In the Classroom
This curriculum has been crafted so that it can be used flexibly in a variety of contexts. It is particularly helpful for middle-schools that are in the process of bringing media literacy into the classrooms and are seeking a framework that recognizes both the developmental needs (e.g. establishing identity) and the potential (e.g. through social activism) inherent to youth. Implementation at the school-level therefore, is likely to result in optimal gains.
Whole curriculum over three years (Grade 6 to 8)
When the three units are taught in series across three grades (i.e. Unit 1 in 6th grade; Unit 2 in 7th grade; and Unit 3 in 8th grade), students will be able to build on the valuable learning from preceding units. This cumulative sequencing not only builds on the prior knowledge students have acquired but it divides a meaningful program over a longer period of time, allowing for more manageable implementation. Also, because media is a pervasive aspect of youth’s everyday lives, it is expected that the classroom learning from this curriculum will inevitably affect students’ daily interactions online. This provides students with greater opportunities to reflect more deeply on their learning and consolidate their understanding more gradually (e.g. conversations with friends, while surfing on the internet, when “like”ing a youtube video). Collaboration across sixth to eighth grade teachers will be necessary and support from the school’s administration will be helpful. While complete usage of the curriculum is highly recommended, it is not required.
Whole curriculum over any one year/ Individual units in any one year
In schools where an educator is alone in implementing the curriculum, she/he is invited to either teach all three units (i.e. fall, winter and spring) over the course of the school year or a single unit based on the plans of the educator. Although the sample lesson plans may note only the Common Core Standard(s) of one particular grade, all lessons, with minor modifications, can be applied to at least one standard from 6th to 8th grades. Any objectionable material that may be intended for an older audience is up to the discretion of educators to include/exclude based on their own class.
Individual Lesson Plans
In classrooms where a culture of media literacy has already been developed, individual lesson plans of interest can be used to supplement and thereby strengthen already existing programs. Sample lesson plans have been written in such a way that educators should be able to use each one individually without relying on preceding lessons to conduct each effectively.
Acknowledging that all schools may not have the resources or interest in developing strong media literacy learning, this curriculum has also thoughtfully considered its use for after-school programs. The suitability for out-of-classroom learning is found in the identity-building, exploration and engagement, and project-based learning of the curriculum - integral objectives of many extra-curricular learning spaces. Forming partnerships with schools seeking before- and after-school programs with a focus in media literacy will provide both meaningful learning for students and meet objectives of both schools and after-school programs.