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Media Literacy is Elementary

Teaching Youth to Critically Read and Create Media- Second Edition

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Jeff Share

This book provides a practical and theoretical look at how media education can make learning and teaching more meaningful and transformative. This second edition includes more resources, photographs, and updated information as well as two new chapters: one exploring the pedagogical potential for using photography in the classroom and the other documenting a successful university course on critical media literacy for new teachers. The book explores the theoretical underpinnings of critical media literacy and analyzes a case study involving an elementary school that received a federal grant to integrate media literacy and the arts into the curriculum. Combining cultural studies with critical pedagogy, critical media literacy aims to expand the notion of literacy to include different forms of mass communication, information communication technologies, and popular culture, as well as deepen the potential of education to critically analyze relationships between media and audiences, information, and power. This book is a valuable addition to any education course or teacher preparation program that wants to promote twenty-first century literacy skills, social justice, civic participation, media education, or critical uses of technology. Communications classes will also find it useful as it explores and applies key concepts of cultural studies and media education.
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Chapter 4. Voices from the Trenches: Elementary School Teachers Speak about Implementing Media Literacy

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VOICES FROM THE TRENCHES

Elementary School Teachers Speak about Implementing Media Literacy

For 3 years at Leo Politi Elementary School in downtown Los Angeles, a federally funded project called SMARTArt taught teachers and students how to think critically about media and create alternative media messages (Figure 4.1). When Project SMARTArt ended in June 2004, the outside partner organizations left the teachers and the students to continue on their own. The Music Center discontinued sending artists to Leo Politi Elementary School; the Center for Media Literacy stopped providing professional development, coaching sessions, and demonstration lessons; and AnimAction ended their animation workshops at Leo Politi. Since the majority of the money from the grant was paying for these services of artists and professional development, when the grant ended, so did most of the support. The equipment and material that were purchased with money from the grant remains at Leo Politi, although only a small portion of the funding went toward purchasing equipment and resources, such as two televisions and VCRs, a couple of digital cameras, a computer for the animation software, and supplies like videos and books. Most of those items have been dispersed or are unaccounted for.

Some of the resources that were developed or used during the grant have been posted on the Internet, such as media literacy lesson plans, a theoretical ← 65 | 66 → framework for how to teach media literacy and a case study about Project SMARTArt.1 During...

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