Thursday, May 31, 2012

Take Notice and Media Literacy

Source: ASIDE
The natural extension in our media literacy curriculum for the sixth grade is the Take Notice project. It builds on the concept of questioning media that we've written about in other posts. This project brings together the techniques used in the art of persuasion through dialog and images to make a case for a particular issue. We are also lucky enough to have an Apple store that makes its space available to our students after hours for this special presentation. The evening itself is run like a media event, complete with a microphone and simulcasting on four large monitors at the Genius Bar.

Source: Apple Store, Manhasset, New York
In keeping with our belief that choice makes a difference in the outcome, we allow the groups to choose their topics for this project. Of course, they are age appropriate, but they address some tough issues that concern students. Interestingly enough, the parents are the ones who are enlightened by the middle-school mind, and many have often remarked that they had no idea that kids think about such hard-hitting issues. The topics run the gamut, including eating disorders, corporate espionage, hate crimes, global warming, cyberbullying and more.
Source: Power to Learn

Once the groups select their topics, each must develop an essential question it wants to answer and a solid thesis statement to guide the research. The students use a graphic organizer from the Power to Learn website to plan their editorials and to help guide them through the writing process. The final script, or screenplay, is compiled using Google documents before production begins on the movie. The sequencing of images follows the script to create the strongest impact.

The required time frame for each movie documentary may not exceed two and a half minutes in length, including a full works cited listing at the end. This forces the students to focus on the thesis statement to convey their particular point of view.

Producing their own documentaries not only makes others take notice, but also is a subtle way for the students to use the techniques in marketing, persuading, and promoting an issue. The Take Notice project empowers kids on another level as well. Their voices get heard, and adults take notice, too!

This is another example of project-based learning in TIME (technology, information, and media education) that reinforces the integration multiple literacies.


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