Media Literacy: Deconstructing and Constructing

Here, we are breaking media literacy into two components, deconstruction and construction of media.

Deconstructing media

Students will analyze existing media to see how a message is composed. Because advertisements are fairly short and blatant, we will use those for now.

What is the goal of the advertisement? (To sell.) How is that goal conveyed? What propaganda techniques are used? How does each production decision influence the overall message? What is the message of each production decision?

An example analysis is here:
Media Literacy Project Deconstruction Gallery
PBS Kids Don’t Buy It Advertising Tricks

Here is some source material students might use:
Magazine ads (Or use a real magazine to cut out)
TV Commercials: The Clapper and other 80’s stuff
TV Public Service Announcements

Propaganda techniques are here:
Institute of Propaganda Analysis
Sourcewatch has a more extensive list

Constructing media
By creating their own ads, counter-ads, or public service announcements, students gain an intimate understanding of the many decisions that go into creating media.
Video basics (storyboarding, etc) are at kids vid. Overview of video is at video101.
Counter ads are at adbusters and student work is at the Media Literacy Project Counter Ad Gallery or see Dove’s Evolution.

How this media should be constructed is important also. Students could cut and paste on ads in a magazine, create their own original print ads by hand, or use an image editing program, or create a one-minute advertisement skit, or actually shoot and edit the video, or use flash or powerpoint.

Here’s some of the best resources I found on Media Literacy
A great guide with lesson plans and 5 core concepts and 5 key questions is in the practice section of the Media Lit Kit at the Center for Media Literacy.
Media Literacy Online Project has a huge number of links and resources.
As does the edselect site.