We are beginning a new unit of study during our enrichment/library time with fourth graders on media literacy. The goal of our studies is to get students starting to think critically about the media that they consume--from print resources to the internet! Our goal is for them to develop into strong critical thinkers and also to support them creating their own media. We believe that using advertisements is a great way to begin their journey towards critical evaluation of media.
Advertisements are a great starting point because they offer clear messages, but they also use a variety of strategies to 'sell' their products that students can learn and develop a critical eye for. Once students have practiced using advertisements as a way to evaluate the message and intent of information, we then apply this to other forms of media. Students shift their thinking from 'everything I see on the internet is true' to asking questions about the source of the information, the bias and the intent! We are beginning the unit by looking at print media advertisements and then creating our own advertisements. Here are a few pictures of students hard at work designing their positive ads.