Media Literacy Activities for Middle School


Media Literacy is more than watching a video!  Find out the 3 steps needed to truly analyze media.

When I say Media Literacy what do you think of?  In a recent discussion at my school, some teachers thought that showing the video version of a story is good enough because this standard can't really be assessed, right?  Well actually...

In Florida, this skill is reportedly assessed directly in our standardized tests by asking students to read and then listen to a speech.  So, I decided to analyze the standard, create some notes, a text and a speech to match.

First we reviewed some basic vocabulary relative to media literacy and then took some notes so that students would have a solid background as we read the information and then listened to it.

In the notes, there are 3 steps to analyzing media:

1.  Compare and contrast the text and the audio.

To accomplish this, we used a Venn Diagram.  We wrote down how the text and the speech are alike and different on the surface.  We asked questions like "What kinds of appeals does each use?"

2.  Determine the reliability of the information presented.

Next, we dug a little deeper and looked at both the text and the audio for things like word choices.  Then we asked ourselves "Do these word choices represent opinions or facts?" and "How did the speaker's choices affect your understanding or interpretation of the information?"

3.  Determine the effect of presenting the information in one media vs. the other by examining the advantages and disadvantages.

Finally, we took what we had done in the first 2 steps and used that to determine the effect of the text by analyzing its advantages and disadvantages.  Then we did the same thing for the audio.  Now taking into account what the goal of the text/audio was, we could determine if the goal was achieved thereby making it effective (or ineffective).  Questions we pondered were "What was the effect of reading and hearing the same information?" and  "How did this affect the audience?"

Use these 3 steps to analyze media and increase your middle school students' media literacy!

It definitely takes time to work through this process but if the students engage in the conversation related to these questions, they will connect some dots they have never connected before.

The trick is finding a text with audio that is interesting to the students.  All too often, the speeches "they" select for students are hardly relevant to the students.  So what I did was think about things that my students had interest in, locate a good text and make my own audio.   Then I add in some menus with 2 choices for practice.

Want to try this out with your own students?  It's all ready to go just by clicking here.

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