lot of power with parents and other surrounding adults; this power should be used as agency to transmit inquietude, enthusiasm, curiosity, collaboration, reflection and pressure for change.

In order to become critical thinkers, students most become aware and understand the existing information.  According to Peterson (2003), students can become connected to the world and gain consciousness through activities such as movies, field trips, current events, speakers, poetry and music.  These activities can be accompanied with dialogue and reflection.

 


 

 

Lesson Plans on Media Literacy for Children

Grade level: 1st Grade

Subject area:  Language Arts and Reading

Objective:  Students need to critically analyze how media messages impact meaning.

Texas State Curriculum Standards for English Language Arts and Reading (1st Grade):

(12)  Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students (with adult assistance) are expected to:

(A)  Identify different forms of media (e.g., advertisements, newspapers, radio programs); and

(B)  Identify techniques used in media (e.g., sound, movement).

(As cited in Texas Education Agency, 2010)

 

 

Content:

Although the media offers more information and more choices, not all individuals have increased there capacities to understand, manage and interpret this information.   The goal of Media Literacy is to develop the ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate this combination of images, graphics and sounds (Kubey, R. 1997).  It is important that students from all ages become media literate.

Over the years, media educators have identified three types of media:  entertainment media (books, magazines, movies, television programs, internet, songs); informational media (newspapers, magazines, news broadcasts, internet); and persuasive media (books, editorials and columns and advertising).  Five principles of media have been identified as well:

  1. All media message experienced are constructed. The message created by a few people becomes the understanding of the world for the rest of the persons. In order to help students navigate in a technology and modern society, they need to understand how media is created with words, images, graphics, and sounds; how certain information is rejected; and how the media shapes what is known and understood of the world.
    1. These messages are constructed with a creative language and independent rules. By understanding the language, students can enjoy the media but at the same time understand it and be less manipulated by it.
    2. Each person experiences the media differently. Due to age, education and personality, each person views the media messages in their independent personal form. The more each person questions these messages, the more that person can decide what to accept or reject.
    3. The primarily motive behind the media businesses are profit. They don`t just entertain, but have the purpose of selling their products or selling time in a network.
  • Media convey values and points of view. Media are storytellers with plots, characters, settings and values and points of view integrated into them. It is important to analyze and evaluate these messages that are in the mediated environment (Thoman, 2003; Serrano Sevilla, 2008).

 

  1. Along with these five principles, five questions have been developed to question the media and are cited by Thoman (2003):
  1. Who created this message and why are they sending it?
  2. What techniques are being used to attract my attention?
  3. What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in the message?
  4. How might different people understand this message differently from me?
  5. What is omitted from this message?

Crafton, Brennan & Silvers (2007) settled on four questions for children to look at books, images, pictures and websites:

  • Whose voices do we hear? Whose voices are absent?
  • What does the author/illustrator want you to think?
  • What are the other ways to think about the same idea (topic, event, or situation)?
  • Who might need help to make the situation more fair (just, democratic)?

(p.513).

 


 

 

Lesson Plan 1

Take off your Sunglasses, Viewing Rapunzel with a Media Critical Literacy

Grade level:  First Grade

Subject area:  Language Arts and Reading

Objective:  Analyze books to understand how entertainment and persuasive media messages impact meaning.

Timeframe:  1 class session of 60 minutes

Activities: 

  1. Teachers need to previously teach their students about the types of media and the principles of the media.
  2. In a literature circle, the teacher will read out loud two different Rapunzel books.       Students compare and contrast the same books in their styles and contents.
  3. Children answer the following questions for both books. The teacher uses a visual compare and contrast chart to write the answers:
  • Whose voices do we hear? Whose voices are absent?
  • What does the author/illustrator want you to think?
  • What attracts your attention?
  • What are the other ways to think about the same idea (topic, event, or situation)?
  • Who might need help to make the situation more fair (just, democratic)?
  1. These questions should serve as dialogue triggers for group discussions that foster critical thinking and reflection.       The relation of content and student experiences is encouraged. Themes that emerge can be used for reflection or to direct future student activities.

Materials:

Two different books of the story of Rapunzel.  Some recommendations are:

*Jones, C.C. (2011). Rapunzel: A Retelling of the Grimm`s Fairy tale.  Minnesota: Picture Window Books.

*Zelinsky, P.O. (2002).  Rapunzel.  USA: Penguin Group.

*Peters, S., True Peters, S. & Timmins, J.S. (2009).  The Graphic Novel: Rapunzel.

Teacher assessment:  Through observations, communication and responses, the teachers can observe if the students show critical thinking, reflection, consciousness of reality, dialogue, engagement and creativity.

 


 

 

Lesson Plan 2

Multi Perspective Stories

Objective:  Analyze books and movies to understand how media messages impact meaning.

Timeframe: 1 hour and 30 minutes to watch film and 45 minutes for discussion

Activities

    1. Students will watch a recent Disney Movie called “Tangled”, which is the latest version of Rapunzel.
  • Students compare and contrast the books to the movie with the same questions used in Lesson Plan 1. These questions will serve as a guide to question and analyze media.       Students can become familiar with these questions and incorporate them with other media. The teacher will also have a visual comparison chart of the books and the movie. Other questions to think about are:

 

      • What are the similarities between the books and the movie?
      • What are the differences between the books and the movie?
      • What is the director in the movie trying to tell you that is different from the book?
  • The questions should serve as dialogue triggers for group discussions that foster critical thinking and reflection. The relation of content and student experiences is encouraged.
  • Themes that emerge can be used for reflection or to direct future student activities.       For example, students can write their own story of Rapunzel or the sequence of Rapunzel that reflects their personal experience and reality. In groups, they can elaborate a small drama that takes under consideration the principles of media and role play it for their classroom, other classrooms, or their parents.

 

Materials:  Disney movie called Tangled.

Teacher assessment:  Through observations, communication, responses, and projects, the teachers can observe if the students show critical thinking, reflection, consciousness of reality, dialogue, engagement and creativity.

 


 

References

Freire, P. (2003).  Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  New York: The Continuum

International Publishing Group.

 

Kubey, R. (1997).  Media Literacy in the Information Age:  Current Perspectives

Information and Behavior.  New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

 

McLaren, P. (2007).  A Pedagogy of Possibility.  In A. Ornstein, E.F. Pajak & S.

Ornstein (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Curriculum (21-32). New Jersey: Pearson.

 

Peterson, R.E. (2003).  Teaching How to Read the World and Change It:  Critical

Pedagogy in the Intermediate Grades.  In A. Darder, M. Baltodano & R.D.

 

Torres (Eds.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (365-387).  New York:  Routledge.

 

Serrano Sevilla, M.C.A. (2008).  Aprender a Mirar: El internado, Una Propuesta Para el

Pensamiento Crítico.  Comunicar, 31 (XVI), 439-444.

 

Texas Education Agency (2010).  Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, Part II,

Chapter 110.  Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for English Language Arts and Reading: Subchapter A. Elementary. Retrieved from http://tter.tea.state.tx.us

/rules/tac/chapter110/ch110a.html#110.12

 

 

Thoman, E. (2003).  Skills & Strategies for Media Education.  Retrieved from Center for Media Literacy at http://medialit.org/reading_room/pdf/CMLskillsandstrat.pdf.

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