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WIINDMILL PRESS (Canadian publisher of media literacy books and resources)
identify questionable strategies presenters use to influence an audience
identify the various types of professionals involved in producing media work and describe the jobs they do
analyze and assess a media work and express a considered viewpoint about it it
create a variety of media works
Click here for a review and definition of Types of Media Works, Media Techniques, and Purpose of Media Works
find 3 - 5 advertising claims (weasel words like "virtually spotless," unique claims like No other car drives as smooth as Ford, or Unfinished claims like Tide gets your clothes cleaner)--you can find these (there are 10 in all) in Barry Duncan's book Mass Media and Popular Culture or in any book studying ads.
have students concentrate on 3-5 of these claims by writing down examples from commercials they've seen that use this technique
look through old magazines and find slogans that use claims that are suspect
make a list of popular slogans and on the opposite side of the page, write down what you think the slogan means (invariably, you will get different responses which tells you that most slogans want you to apply your own meaning
study the play of language, concentrating on puns, double meanings and plays on words; search for slogans or advertising copy that plays with language and explain the "play."
have students create a magazine in which each is given a role--give them a couple days to find out what that role is and on the day in which you write down the roles in a class brainstorming exercise, write down the descriptors students found out about their jobs
hand out to students slips of paper with the various roles of those involved in the production of a talk show (director, camera operator, sound people, etc) and have students brainstorm in groups what that person might do
look at an advertisement on overhead (colour overheads are fairly inexpensive) and as a class, try to identify the different roles that might have been needed to create the print advertisement
find a informational video on "a behind the scenes look" at something--for example, NBC did a behind-the-scenes look at Monday Night Football, Dateline, did a behind-the-scenes-look at how fashion magazine covers are created
order the "Production Notes" video from the Center for Media Literacy (go to Links); this video shows 8 commercials and then a slow motion version of each commercial with a voice-over which talks about the planning, price, meticulous detail that goes into the making of the commercial
teach students the basic structure of a movie review (bring in movie reviews of movies they might like); have students write a movie review analyzing a particular movie they've seen in the last month
show a movie and have students write a movie review in pairs (a Siskel and Ebert approach)
discuss to students that movies usually have a message--something being communicated to the audience like "if you work hard or keep believing, life will work out;" along with students, write down a list of movies the students have seen and beside each title, try to write down in one sentence what message the movie was trying to communicate.
look at a series of advertisements and armed with the knowledge that other "things" are being sold in most ads, attempt to capture two or three other "things" (athletic prowess, good looks, popularity, etc) being sold in the advertisement. Always follow-up these exercises with the question, "why would advertisers sell other things along side the product?" This will open a nice discussion on the connection between the product and other suggestions in advertising.
there are many activities you can do in media literacy in which you ask students to critically analyze apsects of media works (the writing or sets of a situation comedy)
create a video advertisement for a book
create an advertisement for running shoes in which you sell the shoes by "suggesting" the shoes give you more than shoes
write a radio ad script in which students will use humour to sell the product
create advertising companies (or divisions of one company) within your classroom in which a campaign is launched to sell somthing (running shoes, fast food, soft drinks): a radio ad division, a magazine ad division, a homepage banner division, a TV commercial division, etc; create a campaign in which each will use the same slogan to create different ads for a product
create a new campaign on a fresh product and rotate groups so that the radio group works on print ads, the TV ad group works on homepage banners, etc
Click here for two young adult media literacy novels written for sixth graders on television and newspapers