Planning the Media Literacy Unit

After a week of wasting away my time on MySpace and watching worthless television, I’m becoming more optimistic about student teaching and how much of the time I would be spending doing absolutely nothing better will at least be spent trying to become the best teacher that I can be for my now and future students.

I’m in the process of planning the 9th grade personal narrative unit and, today, I started planning the 10th grade media literacy unit.  I’ve found a wealth of materials online and am now coming face to face with the problem of narrowing down the resources that I will be able to use for a mere three week unit.  I could teach a class on this subject.  Perhaps, someday? 🙂

One of the best resources that I’ve found, oddly enough, has been a blog published by a magazine called Stay Free!.  They describe themselves as “a Brooklyn-based magazine that explores the politics and perversions of mass media and American culture.”  The media literacy program that they provide for high school and college teachers is amazing. 

From their blog I found out about Merchants of Cool, a PBS documentary detailing how corporations try to market their products to teenagers.  I am considering showing this toward the beginning of the unit.  Another introductory activity I picked up was a Powerpoint “Alphabet” excercise found in the curriculum’s course introduction.  From this slideshow students are tested on how well they know the environment surrounding them compared to letters that they see on commercial products all the time.

On a slightly off-topic, but still related, note, I also found on their site an intriguing article by Edward Jay Epstein entitled “The Marketing of Diamonds: How a successful cartel turned a worthless rock into a priceless gem.”  Between this, the constant references to “blood diamonds” in rap songs and the new movie Blood Diamond, I am beginning to feel unforgivably and irreversably conditioned, myself.  Perhaps I can tie my impending marriage and my conflicted desires and beliefs into the unit?  Ha!

But, I am having fun designing this unit.  Just have to get back to basics.  Logic. Rhetoric. Persuasion.  Logic. Rhetoric. Persuasion.

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