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Grade 8 Expectations and Activities

BACK to Ontario Media Literacy Main Page
WIINDMILL PRESS (Canadian publisher of media literacy books and resources)

According to the Ontario Ministry of Education's Elementary Curriculum in Media Communications, grade 8 students will:

identify and analyze the formulas used in different categories of media works

describe a media work, outlining its different parts and steps and choices involved in planning and producing it

evaluate the effectiveness of various informational media works

create media works of some technical complexity

Click here for a review and definition of Types of Media Works, Media Technique, and Purpose of Media Works

Activities for Your Grade 8 Classroom

Of course, these are only ideas, meant to jump start your own concepts which you will infuse into your classroom based on the curriculum you are bringing to your eighth graders. The key for media literacy is not to have a media unit per se, but to use media literacy throughout the school year in language studies.

have students concentrate on the formulaes used by various types of TV--talk shows, situation comedies, dramas, cartoon stories, openings of sports games, sports highlight packages, etc

analyze the first 7 or 8 minutes of various talk shows and compare the formalas used--an opening monologue, a "side-kick, musical entertainment, banter between host(ess) and audience/band leader, etc

have students concentrate on the formula used in newspapers--the front page, the sports page, the Local page, International news, the Classifieds, etc

have students study the formulas used in simple news reporting, stories that move from general information to specific

have students analyze headlines for language formulas--use of verbs (action words) for controversy

have students write headlines for various news stories which you provide

have students write a simple news story of a local crime or a local hero

collect various front pages of newspapers on a given day and compare them (make a list of comparisons and difference in a chart and have students write a response analyyzing the differences)

collect front pages from the same newspaper over a week and compare the front pages to see how they differ or are similar; create a chart and have students write a report or response analyzing the similarities and differences

do a similar study of magazines

if you have internet access, bookmark some websites you would feel safe for your students to visit; give them some guidelines to make some observations--colour, font style, ease of navigation

have students come up with a "formula" for a good website on the Internet based on their observations in last exercise

plan the production of a situation comedy; assign a producer, director, writers,, set people, etc; as teacher, you decide the type of show that will be created and "brief" the class, giving reasons such as demographics; give as much detail as you wish, including the time slot and name of the show, even the character "types" (dopey character, egghead, etc) commonly found in situation comedy formulas; work on the planning of a pilot show; dramatize the show; note: modify planning to your specific context--for example, set people might draw some key props and write a report in more detail about what the set would look like

watch 10 minutes of a local news program; quiz students on the news story content; ask very basic questions; they will likely fail the test (do not tell them they will be tested)

discuss with students why they couldn't remember most of the details about the news

watch one particular news story of interest; brainstorm how you might have presented this story differently

before showing a news clip of interest, give basic details to your class about the news story, and give students the task of describing the way they would present the news story (you may storyboard it or run this as a 10 minute exercise in which the students write down their notes in point form); show the news clip to see how the students' presentation of the news was similar or different from the TVs; discuss presentation of news

study the photographs on the fronts of newspapers over a given week or of different newspapers on the same day; evaluate the effectiveness of the main photograph; create a set of criteria that you think should be met before a photograph is used for the front page (interesting, controversial); create a scale from 1-5 giving descriptors for an effective ad on a front page and evaluate a number of front pages

shape the previous assignment around other forms of media--front covers of news magazines, sports magazines, fashion magazines; or evaluate other parts of the newspaper like the sports or business sections; always give reasons to back up viewpoints

create a two minute mystery on video

create a basic talk show on video

create a news show for radio on a cassette player (emphasize order of the stories and tone of voice, choice of language)

Click here for information about 3 Young Adult Novels about Television, Newspaper, and the Internet