Teacher Blog

30 Aug

Weaving the Thread of Media Studies Into Other Subjects: The First #K12Media Chat

Last night Ms. Keats and I hosted the first ever #K12Media edchat on Twitter. We could not believe how quickly the hour flew by! From McLuhan and Postman to plastic bags and House Hippos, maps as media texts to Math and media we covered a broad range of topics and shared many resources. Our topic, integrating Media Studies into other subject areas, was perfect for the first chat because it showed how flexible the study of Media actually is. Some teachers use it as an entry point for deeper discussion into concepts, to engage students. Others use it as a form of reflection, to really think deeply about how the subject itself and the texts used to teach it are constructions. There are many threads from the discussion that will be picked up in future chats. 

23 Aug

Dealing with Current Events in the Classroom

 

Natural disasters, tragic events, the rise and fall of governments and regimes, the death of public figures (loved or hated) are all front-page news. In the years that I have been teaching I have dealt with all of these and more in my classroom. From a Tsunami to the death of a pope, from national elections to the tragedy of 9/11, all of these events have been, at one time or another, on the minds of my students. How then, do we as teachers deal with information we haven't even had the chance to process ourselves?

News reports come fast and furious. Information in a 24-hour news cycle often isn't confirmed before it is reported, yet it is there. These stories that have yet to be told are on the minds of our students and on teachers' minds as well. Yesterday we heard the sad news that The Honourable Jack Layton has died. The funeral is being planned, citizens gathered last night to mourn, and if I were going into the classroom today (we're still on summer break here), I'm certain it would be on the minds of my students. If school is going to be relevant to students, then these events need to be discussed in the classroom.  The purpose of this discussion isn't to tell students what or how to think about these events, it is to help them to think critically, to ask questions. My objective as a teacher is to have students leave my classroom with more questions than answers and with the opportunity to form their own opinions and ideas about the subject. For the rest of this article, I will use this example, but the model would work for any event of importance to your students and your community.

19 Aug

#K12Media is Almost Here!

Today we're launching the official poll to select the topic for the first ever #K12Media chat.  The chat will take place on Twitter, using the hashtag #K12Media, on Monday August 29, 2011 at 8:00pm. We hope to see you then. 

Please vote below!

16 Aug

Media and Youth: For What it's Worth

"There's something happening here,/ What it is ain't exactly clear..." Press play and keep reading.

"Young people speaking their mind/ Getting so much resistance from behind"

"Paranoia strikes deep,/ Into your life it will creep./ It starts when you're always afraid/ Step out of line, the man come and take you away."

The song, written 45 years ago, seems ripped from the headlines of the last year or so. Whether it's a young Canadian woman standing with a sign in parliament or thousands of young men and women in Tehran, there IS something happening here and here is global. The news comes fast and furious. Pundits and columnists scramble to provide an explanation, to point fingers, to spin a moment into a narrative. I have witnessed this phenomenon again and again in the last few years and I can't think of a better place to have this discussion than in the classroom.

13 Aug

Television, Advertising and More

Every once in a while, I love to listen to an academic lecture. So when I came across this one, from Sut Jhally I knew I had to watch. In the video, Sut Jhally is addressing the Centre for Popular Economics, summer institute 2011. I found myself tweeting while I was watching, so I thought I'd include the "story" below. His is speaking from a US perspective, but many of the issues he discusses are of international interest. It is particularly interesting to note that he advocates for an analysis very similar to the one that we in Ontario have adopted, with a focus not only on the message, but also on the context. Enjoy!