Lesson Plan Materials

Curriculum & Standards Resources

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.). NJ: Prentice Hall.

Our unit and lesson plan design uses Wiggins & McTighe’s backward design approach. This book is full of insights on rethinking the teaching practice and the goals of curriculum design.

Common Core State Standards

It is worth looking at the key design considerations on the Common Core website, which call for media literacy to be integrated across all subjects: “To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. In like fashion, research and media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.”

Common Core Standards Related to Technology

This open Google doc compiles all Common Core Standards related to technology and digital media. A useful resource for teachers questioning the relevance of digital media literacy amid the standards-based reform environment.

Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Commons Sense Media’s curriculum was a major inspiration for this critical media literacy curriculum. Their site offers a scope and sequence for K-12 that touches on identity, reputation, information literacy, digital footprint and privacy as well as subjects not addressed in this curriculum: cyberbullying, safety, and relationships.

The Ultimate Teacher's Guide to Social Media

A simple booklet for teachers to familiarize themselves with common tools that can be used in the classroom to facilitate learning in the classroom with students and understand students’ practices outside of the classroom as well.

Online Learning Tools


Padlet is a virtual blank wall that can be used for a variety of purposes in the classroom. This online tool is an excellent tool for brainstorming ideas, generating group posters, bookmarking, noticeboards or collecting feedback.


Glogster is a simple tech tool that can be used by students to create interactive digital poster boards to express their ideas, demonstrate their learning or simply communicate their creativity.

Word Cloud Tools: Wordle & Tagxedo

Both Wordle and Tagxedo can be used to create word clouds to visually express ideas, speeches and thoughts in stylish and often complex shapes.


Diigo is an online bookmarking tool that can be used to store, sort and share information through personal libraries, annotate informational texts and collaborate in groups. This will be particularly useful in sharing ideas and relevant sites between students during and after each of the units.

Lesson Plan Materials

Google - Search Education

Google in Education provides a robust collection of resources for teaching students how to search effectively online. Lesson plans are accessible to both beginning web users and advanced. Google-a-day prompts in particular are engaging and informative and would adapt well into Unit 2 lessons.

The New York Times Learning Network

The New York Times offers extensive teaching resources on a variety of subjects, media studies included. Browse resources specifically targeted to teaching with and about technology. Lesson plans applicable to this curriculum include: Who are you Online?: Considering Issues of Web Identity, Just Google it?: Developing Internet Search Skills, and Every Waking Minute: Examining Personal Media Habits. To address false information on the web, the second unit draws on a blog post about Jimmy Kimmel’s wolves in Sochi prank. Applicable to Unit 3, this lesson contains ways of engaging students to think deeply about the “Kony 2012” phenomenon by researching about the situation in Uganda and reflecting on the forms of activism it has promoted.

Newseum - Today's Front Pages

Washington D.C’s Newseum compiles the nation’s front pages on one site. This visually-stimulating resource is an effective way to compare and contrast media coverage in Unit 2.

Fake Newspaper Clip Generator

Use this simple online tool to generate fake newspaper clips. Could be used by the teacher to test students’ literacy savvy, or by students as part of a project.

Digital Footprint Introduction

This short clip, produced by Common Sense Media, acts as a hook for the digital footprint lesson and gets students thinking about what information is being collected as they browse the web.

Teaching Channel: Exploring Emigration: Cultural Identity

The Teaching Channel is a great resource for demonstrating practical tactics for teaching a variety of lesson plans. Many of the general tools can be allplied across all units of this curriculum. Here is a specific lesson on Cultural Identity that may help generate ideas for Unit 1.

Slacktivists Explained

Slacktivists is a term to describe a lazy activism by simply retweeting or liking causes that do not require any personal investment but give off an illusion of social good.

Further reading on social media for social good

Slacktivists is a term to describe a lazy activism by simply retweeting or liking causes that do not require any personal investment but give off an illusion of social good.

There remains skepticism about the efficacy of social media for social change. In SMALL CHANGE: Why the revolution will not be retweeted, Malcolm Gladwell from The New Yorker questions the true impact of social activism online by juxtaposing it with traditional examples.

The Kony 2012 phenomenon not only gathered unparalleled viewership in a short span of time, but also quickly stirred up much backlash from those who are more hesitant to attribute real social movements to social media alone. Below are several articles to provide multiple perspectives of such events including the Revolutions in Moldova, Egypt and the concept of aid:

David Campbell: Kony2012, symbolic action and the potential for change; Kony2012: networks, activism and community; The new media landscape (2): the importance of community;

Golnaz Esfandiari: The Twitter Devolution;

Brian T. Edwards: Tahrir – Ends of Circulation;

James Farrell:#KONY2012: A New Paradigm in Social Media for Social Change?;

David Faris:Revolutions Without Revolutionaries? Network Theory, Facebook, and the Egyptian Blogosphere;

Evgeny Morozov:Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go; Think Again: Twitter; TED Talk: How the Net Aids Dictatorships; 'Kony 2012' is Not a Revolution


The Persuaders

A 90-minute documentary about how the marketing industry is influencing U.S. culture and politics.

Generation Like

A documentary about what happens when the traditional teenage quest for identity and connection occurs online.

Social Activism Campaigns

Kony 2012

An experimental video about an obscure war criminal and the Lord’s Resistancd Army (LRA) from Uganda goes viral. See: Related Lesson Plan

Half the Sky

The Half the Sky movement seeks to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide through a transmedia project. Inspired by eponymous book, Half the Sky seeks to raise awareness of women's issues and also to provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women.See: Related Lesson Plan

Youth Social Activism Campaigns

Do Something

An organization that encourages youth to join or start a new campaign about a cause of personal interest. Opportunities for scholarships are also available here.

Shorty Awards: Teen Activism

The Shorty awards honor the best content producers in social media, including exemplary campaigns by teenagers for social activism.

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