Dear Family:

 We are beginning an exploration of the role of the mass media in our society using a new curriculum called Assignment: Media Literacy. Your child will be learning how to think critically about the media, including print and TV journalism, advertising, videogames, films and entertainment programming, and even documentaries.

Some activities your child may participate in include:

  • Analyzing the levels of realism in different kinds of programs, including news, advertising, infomercials, situation comedies, documentaries, and reality TV programs;
  • Analyzing how media messages shape our understanding of history, with emphasis on the American Civil War;
  • Learning to critically analyze internet web sites to identify messages that are credible, authentic and accurate;
  • Learning to identify how different points of view are found in news, advertising, infomercials, situation comedies, documentaries, and reality TV programs;
  • Reflecting on the addictive qualities of videogames and their impact on homework, social relationships and problem-solving;
  • Examining how violence is represented on television news and in various forms of entertainment, including sports;
  • Researching a historical character using an internet web quest and discovering how language can shape our perceptions of a character from history

    These classroom activities have been designed to strengthen students’ writing, reading, listening and speaking skills, in addition to other language arts skills including vocabulary development and critical thinking skills. Concepts in character education are emphasized in the ASSIGNMENT: MEDIA LITERACY curriculum.  In addition, this curriculum provides opportunities to improve knowledge of social studies, the fine arts, mathematics, and health education. The curriculum materials are designed to help students prepare for the MSPAP tests.

    Because most of our children’s media use occurs in the home, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to talk with your child about the media during this time. I’ve enclosed a brief list of suggestions for activities that you can do at home to strengthen your child’s critical viewing skills and promote communication about what your child sees on television. 

    Thank you for your continued support of your child’s learning!

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