Spent the day with Chris Speery from the Look Smart organization. The group is based at Ithaca College and works mostly with teachers in northern New York. They have created some very neat stuff about how we can teach kids to analyze, evaluate, and produce media in all of its forms.

Chris provided rationale for teaching kids to be media literate:

  • promotes citizenship in a democracy
  • supports engaging activities that promote learning
  • encourages critical thinking skills
  • allows for diverse learning styles
  • provides a way to address content and standards

He gave examples of the many different types of materials that can be considered media (books, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, radio, television, movies, video games, computer games, the Internet). Media also include recorded music, billboards and other signs, most games, package labels, and advertising in all of its forms. In the classroom, the media are likely to include textbooks, posters, and maps).

Together we all worked on different activities that teach media literacy. My favorite was using two different textbooks to show bias and perspective. Chris used American and a Soviet Union texts that both discussed D-Day.

I also enjoyed a 2nd Grade unit that asked kids to look at photographs depicting urban, suburban, or rural scenes and decide which was which. The end product in the unit asked kids to create their own presentations using i-Movie to describe the area in which they lived.

A good day with some useful ideas!