Media Literacy is an important skill in today’s world. Children are inundated with messages from television, music, video games, movies, and the internet on a daily basis. They need to learn how to filter the messages appropriately and how to be safe in their digital environments.
Media Smarts is a website that focuses on education, public awareness, and research and policy surrounding children and both traditional and digital media. They have a lot of great resources for teaching – including lesson plans and even online games.
The games are well done (although a few have some lag issues that can be a tad frustrating). Most are geared to kids in the 7-12 age range. Some of the things to learn from these games:
- red flags and problems with websites, and whether you should use them.
- what personal information is ok and not ok to share.
- marketing gimmicks.
- netiquette rules.
- recognizing propaganda, racism, and bias on websites.
- and more.
For parents and teachers, they have lots of information – including guides for games, e-tutorials to tackle big topics like parenting in the digital age and handling online hate issues, plus countless other resources that dive deep into some challenging issues.
Plus, there’s a lot of great lesson plans to search through. The search options offer the ability to look by grade, subject, and even provincial/territorial learning outcomes. The range of grades is from K – 12, so something for everyone. There are so many topics covered by these lesson plans, like:
- body image
- marketing & advertising
- gender representation
- media literacy
- internet use
For example, there is a Grade 2 to 5 lesson that asks kids to watch a TV show for a week and examine the family represented, comparing them to the families they know in real life. It gives suggestions on shows to watch, how to do the lesson and activity, has printable worksheets of questions to work on while watching the show, and follow up activity with discussion questions and observations.
This website is a great place to start with teaching about media literacy.