Small Bites Friday Five 2-19-21
20-30m – Watch Jay Smooth’s Media Literacy crash course that delves into media strategies, our reactions to those tricks and our biases. Watch them all if you have time. If not, watch #2, #4 and #5. These are great for you, but can also be watched with a class.
15-20m – Read this Parent’s Guide to Media Literacy from the National Association for Media Literacy and Education (NAMLE). It features sample questions for analyzing media like who made it, why was it made and how might different people interpret it. It’s also in Spanish and even Greek, if you need it.
10-15m – Reflect on the information in the above document and jot down any personal tweaks you need to make in your own media consumption. Then consider send your favorite section or even a class sketchnote of your favorite section home to parents.
0-5m – Learn the words dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and watch this Above the Noise video on the brain and fake news to learn how to circumvent the way our brains react to news. Probably best with 6-12th graders he says BS (the letters, not the words) in the video. Ooohhhh…
Something dark in human nature makes us like to watch others suffer. The lions and the Christians in the Coliseum; shoot ’em ups; shocking and bad news; social media rants. America’s Funniest Home Videos and even the rash of prank Tiktoks indulge our darker side, give us the opportunity to assure ourselves that we are not as bad off as those we ridicule.
Media takes advantage of that. A message is always crafted by one person with an agenda. From the early days of yellow journalism to today’s polarized news outlets, someone crafts messages to manipulate the masses. We don’t think of our democracy as being ruled by the messages of propaganda, but considering how polarized we are and how news is as much opinion, analysis and editorial content as anything else, we should think again. So much content is needed to fill up the current 24 hour thirst for dirty laundry that we have gotten used to opinion pieces being front page news and incendiary headlines being fact.
The only thing I would like you to do this week is to watch 5 minutes of news daily from an outlet you don’t usually watch. Refrain from making negative comments or judgments. Research what you hear, if you like. But work on tweaking your own media consumption habits so that when you teach civics and citizenship–which should happen daily– you will be able to teach your students to think critically, not to think like you.