Luke, C. (1999). Media and cultural studies in Australia. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 42 (8), 622-626.
The first activity in this unit requires students to identify different types of media found in their homes and school (particularly media that is connected to their everyday experiences). Examples include books, newspapers, television, recorded music, and video games.
After empowering students with language that they can use during a critical discussion of media, we turn to activities that will broaden their understanding of media and its implications. Two main topics are addressed and developed: (1) the media’s impact on popular culture and (2) available techniques for constructing meaning when exposed to media.
A final project concludes the unit. Students produce a particular type of media (zines). This activity encourages students to compare corporate forms of media to the more DIY (Do-It-Yourself) “underground” media. It fosters students’ desires to create original work and it allows them to gain a better understanding of a particular type of media (zines) by recognizing their personal interests and experiences.
Help students to acknowledge the media that surrounds them
Introduce vocabulary words and language related to media
Review the media’s effect on popular culture
Teach analytical skills for constructing meanings when exposed to media
Foster students’ desires to create original work
Unit Plan Aligns with the Following NYS Learning Standards:
Standard 1 – Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts
Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.
Standard 2 – Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.
Standard 4 – Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts
Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.
English Language Arts Standard 1 - Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information. Standard 2 - Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression Students will read and listen to oral, written and electronically produced texts and performances, relate texts and performances to their own lives, and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent. As speakers and writers, students will use oral and written language for self-expression and artistic creation. Standard 3 - Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation As listeners and readers, students will analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria. As speakers and writers, they will present, in oral and written language and from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information and issues. Standard 4 - Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction Students will use oral and written language for effective social communication with a wide variety of people. As readers and listeners, they will use the social communications of others to enrich their understanding of people and their views. (Retrieved from: http://eservices.nysed.gov/vls/standardsList.do)
Materials and Resources
Presentation laptop with Internet access and video clips of TV commercials
Access to school media center
Magazines for teens
Enough “grab bag” baskets per groups that will contain small pieces of paper with written media terms. (See ‘Lesson One’)
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/classroom_exercises/body_image/seventeen_undermines.cfm (resource for teen magazine)
http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson96/media_ob.pdf (PDF file of media observation sheet)
Various examples of zines
Multiple copies of Francesca Lia Block and Hillary Carlip’s Zine Scene: The Do It Yourself Guide to Zines and Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson’s Watcha Mean, What’s a Zine?
Art supplies for creating zines
Target Audience and Prerequisites
Eighth-grade Language Arts class
Elementary reading skills
Some knowledge of corporate media
(Teacher will take on the role of lecturer and discussion facilitator.)
Timing of Unit Plan
4 days of forty-minute class periods of instruction, discussions, “hands on” activities, and exposure to interactive media
1 week for independent work (creation of zines) outside of class (Depending on student performance and complexity of the zines, more time may be needed.)
2 to 3 forty-minute class periods for students to view their classmates’ completed zines and discuss the design process.
Narrative of Procedures
Each student identifies different types of media with which he/she has had experience.
Students are introduced to terminologies relevant to the media world.
Students are empowered with common vocabulary and terminology used in different aspects of media.
As an example of media, a short video clip from an advertisement is played and discussed.
Class Activity (that is continued at home and concluded the next lesson day):
The class is divided into small, heterogeneous groups.
One basket, per group, is filled with mystery words written on a piece of paper (media terminology words). The basket is passed around the group and the students will select one term, research its relevance to media, and become an expert on that area.
Each student selects and browses through a teen magazine.
Each student is required to read at least one article or advertisement in the magazine and then fill out an analytical observation sheet
(PDF file available at http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson96/media_ob.pdf )
Fill out Media Observation Sheets
Completion of Media Observation Sheets
Discuss and define “popular culture.”
Elaborate on the effects of media on popular culture.
Teach analytical skills for constructing meanings when exposed to media .
The second lesson is a move from the abstract terminologies to the more concrete aspects
of the media world. The intent is to create relevance between the subject matter and the material
being spoken of, and to discuss what effects the media has on popular culture.
Class Activity (that is continued at home and concluded the next lesson day):
Workshop at the school media center where different types of media are explained and demonstrated.
The class is divided into the same small, heterogeneous groups.
Within each small group, each student researches his/her media term by using various resources (Internet, teacher handout, books, etc.). On the following day, each student is given the opportunity to:
Explain his/her media term/vocabulary word
Elaborate on how that aspect of media corresponds to the findings in the magazine and in the media sheet handout.
Answer any questions that classmates or the teacher may have about the oral presentation.
Teacher guides, assesses students’ definitions, and offers suggestions and implications of their findings while rotating among the groups.
Read teacher handout on analytical skills for constructing meanings when exposed to media.
Write a small composition on researched media term.
Presentation of media term to peers, along with group idea interchange.
Second Lesson cont’d.
Students will be able to:
Compare different types of media (with a particular focus on purpose, authorship, funding, and intended audience)
Create original work (both images and text/prose)
Understand differences between corporate media and grassroots “underground” media
Combine recently acquired information with their personal interests and experiences to create a particular type of media (zines)
(Front cover of Watcha Mean, What’s a Zine? by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson Boston: Graphia, 2006)
(excerpt from Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson Boston: Graphia, 2006 )
Day 1 and Day 2 of Third Lesson
Introduce students to the concept of zines. Divide students into small groups and allow them to view different types of print zines.
Ask students if they have read zines and/or created them. (Encourage the students to share their experiences.)
Mini-lecture and class discussion about zines. (Use Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson’s Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? as a guide, particularly the sections labeled “What’s a Zine”, “Why? Why?” and “A Personal History of Zines.”) Explain how zines developed (including their connection to popular culture) and note their various forms.
Facilitate a second discussion about the differences (and similarities) between zines and corporate forms of media.
Introduce assignment: Create a Zine!
End class with a brainstorming session and freewriting – “What kind of zine do you want to create?” (Also, make a few copies of Watcha Mean, What’s a Zine? and Zine Scence available for students to browse.)
Outline guidelines for zines project (including no foul language or attacks on classmates, teachers, school officials, etc.)
Present a mini-lecture about copyright and then stress the importance of originality for the zines project.
Provide students with materials for creating their own zines. (Students may wish to use their own materials, too.) State that the projects will be due in one week.
Note: Zine Scene includes a condensed version of ways to “copy right” (p. 92)
Due Date for Zines (and Following Class Period)
Each student brings his/her completed zine to class.
Display zines around the classroom and allow students to view their classmates’ work.
Ask each student to complete an evaluation form, which will include the following questions:
Why did you choose this particular topic or area of interest? What was your reaction to the creative process? What challenges did you face? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of media to express your opinions, interests, etc.? What would you have included/excluded (or done differently) if this was a personal project, rather than a school assignment? Finally, facilitate an informal discussion about the process of creating the zines.
Rubric for Completed Zines Total Points: _____/15 Student does not complete evaluation form. Student completes evaluation form but responses are vague and poorly written. Student completes evaluation form and most of the responses are thoughtful and well-written Student completes evaluation form and includes thoughtful, well- written responses. Evaluation Form Student ignores rules of copyright and illegally borrows images and information. Student exhibits some regard to copyright laws and correct citations. In the majority of the zine, the student avoids violating copyright laws and correctly gives credit for legally borrowed images and/or information. Student avoids violating copyright laws and correctly gives credit for legally borrowed images and/or information. Copyright Student does not complete the zine. Zine is disorganized and does not follow a central theme or multiple themes The majority of the elements of the zine connect to a central theme or multiple themes. All of the elements of the zine connect to a central theme or multiple themes. Attention to Theme In addition to inappropriate language, student includes offensive images and/or personal attacks. Student avoids the inclusion of personal attacks and offensive images, but includes some inappropriate language Student avoids the inclusion of inappropriate language, personal attacks, and offensive images Potential Offensiveness Student's creative effort is not evident. Zine is poorly constructed and writing is illegible. Student's creative effort is only somewhat evident. Zine is poorly constructed, but the majority of the writing is legible. Student's creative effort and use of different art supplies is evident. Zine is fairly well-constructed and the majority of the writing is legible. Student's creative effort and use of different art supplies is quite evident. Zine is well-constructed and writing is legible. Quality of Construction 0 1 2 3 CATEGORY