Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Specific Strategies for ELA Strands

This entry will discuss sample strategies for incorporating the six ELA strands (reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and representing) into short-non fiction units and lesson plans. It will focus on the unit of Advertising and list specific examples and activities that relate to the strands.

Reading: There are a variety of texts to choose from when analyzing and studying non-fiction. Students are assigned an article from a magazine such as Adbusters or a chapter from Naomi Kline's book No Logo that discusses advertising techniques and strategies that appeal to youth.

Writing: Non-fiction units are a great opportunity for teachers to get students to focus on writing both personal and critical responses to the different forms of texts that are being introduced. An instructor can ask students to write a personal response to the viewing of an advertisment. Students may also be required to write a critical response to an advertisment, discussing who and why the advertisment was created and whether or not it would be effective for its target audience.

Viewing: Students can view a number of advertisments both in print and on the television. Students are expected to be able to observe details and cues that suggest hidden messages and meanings behind advertisements.

Representing: Students can create their own satirical advertisement using video, webpage, or poster format.

Listening: Students can listen to radio commercials and compare and contrast that medium of advertising with the television commercial.

Speaking: Students can present an advertisment that they have found to be controversial, and explain why in front of the class.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Advertising and Popular Culture

Using Advertising and Popular Culture in the ELA Classroom

Students are bombarded with advertisements countless times throughout their lives, and it is important for them to recognize and understand the mediums in which these messages come from.  The Language Arts classroom offers a space for students to explore and analyze popular culture texts (such as music, television shows, advertisements, trends and styles) and to uncover explicit and implicit meanings that exist within these texts. Students can write personal responses as well as persuasive essays to respond to texts, and can also create their own representation on a theme or topic used in popular culture.

The following resources are full of wonderful classroom activities and assignments.

Teacher Resources:

-Scanning Television (2nd Edition): Seeing Ourselves:Media and Representation Videos 1-24 (DVD) 2003 Face to Face Media Ltd.
-Scanning Television:Teacher's Guide: 51 Short Videos for Media Literacy Studies, by Neil Andersen, Kathleen Tyner, and John J. Pungente, SJ.  Published by Harcourt Canada 2003.
Scanning Television is a Canadian resource that shows a variety of North American advertisements and short documentaries about the advertising industry and popular culture.  span>
-Adbusters Magazine and website. http://www.adbusters.org.
Adbuster magazine and website is essentially a "culture jammer" media production that analyzes and satirizes popular culture and advertising.  It is a great classroom tool to use as a contrast to conventional advertising and media, and for analyzing point of view.
No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies by Naomi Kline ,Published by Vintage Canada in 2000.
No Logo is a non-fiction book written by Canadian writer and activist Naomi Kline.  The book examines globalization and big-name branding and how activist resistance is changing the way the world thinks about globalization.  Individual chapters would be very useful for discussing advertising and branding and how it affects youth and the world.  The writing in this book is compelling and accessible and would appeal to many young adult readers.
Mass Media and Popular Culture (Book and Resource Binder) By:Barry Duncan, Janine D'Ippolito, Cam Macpherson, and Carolyn Wilson.  Published by Harcourt Brace and Company Canada, Ltd. 1996
Mass Media and Popular Culture is a effectual book that examines media and popular culture and invites young adults to examine and challenge their views and opinions of the topics.  This is a great textbook to use for a full media unit in either Language Arts or Social Studies, but it can also be useful for smaller subunits or lessons.

Media Central

Why use Media in an ELA Classroom?

When I think of types of short non-fiction texts, newspaper and magazine articles are usually one of the first mediums that come to my mind.  The question often arises in discussions concerning teaching media studies: "Do current events and media have a place in Language Arts classrooms?"  I believe that the answer is an unquestionable YES!  One of the primary aims of the ELA curriculum is to help students become critical thinkers and to use language to make sense of their world, as well as communicate in meaningful ways within that world.  By getting students to watch, read, listen and respond to various media sources, teachers encourage students to use and understand language in a real world context.  Using media is an effective way to draw students into the curriculum and also get them to analyze different texts and think deeply about world issues.  Media can also be very beneficial for teachers that use a thematic approach.  For example. if a teacher was doing a unit based on the theme of race and racism, he or she could use current media stories about racism, and discuss how different media presents race, and could also use a book such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to compare and contrast current views and perceptions on race.  By analyzing current media events, students can draw parallels and contrasts to novels and short stories and can better apply them to their own lives and world. 

How to Use Media in the ELA Classroom?

The advances in technology make it very simple and easy to bring in current forms of media into the classroom.  Teachers can utilize on-line news websites and podcasts, and choose a variety of media from around the world.  TEachers can also bring in more traditional forms of media, such as newspapers and magazines, and can encourage their students to do the same.

Below is a list of media resources that could be useful in an ELA classroom.

-www.cbc.ca.  This is the CBC webpage that contains a vast amount of news articles, video clips and podcasts.  It is an invaluable resource for reputable Canadian news.

-Magazines such as McLeans, TIME, Newsweek, The New Yorker, and National and Canadian Geographic contain a lot of useful articles about current events and issues.

-Media Literacy for Global Citizenship: An educational resource for Grades 6-8, supporting Language Arts, Media Studies and Social Studies curricula. A booklet published by World Vision Canada 2003.  This is a useful teacher resource with ideas and sample lesson plans for teaching media studies.

-Digital Expressions: Media Literacy and English Language Arts.  Book by Roberta F. Hammett and Barrie R.C. Barrell.  This is another great resource book that explains how teachers can use media and new technology in the Language Arts classroom.