A Lesson in Media Literacy

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Media Literacy

Grade Level: 10th-11th Grade

Time Needed:

Focus: This lesson is focused on exploring media literacy through advertising and using Photoshop to recreate a misleading advertisement into a more truthful one.

a. Evaluate how the principles of media arts such as repetition, unity and contrast are used in the creation of, presentation of, or response to media artworks. (
b. Integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for artistic purposes. (
c. Analyze how a work in media arts influences and is influenced by the personal, social, cultural and historical contexts. (
d. Revise creative work based on artistic intent and using multiple sources of critique and feedback. (

Motivational Resources:
-Powerpoint about media literacy and assignment introduction
-Video examples:
-Magazines, online ads
-Teacher example of studio project
-Video tutorials:
Lasso tutorial -

Selection Tools -
Cropping and Cutting out -
Changing Background -
How to Create a Background -

Art Materials:
-Magazines, newspapers, online ads
-Photoshop (or open source software like GIMP)
-Computers (Mac or PC)
- 2 or 3 Scanners
-Printer paper
- 10 Flash drives
-Crescent board or other mounting board (one for each student)
-Adhesive: double stick tape and/or glue sticks

Introduction to the Lesson:
Media literacy is important to enable a person to understand, evaluate and ask questions about what they see and hear. This can be traced back as early as the 1600s. It was first used to sway a large group of people to believe a common goal. Propaganda usually refers to a political standpoint and appeals to an emotion to gain a strong opinion from the viewer. If the artist of the propaganda gets you take a side on an argument then it's doing its job. The word 'propaganda' has changed through the eras into a more general term. In present day the term refers to more manipulative media and advertisements.
When identifying with these advertisements we see everyday we need to learn how to become literate. As consumers it is important to understand the mask that covers the advertisements we believe to be true, in all aspects of digital media. In film we can see how editing takes a large role in adjusting the way we see things. Areas to take into consideration are the way the artist puts together a specific piece of work. When looking at magazine ads the editors have complete control over each add that is printed. Color, font, size, placement, overall weight of the composition, and the words added all give the viewer a direction to go. Whether the message is negative or positive an opinion is developed and the advertisement is successful.
Gaining a positive or negative view is important, but it is also important to identify if the advertisement is misleading. Editors are really good at taking a product, that may or may not be good for you and making it look 'too good to be true'. Using a trained eye to break down an ad into to what it is exactly that the advertiser is saying is important when buying into a product. Students will explore and demonstrate this by picking an advertisement they find misleading and indentifying how the editor put it together to create the desired opinion.

Instructional Procedure for Art Making:

Class One:
First present the powerpoint to the class which presents the history of media literacy. Next, look at example videos of media literacy and advertising in today's society. Discuss with the students how the videos make them feel and what they think about the videos. Show the students scanned copies in the powerpoint of current magazine advertisements. Talk with the students about what the advertisement does to persuade the viewer to believe what they are promoting. Ask questions such as: What principles (such as repetition, unity and contrast) are used in the creation of the advertisements? How does the use of artistic elements and principles aid the advertisement? What other techniques are the artists using to create an appealing and persuasive advertisement? Is the advertisement truthful or deceiving? How could the advertiser create a more truthful advertisement? Ask the students to go home and find an advertisement in a magazine that they think is misleading. Have the students bring the advertisement to the next class period.

Class Two:
Introduce the studio project to the students using a powerpoint. Show the students your studio examples that you made. Have magazines available just in case a student wants to change their chosen advertisement. The students will then work on creating a studio project in which they take their advertisement and recreate it in Photoshop. Their advertisement should turn the old, misleading ad into a more truthful advertisement, while still remaining appealing as an overall artwork and advertisement. First the students will all need to scan their advertisement into a computer. The students will save their photo to their assigned flash drive (they will need to share). Then, the student will import the photo onto their desktop and import the photo into Photoshop. Demonstrate how to crop, select, and use the paintbrush tool in Photoshop in front of the students. Show the students the blog and other websites that also have other helpful Photoshop tutorials. Let them know that if they have any other Photoshop questions, they can ask for help whenever they need it. The students will have the rest of class time to work on the assignment.

Class Three:
Students will use this class period to continue work on their project. Go around to each student and discuss their project with them. Make sure they are meeting the objectives of the assignment and exploring it in a creative manner. Help students with any Photoshop problems they may have.

Class Four:
Today will be split into two activities: the in-progress critique and work time. The first half of the class time will include an in-progress critique; the students will get into groups of 2-4 (or just get together with the students at their tables) and give feedback to each other. The students should discuss how the student has changed the advertisement into a more truthful ad, along with the student's choice of composition, color, placement, etc. The teacher should go around to each group to help facilitate the discussion and give feedback to students. Once the students giving each other feedback, they can move on to fixing/finishing their studio project. The teacher should remind the students that their project needs to be finished for the final critique next class time, this include: having the project printed (8.5"x11"), put into mounting or crescent board, and have the original/misleading advertisement next to their truthful advertisement. The student's will also need an artist statement including how they changed their misleading advertisement to a truthful advertisement and why it is important to study media literacy.

Class Five:
The students should come to class with their final truthful advertisement ready for critique. Each student will give a brief presentation about his or her advertisement. The student should talk about the misleading advertisement, and how they developed their truthful advertisement (they may read from their artist statement). This could include the composition, placement of subjects, colors that were used, etc. Once the student discusses their project, classmates should give feedback. The students will hand in their final studio project (mounted) and their artist statement for grading.

Discipline-Based Art Education:
Art History: The students learned about the history of media literacy.
Aesthetics: The students learned to appreciate the aesthetics of magazine advertisements.
Art Production: The students created a truthful advertisement from a misleading one using Photoshop.
Art Criticism: The students participated in an in progress critique and final critique, as well as critique of professional advertisements.

Evaluation/Assessment: Teacher will base the students' grade off of their ability to meet objectives in the studio project. They will also be graded on their participation in class critiques and proper use of class time. The artist statement will also be including in the grading of the assignment. The students will get a sheet back that states their grade. The sheet will also have notes on what needs to be improved and what worked well in the advertisement.



"A Brief History of Propaganda." Changing Minds. N.p., 2011. Web. 8 Dec 2011. .
Council for Economic Education, . "Deceptive Advertising: Crossing the Line." Econ Ed Link. N.p., 2011. Web. 11 Dec 2011. .
"Why Media Literacy is Important." Empowerment Through Education: Center for Media Literacy. Center for Media Literacy, 2011. Web. 8 Dec 2011. .

Learning through Creating

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Digital Journals: The Past, Present and Future of Electronic Portfolios for Visual Culture Learners is an article relating directly to me as a student and also could be used as a tool and lesson plan in the near future. I think it is important to not only create artwork but minding the way you display it. There are many tools involved in creating a web page. There are technical, graphic, communication, editing, compositional, and creative skills learned when creating an ePortfolio. Students learn to become critical and are able to edit down exactly what is important to them.

Using something like creating a web page portfolio is a rewarding lesson because in the end it is not only a learning experience but the end result is a product they can really be proud of, along with learning many new tools in digital media. It I suggested that the students also learn how to perhaps share there website and be able to promote themselves as artists.

Communication and critiquing with other students will engage them in digital media in a social aspect as well as the technical side. After the basic skills are acquired the students will tweak and recorrect their portfolios as they change and grow into the artists they aspire to be.

In my own classroom I can see this being an end of the year project, where students incorporate digital media with their physical work. They will learn how to build the web page and then critique it. As they work on building the portfolio students will look to one another for ideas on how to make it better and more 'eye-catching'. This could also lead into discussion on media literacy. How can they make their portfolio eye catching? What is going to keep the viewer on their page? There are many compositions and graphic tools used here. I think this lesson plan is flexible because the focus can go in many different ways, whether it's technical, artistic, critical, or graphic design. Either way these tools are great to learn and the students will have fun being creative while learning to create something great for themselves.

Citation: Wang, Shei-Chau. Inter/Actions/Inter/Sections: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture 'Digital Journals: The Past, Present and Future of Electronic Portfolios for Visual Culture Learners'. Reston, Virginia: National Art Education Association, 2010. 138-45. Print.

A video to introduce basic ePortfolio:

Preschoolers... Film Directors?

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Digital Visual Childhood: Preschoolers and the New Narratives of Digital Video in the Blogosphere addresses the way children interact with digital media. The article introduces itself by overlooking a case study dealing with a classroom of preschoolers, ages 3-5. These students found hand drawn footprints of a monster named the Sandro Caper. The teacher had a video camera and documented the student's findings and exploration of these 'footprints'. The idea was to create a narrative and just simply document this new type of media with the young students. As the study expanded the students began to become curious about the camera and desired more control. They wanted to interact and give direction to film the types of things they wanted recorded. The educators compared the level of interaction to be the same as other mediums. The students were curious and wanted to experiment more, just like they would with paint, clay, and markers. The teachers made many other observations and raised some interesting question on some specific scenarios. One where the teacher directed and the students were the subjects. The other being the opposite, the preschoolers being in complete control and the adults agreeing to the ideas and inspirations of the students. And lastly, where they work cohesively together to create a project or narrative. Exploring the excitement with the new camera stimulated the children to create and problem solve. I think it is interesting that there is still little studies on what young children can do when handed this type of medium. A lot of the time digital media gets a bad rap for making students lazy, but when introduced at such a young carefree age, digital media falls into a lower category along with drawing on paper with crayons. Bottom line kids want to create and be productive and film and video is another outlet source to allow creativity and teaching lessons.

A few other blogs that reference this excersize:



McClure, Marissa. Inter/Actions/Inter/Sections: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture. Reston, Virginia: National Art Education Association, 2010. 20 -27. Print.

New media... What about it?!

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Henry Jenkins addresses new media and how it affects the classroom. He says that if you are limited to the kinds of technology that some students may be left behind. For example, some school have internet blockers that don't allow students to reach social networks and media sites that is crucial to progression, and moving forward in technology. Teachers are 'shutting down' technology. It is almost like this new way of teaching is being shut don't because it's not traditional. By giving the students room to grow, and explore online, validates the experiences that they have.
There is also a break in the knowledge between students and teachers. Teachers are fearful and feel undertrained and are nervous that by teaching this way they may loose control of direction in the classroom.
The web provides space for both students and teachers to learn and observe what is going on in current time. By boxing ourselves in we are sheltering the full capabilities of students. Let people know what you are doing and gain support in teaching. There are so many available outlets to express education.
By using digital media there are skills that are gained. Not only educational but socially. Combining skills with technology can generate a higher power of education. It is possible to teach a typical topic in a creative way. It is also an outreach to meet many needs of students with the new ways of digital media.
An example Jenkins uses is a teacher who develops a tool kit with GPS and a scavenger hunt to collect data and physically walk around and seek answers to problems. These activities can be presented as a game and are interactive so they keep students engaged the whole time.
Overall Jenkins points out very encouraging words about how and why to incorporate digital media into the classroom. I think it is important to take his words seriously because what we are learning know are OUR tools, and by knowing this we can have a larger impact on the students of the future.

Jenkins, Henry, perf. Big Thinkers: Henry Jenkins on New Media. PBS, 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. .

Individual Animation Projects

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White Board Story Board Animation

Grade Level - 5th Grade
Time needed - 4 Class Periods

Focus: The focus of this lesson is to introduce digital media into the classroom through art creation. The students will create a narrative 2D animation on the white board, using dry erase markers, based on a poem of choice.

a.The students will demonstrate knowledge and use of the technical skills of the art form, integrating technology.
1.Describe a variety of tools, materials, and techniques used with software and hardware for creation in the media arts. (
2.Describe how photo, video, and sound- editing are used to create original products for expressive intent. (
b.The students will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of the arts area.
1.Describe the use of elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence. (
2.Identify structures used in media arts such as chronological and spatial. (
c.Respond to or critique a variety of creations and performances using the artistic foundations.
1.Justify Personal interpretations and reactions to a variety of media artworks. (

Motivational Resources:
-PowerPoint on whiteboard animation
-Youtube examples

-Teacher Example
-Shel Silverstein's Book, Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Art Materials: Photoshop CS3/5, Garage band, iMovie, Digital camera (preferably a digital SLR) with a memory card, Tripod, Whiteboard, Whiteboard markers (in a variety of colors), Eraser, Cleaner to clean the whiteboard.

Introduction to the Lesson: White board animations are easy ways to tell stories filled with movement and energy. The animation is made up of many frames with small movements with in each frame to create smooth gestures. As each frame builds it becomes a story. Like a flipbook, each figure is drawn out and then slowy added to, or subtracted from to create movement through space and time. You can either show sequence, where something is done step-by-step, or you can show movement by morphing in image slowly. As the figures are drawn out a picture is taken and then the object is changed. This step is repeated over and over until the desired storyboard is filled (Murphy).
Whiteboard 2D animation is also a great creative tool because it allows the artist complete creative control. The possibilities are endless. Whatever is desired can be created on the whiteboard using markers and erasers. The additive and subtractive qualities give you control and the colors allow dimension without distracting from the story.
A storyboard should be created so when it comes to creating the animation it is clear which steps need to be taken. Without this is becomes experimental, which is not always a bad thing.


Murphy, Mary. Beginner's Guide to Animation. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2008. 68-69. Print.


Media Apps! Lots of them!

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This week I came across a PBS website that basically described everything we have already been talking about. Although, what was different I found was that on this site they offered a link to tools/apps that are free. The page had a little over 15 links that are a little less known. Tools that can provide another angle on teaching, and incorporating digital media in the classroom. One specific app that I hadn't heard of yet was the Google Voice app. It allows a student or teacher to record a voice message online and they are saved as mp3s. I can think of so many ways this could be used effectively and creatively. Another app, which I have heard of, is Dailybooth. Here, the students take a picture of themselves preferably every day. This could be used again, in multiple ways. I know, in my own personal use that going back and reflecting on the photos it had become and ongoing project like a photo journal. I was able to recall what I was wearing and what mood I was in 18 days ago and even months ago. It shows progression in time and can also be used as a social media and conversation tool. There are tools to take polls, make audio storybooks and much more. I think this site is a great reference for teachers. I can see definite sparks in inspiration and many ways to use these tools in the classroom.

PBS blog- http://www.pbs.org/teachers/digitallearners/

Tools and apps- http://www.pbs.org/teachers/digitallearners/survivalguide/

- How to: Cut out animation -

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10 steps to Paper Animation

Let's make a paper cut out animation! To get started you will need the following supplies:
• Animation stand
• Digital camera
• Paper cut outs (artists choice)
• Plexi glass
• (8) 1" blocks
• Computer with Photoshop capabilities
• Note your lighting conditions when shooting

Step 1:
You'll need a base to set your scene onto. An animation stand is a great tool to use for this project.


Step 2: For this step you'll need your digital camera. The camera will be attached to the animation stand for stability.


Step 3: Center the digital camera on the animation stand pointing downward. Make sure that the camera will take pictures in the smallest memory setting. It's also important to view the frame with no zoom to start out with.


Step 4: Gather paper materials for your project. As the creator you have creative freedom. Your project may have a theme, it could be random, or you could incorporate 3D aspects.


Step 5: Your animation station will need a platform. You should have (8) 1" blocks. Place two blocks (stacked on top of each other) on each corner of your animation stand. This platform creates a raised surface once the plexi glass is placed on top.


Step 6: Creating a background is completely up to the artist. It is recommended that your background remain underneath the plexi glass. These pieces will stay in the same place.


Step 7: Now your video is ready for action! Place your desires characters onto the plexi glass to create a story.


Step 8: With each frame movement take a picture with your digital camera. Some important tips: • Be sure to use the digital camera on the manual setting. Flash photography may alter your video quality. • You're in charge of your characters. This means that you can take a picture with very small movements one character at a time. Otherwise you can have many parts moving at the same time within a frame. Small movements and many pictures create a more interesting video.




Step 9:
Upload all of your photos onto a computer. Photoshop is a helpful tool to organize and create your project.

Step 10: After uploading the photos in order, select the appropriate times in between frames. Music can be added in this final step as well.

Phil in the Circle

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Phil is a local artist from Minnesota. He is a Youtuber that I have been following for awhile. For this week I was inspired to do a write up on Phil because of the spark of inspiration he as put in me. Using Youtube as a door to the world Phil began sharing his art in '06 using his home camera. The videos would show his artwork in progress, and many times he would film or photograph and do a time lapse so you can view the piece from start to finish. He then started a series called "goodbye art". He would use a specific material that connected in some way to a subject specifically and would complete a portrait. Then, afterwards he would either destroy the art works or give it away. One video that reminds me of what we're doing in class right now was a video he put out during this series that was done in stop motion with candy hearts. The video was for valentines and he made a clever song and used the candy hearts to tell a little story. His most recent series is called 'Art Happening". Here he draws in the viewers with his art work and then delivers a breaking news story, linking current issues/events into art. This shows a new way of expression that inspires others while emitting a story. I think this relates to digital methods in art education because you are teaching a story while encompassing a greater idea. Using technology and process to produce and end result while learning is very exciting. I think there are so many different ways to incorporate art into current events and history that engages with all different types of people. Phil is a very inspiring individual and I think he is worth checking out.

Article Response

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I thought the idea of the 'Burning Secrets' case study was interesting. This is a learning activity that you could do with any age group. The act of getting internal things out and expressing yourself in a public, yet in a intimate way is therapeutic. It allows a certain release that can affect anyone who partakes. I have done activities like this and had a successful experience. This could help when starting a project to seek inspiration or just to clear the mind.
As far as brainstorming my own ideas to use digital technology in the classroom, I really enjoy the use of forums and online interaction. I think with outlets like Youtube, and other digital blogs/resources it presents space for expression. These tools can be used in multiple ways but mostly to portray a particular method the student wants to share. Also, I enjoy that there is possibility to reach the teacher at anytime. Being able to have a way to contact a professor through email or blog outside of class is a wonderful source. This type of digital technology can be used with all age groups but mostly I would apply it with older middle school, or high school students.

Does the digital classroom enfeeble the mind?

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Does the digital classroom enfeeble the mind? A New York Times Article by: Jaron Lanier touches base on many ideas surrounding digital media in the classrooms. Nowadays is has become a controversial topic in classrooms. Should we teach the 'old fashioned' way, or push education in a digital medium. Lanier explains that the trick here is being ambidextrous, or at least being able to understand the positives to both sides. He asks himself if this 'digital era' is just a generational thing, or will it change a hundred years from now.
We have become statistics of our generation without even knowing it. We learn where to find sources, and how to organize information. So how do we truly learn? What is learning about?
I took a class about education, basically learning about learning and it helped me understand myself in the way I gathered information, in the end exciting me about learning and help me grasp more information is a way more personal to me.
The key here is engagement. Since we don't know exactly how the brain works computers are able to help build connections, creativity and build community through collaboration. Computers can bring people from around the world together in a matter of seconds.
For me as a teacher, the tools are the computers, the key is teaching. Teaching children to learn how to think, and use the tools. Technology will change as time moves forward. It is necessary to understand the culture and how it's changing.
I found this simple debate on technology in the classroom very interesting. I myself don't enjoy reading out of textbooks. I would rather do something hands on. Computers are great tools, and can be used in many different ways. I enjoy being able to harness creativity in different ways and technology is just one other way we can do this.

Source: http://www.21stcenturycollaborative.com/2010/09/does-the-digital-classroom-enfeeble-the-mind/

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