Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Annotating]

You will READ the short story Charles by Shirley Jackson.  As you read through the story you will ANNOTATE your page using either STICKY NOTES or INK.  You are free to write on and mark up the page however you wish.  Once you have annotated your piece you will record the KEY DETAILS that you have self-selected.

 

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

annotating

 

 

Annotating

One annotates their text by physically altering their text.  This can be done either by WRITING DIRECTLY on a text, or using STICKY NOTES to arrange and re-arrange thoughts and ideas.  The act of annotating ensures the reader identifies details while considering the text as an artefact.  Annotations also allow readers return to a text at a later date, with their notes already collected.

Annotate the Following

  • Pay close attention to the DAYS in the story.
    • CIRCLE the word each time a day is mentioned
  • Make a note of each time Charles does something he SHOULD NOT
    • Draw a BOX around each action that gets Charles in trouble
  • Consider how Laurie’s PARENTS feel about Charles
    • Write an adjective in the margin that explains how they FEEL each time they mention Charles

The Most Important on Each Page…

For the next section, you will choose the most important SENTENCE, WORD, and PARAGRAPH on each page.  You are free to select whatever you want.  There are NO wrong answers.

  • UNDERLINE the most important WORD on each page
  • WAVY LINE the most important SENTENCE on each page
  • Draw a STAR beside the most important PARAGRAPH on each page

Now, use the SPACE BELOW to collect your thoughts.

Page One

The Most Important Word

The Most Important Sentence

The Most Important Paragraph

Page Two

The Most Important Word

The Most Important Sentence

The Most Important Paragraph


What’s Next

Now that students are familiar with the SHORT STORY and have demonstrated an ability to ANNOTATE they are going to apply those skills by WRITING A P.E.E. PARAGRAPH that explains their most important sentence.  They will use DETERMINING IMPORTANCE to support their decisions.


 

 

 

RESOURCES

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom – Literacy Skills – Annotating.PDF

 

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Teaching Literacy Skills through Assignment Creation

The best way to demonstrate that you understand something is to explain it to someone else.  Allow students the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand a concept by flipping expectations and allow them to create assignments rather than complete them.

 

Introduction

This lesson focuses on having students READ A SHORT STORY and then break into small groups (I suggest four as a manageable number).  Each group will be assigned one of the TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS and work to create an assignment that will allow other students to demonstrate their mastery of that skill.

Required Foundation

Students must have already been introduced to the ten literacy skills.  I recommend using a one or two page short story before spending two days quickly running through each of the ten skills.  For more information on teaching the skills please refer to the LITERACY SKILLS – AN INTRODUCTION series.

Students will need to have read a SHORT STORY and be prepared to apply their Literacy Skill knowledge to the piece.

Required Materials

At least one student per group will require access to a device capable of using GOOGLE DOCs or MICROSOFT WORD.  While Microsoft Word is an effective tool, it is more beneficial if students use Google Docs.  That way they can SHARE their working assignment with each other, using multiple devices to co-author their piece at the same time.

 

Girl Reading - PIXABAY.jpg

 

Assignment Creation Assignment:

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan will reinforce student knowledge of the ten key literacy skills, while also strengthening their knowledge of their group’s assigned skill.  By creating an assignment they will learn how to use digital HEADINGS to format and chunk their work, creating a framework of expectations for assignments their teachers create for them.  Students will also engage in METACOGNITIVE reflection, exploring why their choices were most effective.

 

Preparation

Desks must be arranged into groups of four.  A copy of Ten Key Literacy Skills.PDF  must be printed out and cut into ten slips (one per literacy skill).

 

Minds On

Desks will be prepared in groups of four when students walk into the classroom.  Each desk group will have one Literacy Skill slip (see preparation) on it.  One of the following images will be made available for students to see.

 

Students will be tasked with applying their specific skill to the image.  Each group should write a brief P.E.E. PARAGRAPH that supports their use of the group’s skill.

Students should then present their paragraph to the class, while explaining the importance of their assigned literacy skill.

 

Focus

Once students have a strong understanding of their specific skill, and have applied it to a visual image, they will be ready to begin the focus of this lesson.

This lesson can be run completely in the computer lab, or it can be split into two days – the first day for IDEATION and the second day for typing up and formatting their assignment.

Students will be instructed to take out their SHORT STORY from a previous class and consider how they could apply their Literacy Skill to that story.  They will have five minutes to plan and take brief notes as a group.

After some time has been given to consider the application of their skills, students will be handed a copy of Assignment Creation Assignment – Literacy Skills (No Example).PDF

Using that handout, students will see that rather than answering questions, and creating a traditional assignment, as they are used to, they will – instead – be the ones responsible for creating the assignment.

The various sections of a strong assignment are laid out of the sheet, and the specific headings that each title needs to be typed in are recorded.

Students will notice that they are creating an assignment in the same style and format as the one they have been handed.  The assignment itself is an exemplar.

Should you wish to offer an additional exemplar, student can be given the Strength through Synthesis – Working Through the Short Story.PDF assignment.

At this point, students are free to work on their creation.

 

Consolidation

Just before the end of class, each group will be asked to write down ONE question, concern, or problem that is hindering them in the completion of their assignment.  This will be handed to the teacher before they leave the classroom.

The teacher will then read through those slips, noting any difficulties students are having with this new style of task, and work to create resources or instructions for tomorrow’s class that will help students find success.

 

What’s Next?

Continue to learn about the best ways to TEACH THE KEY LITERACY SKILLS, or choose to focus on one of the following: Summarizing, Determining Importance, Inferring, Predicting, Connecting, Visualizing, Comparing, Questioning, Annotating, or Synthesizing.

 


Resources

Ten Key Literacy Skills.PDF

Assignment Creation Assignment – Literacy Skills (No Example).PDF

Strength through Synthesis – Working Through the Short Story.PDF

Gender Representation Lessons: Downloadable Resources

This page contains all the downloadable resources for the Teaching Gender Representation in the Media lessons.  While each lesson is a classroom-ready three part lesson, the various resources have all been collected in this location for teaching convenience.

 

Gender Lesson Resources

All resources and lessons can be used for non-commercial classroom use.

 

THE TOY BOX

Regardless of age, everyone has a memory of a toy that they loved when they were a child, or a toy they wanted but they were never given.  The things we play with help determine the people we grow into.  This lesson focuses on separating boy toys from girl toys while pausing to take a look at why we sorted the objects the way we did.

DOWNLOADS

Toy Box – Brother Sister Handout.pdf

 

THE GENDER BOX

Building off of the foundation from The Toy Box we look further into the gender normative roles students feel they need to fulfill.  By confronting prejudices and allowing students to speak openly about their experiences, the foundation is strengthened with shared experiences and concepts.

DOWNLOADS

Gender Box – Minds On.pdf

Gender Box – Handout 1.pdf

Gender Box – Handout 2.pdf

Gender Box – Exit Slip.pdf

 

THE PAST IS PRESENT [PART 1 / PART 2]

By examining a number of historical and contemporary advertisements, students will begin to see how ludicrous modern messaging is when primed through the problematic advertisements of decades past.  Students will then have an opportunity to examine advertisements that they experience through the same lens.

DOWNLOADS

Flipside – Bar Handout.PDF

Representation in Media Handout.pdf

Goldieblox vs. Lego – Comparison Assignment.pdf

 

USING THE MEDIA TRIANGLE TO ANNOTATE ADVERTISEMENTS

Building on the concepts from the last lesson, students will choose specific advertisements, analyzing them through all three sides of the Media Triangle.  Students will then present their findings to the class, allowing all students to take an in-depth look at a variety of contemporary texts and the problematic nature of their messaging.

DOWNLOADS

Fixing Contemporary Advertising.PDF

 

THE GENDER R.A.F.T.

Students will consider the reasons behind Gender Normative behaviours, and create a R.A.F.T. (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) letter that will help them formalize their thoughts.

DOWNLOADS

RAFT Assignment – Minds On.pdf
Lego vs. Goldieblox Comparison RAFT Assignment.pdf
Effects of Gender Messaging in Advertising RAFT Assignment.pdf

 

RESHAPING GENDER NORMATIVE ROLES

Students will be challenged to explore their personal space, school, community, and beyond.  During their explorations, they will identify both positive and negative messaging, while seeking to understand how to create lasting impact and change

DOWNLOADS

Venn Diagram – Communication.pdf
Letter Writing to Enact Change.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Representation in the Classroom: Final Thoughts

Gender representation is a serious issue that is constantly changing.  Each month brings new issues to the forefront; strong teachers will use current events to help shape their dynamic lessons.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

Resources

There are a wealth of resources available to help you continue exploring the issue of gender representation.  While some specifically target classroom teachers, many are essayists who write passionately about feminism and contemporary concerns.

You will find a currated list that will help focus your ongoing exploration here.

 

Classroom Specific

The British Council: How to approach teaching gender equality to boys and girls

Australian Aid – Tool Kit on Gender Equality Results and Indicators

Teaching Tolerance – ‘Good Morning Boys and Girls’: When a simple greeting engenders stereotypes.

Pacific Standard – The Importance of Teaching Gender in International Relations Classrooms

Vanderbilt University – Teaching Beyond the Gender Binary in the University Classroom

 

Important Blogs

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

The Mary Sue

Ms. Magazine

The Guardian | Feminism

Feministing

 

Research

Toronto District School Board – 2012 Gender Report

 

Next Steps…

As mentioned, Gender issues are constantly changing.  Be sure to add updated sites that you follow in the comments below.  I’ll work to add them to this living document.

If you haven’t seen the full Teaching Gender Representation in the Media unit, be sure to look at through all the different classroom-ready lessons.  Or, you can just head straight to the Gender Lessons: Resource Download Page.

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: Reshaping Gender Normative Roles

Students need to be empowered to become agents of change in the world.  Digital communication and social media are powerful tools that our students are already familiar with; showing them how to utilize these tools to enact real change allows them to reshape the media landscape that surrounds them.

Having already looked at targetted writing focused on gender normativity during our previous RAFT assignment, students are familiar with how to write about their concerns.  Now they will be shown how to take that writing outside of the classroom, and send it to those that can make a difference.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

Minds On

There are three separate things that should be on the board at the beginning of class.  Students should be encouraged to choose one, two, or three of the activities to engage with.  Depending on their level of interest, they may be willing to completely focus on one of the pieces, or they may wish to quickly complete each of the three.

The Set Up

The first thing you will need to do is pick a still image or video that displays problematic gender messaging.  This could be the picture of a toy store, a specific toy, a commercial, a television show, a video game, or anything else that depicts problematic gender messaging.

Once you have selected and displayed the image, students will be able to choose one to three of the following activities to complete using that piece.

Hashtag #Problems

Students should think of hastags that draw attention to the problem.  Hashtags are normally short (less than twenty characters) terms that draw attention to something.  Using sarcasm or irony is a great way to interest a reader and lead them to share it on their own social media account.

Students should also be asked to find at least three social media accounts they could share the hashtag with.  These could be accounts owned by the creator, or related critics.

Students should feel free to use their personal devices during this activity, sharing their hashtags with the internet if they feel comfortable.

Address Unknown

Students should consider three people they might write in order to raise the problematic nature of the piece you have selected.  Similar to the Hashtag #Problems assignment, students may choose the creator or a critic.  They may also select newspapers or magazines that run reader letters.  Publications relating to the content of the piece, that run stories with a favourable bias are best.  They may also consider a number of politicians or not-for-profit groups that draw attention to their concerns.

Social Media Engagement

Students should make a list of their top three social media platforms (these may include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.)

Students should write a sample post, 50 words or less, that they could post on one of those sites in order to get their concerns across.  @ing, or #tagging specific users or terms should be encouraged as a great way to spread their message.

Students should then look at their three pieces, and consider what similarities and differences exist between each of them.  Through this activity, they will gain an understanding of the different strengths and weaknesses of each social media tool.

Once again, students should be encouraged to use their personal devices, actually posting their written pieces to their social media accounts, if they feel comfortable.

Once the Minds On activity is complete, you should host a discussion with your students, sharing the ideas and concepts learned throughout this part of the activity.

After the discussion has concluded, you should move on to the focus of the lesson, where students will write long-form pieces, sending them to an appropriate address in hopes of enacting real change in the world.

 

Focus

The focus of this lesson will be on enacting change through letter writing.  Once students have a focus for their piece (a television show, advertisement campaign, song, story, etc.) they will need to select a target audience that has the ability to make the change they are looking to create.

Who to Contact

Students may choose to write to one of the categories below, but they should not be limited.  The landscape is constantly changing and those that can create change often come from previously unknown sources.

  • Corporations
  • Authors
  • Publishers
  • Politicians

Corporations

In 2017 Pepsi pulled a large-budget advertisement based on public pressure.  The advertisement used Black Lives Matter Imagery suggesting Pepsi could solve their problems.  Public backlash was successful in making real change in the advertising landscape.  They can be reached through a number of mailing addresses, both electronic or otherwise.

Authors

Due to the ubiquitous nature of content creators’ internet presences, there are many ways to directly contact an author about something that a reader finds concerning.  Social media accounts, e-mail addresses, and snail mail addresses attained through the publisher are often easily accessible.  J.K. Rowling has been the target of a number of protests throughout her career.  Many contemporary authors will directly reply to those who write in – either with questions, concerns, or praise.

Publishers

After the American Psychological Association demanded researchers take links to their articles down from their websites, there was heavy backlash looking to enact change in how the system works.  Concerns were raised over the use of the DMCA to restrict the rights of authors.  E-Mail and Snail Mail addresses can often be found on the contact page of their websites.

Politicians

Before contacting a politician, it’s best to focus your ideas.  Are you writing to express displeasure in something, or is there a legal backdrop to your complaint?  The Canadian Criminal Code Section 318 – 320 deals with Hate Speech This may be useful in making a number of complaints.  You’ll then need to decide who to contact.  In Canada, it’s easy to find your Member of Parliment.  A quick google search should yield similar results for other locations.

 

Writing the Letter

Now that students have selected their audience, they will need to write their letter.  The letter should be similar regardless of the target.

I suggest having students hand write their letter, providing stamps and envelopes for them to be mailed out.  However, it can also be a powerful experience to e-mail their messages as well.  The important part is that the letters are sent to their audience after they are submitted to their teacher.

While it is important for students to create assignments within their classroom, it’s far more valuable to show them how to create impact in the world around them.

There are ten main pieces that should be included in their letter:

  1. Polite greetings
  2. An introduction of who the writer is
  3. A paragraph explaining the problem through specific details
  4. An explanation of what change they would like to see
  5. A suggestion for how the change could be created
  6. An offer to help work with the target to create the change
  7. A thank you for taking the time to read the letter
  8. A request for a reply
  9. Salutations
  10. A reply address

Teachers can use the Enacting Change Letter Assignment which includes a sample outline.  Once students feel comfortable with the format they are free to use the period to create their piece.

Students should submit a second copy of the letter which will be mailed out by the teacher.

 

Consolidation

Students will fill out the Communication Venn Diagram exit slip before they leave the class.  Using their personal knowledge, combined with what they have been taught through class lessons, they identify the areas of strength for enacting change through three different forms:

  • Social Media
  • Letter Writing
  • Phone Calls

They will use the diagram to take note of similarities and differences between the three forms, allowing them to select the best tool for their situation.

 

Next Steps

This is the final lesson in the Gender Representation in the Media unit.  The next page includes some final thoughts that will provide you with a suggested timeline.  As well, it offers some extension ideas for how to continue to weave the thread of representation throughout your curriculum.

 

Downloads

Venn Diagram – Communication.pdf
Letter Writing to Enact Change.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: The Gender R.A.F.T. Assignment

Advertisers constantly push messages at our students.  Our students need to learn how to push back at the advertisers.  Having already presented on the importance of creating better advertisements, this lesson will encourage them to take on a Role, select an Audience, choose a Format, and finally select a Topic as they write a piece aimed at raising awareness of problematic gendered messaging in the media.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

The Importance of R.A.F.T. Assignments

Differentiated assignments allow students to fully engage with an assignment, as they have agency over the piece that they are creating.  By using RAFT assignments in your classroom, you ensure that whatever interest your student has in a topic, they can tailor their response appropriately.

I find it best to give four options for each of the four parts of the RAFT.  This allows for over 256 unique arrangements for the assignment.  Offering limited choice often helps focus students that would perseverate over an embarrassment of options; however, if you’re feeling up to it, you are free to add an option for students to write in an appropriate Role, Audience, Format, and Topic of their choosing.

Minds On

As your students come into the classroom, you should have the following image displayed on the board.

Summer Man and Dog - Pixabay

Students should be asked to discuss the image from a variety of perspectives.  What is the dog thinking?  why is the woman smiling?  What’s in the man’s cup?

Once they’ve had a brief introduction to the image, students should be given a copy of the RAFT Minds On Assignment.  By completing this piece, they will have a foundation upon which you can build the main focus of your lesson.

 

Focus

Once students have been granted a foundational understanding of R.A.F.T. assignments, through the Minds On the portion of this lesson, they should select from one of the two assignments:

Once again, ensure that students understand that they need to tailor their piece to all four parts of the R.A.F.T.

Role

This is the perspective from which the student will be writing their piece.  For example, they may be a specific individual with an established job, or a certain gender, or age.  As the teacher, you are free to set whatever roles you think best suit the assignment.

Audience

Students will be writing their piece to a specific individual.  This will determine the language they use.  A blog post on the internet would look very different than a formal letter to a politician.  A note to self might include different information than a letter to a best friend.  Ensure that students have a strong grasp on who they are writing to before they begin.

Format

This is the type of written piece the students are creating.  It could be a formal essay or a business proposal.  It could be a piece of short fiction, or a poem, or a diary entry.  You could have students writing a memoir, or an instructional guide.  The type of piece they select will direct the shape of their final piece.

Topic

The final part of a raft is the topic.  While all topics will fall under a general thematic umbrella, you can offer a variety of lenses through which to view and explore the main concept you want students to address.

Once students have a strong understanding of their RAFT choices, let them know that they must write a multi-paragraphed P.E.E. Formated response.  They should then be left to complete the writing task for the remainder of the period.

 

Consolidation

Using the bottom of the assignment sheet as an exit slip, you can ask students to students write in what Role, Audience, Format, or Topic they wished were on the assignment.  This will help you understand student interest and debrief the lesson through a focused student discussion over the following few days.

 

 

Next Steps

When we addressed the Media Triangle we took a look at how we could impact future messaging, and in this assignment, we wrote some targeted pieces.  In our next, and final gender lesson, students will have agency to affect the future of gendered messaging by writing and sending letters to people in charge of the decision making process.

 

Downloads

RAFT Assignment – Minds On.pdf
Lego vs. Goldieblox Comparison RAFT Assignment.pdf
Effects of Gender Messaging in Advertising RAFT Assignment.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: Using the Media Triangle to Annotate Advertisements

It’s important that students know how to identify and name problematic messaging in the media they consume.  From Facebook to Twitter to Television and Websites, our students view hundreds of advertisements a day.  Having already seen how problematic messaging exists in the media we consume, in our past lesson, this lesson will arm our students to identify the true meaning and message of the piece by viewing it through all three sides of the media triangle.

Students will need to already have a foundation using The Media Triangle.  You are encouraged to use the Introduction to the Media Triangle assignment to familiarize them with the basic concepts.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

Minds On

As students enter the classroom, one of these images should be displayed at the front of the room.  Teachers can either use an overhead projector, or they can use a photocopier to enlarge the image, and tape it to the board.

 

On their desks, students should each have a smaller copy of the advertisement, as well as three different coloured sticky notes.

Students should be told that each sticky note colour relates to a different side of the Media Triangle.  For example:

  • Green – Text
  • Red – Audience
  • Blue – Creation

Once the entire class has a uniform understanding of which colours will be used for which aspects they are free to annotate the image.  To do so, students will look at their copy of the Media Triangle, and choose one question from each of the three sides.

They will write their response on the appropriate coloured sticky note, and then place it on their advertisement near the evidence for their response.

For example, if students answer “Who profits from this text?” they would take a blue sticky note and write Pepsi profits from this text, as it’s selling their product.  They would then place that sticky note beside the can of Pepsi.

If students were answering “What stereotypes are present in this text?” then they would take a green sticky note and write This text shows that women must wear make up and lipstick.  This sticky would then be placed near the dark red lips on their advertisement.

Once students have annotated the text in front of them, you can move on to the main focus of the lesson.

 

Focus

Having been given time to consider aspects of the Media Triangle at their own desk, students should now be ready to form into small groups.  I recommend groups between four and six students in size.

Debriefing the Minds On Activity

The first part of the class will debrief the annotated advertisement, to ensure all students have a full understanding of how to use the media triangle to annotate their texts.  This will be important, as there will be a release of responsibility that requires them to complete this task on their own for the second part of this lesson.

Small Group Discussions

Students should consolidate their sticky notes onto one of the sheets, still being sure to place them near the appropriate evidence on the advertisement.

While students discuss the questions they answered, and the evidence that supports their response, teachers can circulate the ensure that students have a full understanding of the material.

Sharing with the Class

Next, one student per group should bring their group’s sticky notes to the front of the classroom, and stick them to the large version of the advertisement at the front of the room.

Once all sticky notes have annotated the large advertisement, the teacher can highlight a number of key points, demonstrating all three sides of the media triangle.

Leave the class-annotated text on the board for students to reference in the second half of this lesson.

Fixing Contemporary Advertising

In the second half of this lesson, students will form small groups of one to three and be assigned the Fixing Contemporary Advertising Assignment.  They will then need to select a Contemporary Advertisement to work with.  They are free to select their own, or you may want to have them select from those attached below.

 

The assignment is broken into five main parts:

  • Annotating the group’s advertisement
  • Summarizing a related article
  • Creating an engaging advertisement
  • Making a class handout / brochure
  • Presenting the information

Annotating the Group’s Advertisement

Similar to the Minds On activity at the start of this class, groups will annotate their advertisements by using the media triangle, focusing on all questions for all three sides.

While students can annotate their advertisement using sticky notes, I recommend that they use the digital tool ThingLink which is free for digital image annotations.  If you’d like to know more about using this tool for this assignment please view the ThingLink Tutorial: How to annotate Texts using the Media Triangle.

Summarizing a Related Article.

Each group must also find an article that explores the problematic nature of contemporary advertisements.  The article must specifically link advertisements to a problem in our society.  It must relate to the same problem the students are attempting to fix with their piece.

A great starting place to find specific articles can be discovered using this Google Scholar Keyword Search.  By using Google Scholar, students will also ensure that the texts they find are suitable for classroom use.

Creating an Engaging Advertisement

Having identified the problems with the existing advertisement, and the negative impact such messaging can have, students will be responsible for making a high quality piece that works towards solving the problems from the initial advertisement.

Making a Class Handout / Brochure

Dividing their information under appropriate headings and titles, students will create a handout or brochure that includes the information they gathered throughout the assignment.

The handout will feature the students’ written pieces as well as the created advertisement along side the original advertisement.  the piece must be engaging for the reader.  A folded booklet, or brochure is encouraged.

Presenting the Information

The oral marks for each group member will be based on their individual contribution to the overall presentation.  Due to this, each member must participate in an equal share of the presentation as they communicate their ideas to the class.

 

Consolidation

As they leave the classroom, students should tell you who (if anyone) they will be working with, and they should show you the advertisement they will be working with.

This will set the groundwork to ensure they are prepared to work on their assignment during future classes.

 

Next Steps

Using The Media Triangle and creating a multi-faceted presentation, students will have demonstrated their knowledge, while discovering research articles that illustrate the dangers of media messaging.

They will now be prepared to move on to The Gender R.A.F.T. which will be a final written consolidation of their information.

Downloads

Fixing Contemporary Advertising.PDF

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: The Past is Present – Part 2

Advertisements often have problematic gender messaging; however, advertisements can also be used to combat negative messaging, drawing attention to problematic norms.

Building on the negative messaging from The Past is Present – Part 1 students should have a strong notion of the problematic messages that are inherenant in media pieces, and gendered advertisements.  This lesson will focus on how things have, and can continue to be, improved.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand alone piece, or part of a larger conversation.

Minds On

The minds on for this project will take a look at the Demand Better Media in 2015 video by The Representation Project.  This video demonstrates how things improved in the media during the year 2014, but also how it failed to change fast enough.

After watching this video, students will record their thoughts about how “Some things are improving…” / “But others things didn’t change fast enough…”  Students can use their own paper, or you are use the Representation in Media Handout.

The Representation Project

After watching the above video, students should be able to reflect on the current state of gendered messaging in the media.  On a sheet of paper, they should Think-Pair-Share about some of the positive changes they’ve seen over the past year, as well as some of the more problematic things that still need to change.

Just like the above video, students can discuss:

  • Television shows
  • Advertisements
  • Video Games
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Sports
  • News Events
  • Politics

Once this discussion has ended, students should see that there is hope for positive change, although it is happening slower than many of us would want.  The focus of this lesson will be on how the media can help create change for the better.

Focus

Just like the previous lesson, this will be very teacher driven.  You will guide students through a number of videos, leading them to come to their own conclusions.  The first step in this lesson will be to revisit Goldieblox.

Goldieblox: From Then to Now

This will take students on a journey from the Goldieblox Kickstarter launch in 2012 all the way to 2018.

Kickstarter Launch

Having discussed gender normative toys in the Gender Lesson: The Toy Box students should now be ready to Compare those pieces to Goldieblox.  After watching the above video, allow students a moment to discuss how Goldieblox is both similar, and different from other – more traditional – toys.

Next, have them discuss why this toy is important, and the positive impact it can have.

Three Years Later

Lead into this video by asking students if they think the toy succeeded, or not.  Despite its success, the toy is still relatively unknown outside of those with young children.  As such, students are probably unaware of the answer, and will be able to have rich discussion about this.

After viewing the video, the success of the product is obvious.  Students should think about how toys can have a large impact on those that play with them, as well as the parents that purchase them.

Optional Activity: Four Corner Toys

Assign students into four groups:

  • Barbie Dolls
  • Goldieblox
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Lego

Students should separate into four different corners of your room.  Once there, they should talk to each other about the toys.  Their discussion should be focused around these three guiding questions:

  1. What makes this toy fun to play with?
  2. What are five different ways children could play with this toy?
  3. What positive impacts can playing with this toy as a child have on the individual when they become an adults?

For the third question, students should consider life skills, possible careers, personal development, or – if you’re feeling up to it – have them consider how these toys can connect to the Global Competencies.

After debriefing this, you are free to move on to the modern incarnation of Goldieblox.

Robot Runway

Goldieblox has expanded beyond being a simple toy.  Their YouTube Channel has more than 200 000 subscribers, and has programming aimed towards girls, with a focus on construction and creativity.

Where toys like Lego once provided an outlet to build, and create, Goldieblox has taken up the mantle, by becoming more than a simple toy.  Their how-to videos, and creative content provides a space that turns girls from consumers into creators.

In the next part of this lesson, students will look at how Lego – once the king in the creator space – has been failing girls since the launch of their Lego Friends line.

Lego Friends

In 2012 (the same year Goldieblox was created) Lego introduced a new line, specifically for girls.  This meant more Pink and Purple, which fed into a number of Gender Normative tropes.

Saving the Dolphins

Students should consider both the positive and negative messaging in this short Lego Friends clip to introduce them to the line, before they watch a longer breakdown of the toy by Feminist Frequency host Antia Sarkeesian.

Lego and Gender

A number of students may groan at the mention on Antia Sarkeesian.  You can remind them that she was addressed in the first video you watched, about how some things aren’t changing fast enough.  She has been a target of online hate since she began her feminist YouTube series.

Students may point out one or two reasons why they disagree with her.  You should honour their disagreement, but instruct them to criticize the idea, not the person.  You should also point out that disagreeing with one or two points does not invalidate all of her points.

Having watched the Lego Friends video, students should be able to see how toys can have both a positive and negative impact on young children.  They should also now realize that even when toy companies try to make change for the better, they can often end up creating a more problematic landscape that children need to navigate.

At this point you can choose to conclude the lesson, or assign students the: Lego vs. Goldieblox Comparison RAFT Assignment which will be the focus of a future lesson.

Consolidation

Now it’s time to see if other companies are looking to make positive change through their products, and advertisements.  The answer is a resounding YES!  A number of companies are using Feminism in their marketing.

Students will look at two strong examples of this, before discussing why they feel companies are moving along these lines.  While the answers is almost definitely, “because it makes them more money.” the fact that Feminism, and creating a positive space for women, is now profitable is a worthwhile thing to consider.

Always #LikeAGirl

Pantene – Labels Against Women

Exit Slip

Finally, students should look back on the representation of women from 2014 in the first video, and consider how things have changed from then until now.  They should then be asked to consider what they think the media-landscape, in regards to gender normativity, will look like five years from now.  They can write their assumptions about positive changes, and things that they feel won’t change fast enough on the back of their minds on notes.

Students should hand this in before they leave.  You can use these comments as a way to host a discussion at the start of your next class.

Next Steps

Now that we have explored media representation, giving students a strong foundation to do their own research and explore the world around them, you can move on to the lesson where they will analyze a variety of advertisements.

If you have not already done so, students should be introduced to The Media Triangle which is the lens through which they will analyze works of media, moving forward.

Downloads

Representation in Media Handout.pdf

Goldieblox vs. Lego – Comparison Assignment.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

X: A Fabulous Child’s Story – Literacy Skills Review

Whether you’ve arrived here as part of the larger Gender Representation Unit, or while searching for a strong short story to use with your students, X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould is perfect for your classroom.  A copy of the story can be purchased online or downloaded from The Gender Centre (currently the fourth link from the top at the time of posting).

 

What’s the Story About?

This is the story of a baby named X.  The game is raised Gender Neutral; the parents refuse to tell anyone the sex of the child.  While this causes problems for X when X goes to school, other children soon see the benefit in being more like X.  As, is often the case, it is the parents who worry.

While this story is a work of fiction, it connects to many real-life examples, some of which were inspired by this piece.

 

A Focus on Literacy Skills

This story will refresh student’s knowledge when it comes to writing Point Evidence Evaluation paragraphs.  It will also focus on the following Literacy Skills:

Inferring

Students will be asked to make and support inferences about the parents in the story, as well as the other community members.  They will be challenged to use the information presented to them in the text, as well as their own person knowledge, to make a strong educated guess about motivation.

Questioning

Students will identify question types, focusing on both Literal and Evaluative.  They will then have to write a response in P.E.E. format, explaining if they would want to raise a baby X of their own.

Summarizing

Students are offered limited room to summarize a large amount of information.  This will help demonstrate the need to only add specific details while avoiding all unnecessary information.

Visualizing

Students are asked to recreate a part of the story, paying attention to how all five senses are activated during that moment.  Students will create a stronger understanding of the characters when considering what taste they might be experiencing, and what sounds would stand out to them.

Connecting

Students will be asked to make Text to Text, Text to World, and Text to Self-connections with the story.  By doing so, they will work to create meaning, and develop a strong foundation for future discussions.

 

 

Related Articles

Parent’s Keep Child’s Gender Secret – Toronto Star, May 21, 2011

Baby Storm Five Years Later – Toronto Star, July 11, 2016

 

 

Downloads

X – A Fabulous Child’s Story – Literacy Skills – 2018.pdf

X: A Fabulous Child’s Story (from The Gender Centre) – Direct Link

Alligator River: Point Evidence Explanation Paragraphs

Point Evidence Explanation paragraphs have all three requirements for supporting an opinion.  The point is what the writer believes, the evidence is what the writer is using to prove their belief is true, and the explanation is an explanation of how the evidence supports the point.

I use the following activity as a diagnostic to assess Reading and Writing knowledge.  It is also a great icebreaker to get students interacting with and challenging their peers.

 

Point Evidence Explanation Examples

For Example:

Point: Ivan is the worst person in “Alligator River”
Proof: He refuses to help Abigail even though they are friends.
Alternate Proof using Quotations: “Ivan did not want to be involved at all in the situation.”
Explanation: Friends are supposed to stand up for one another and help each other in times of trouble.  As Abigail’s friend, Ivan is the only person who should have supported her throughout the entire ordeal.  That he refused to help his friend shows that he is the worst person in the story.

PEE Paragraph (without embedded quotation):

Ivan is the worst person in “Alligator River” because he refuses to help Abigail even though they are friends.  Friends are supposed to stand up for one another and help each other in times of trouble.  As Abigail’s friend, Ivan is the only person who should have supported her throughout the entire ordeal.  That he refused to help his friend shows that he is the worst person in the story.

PEE Paragraph (with embedded quotation):

Ivan is the worst person in “Alligator River” because he refuses to help Abigail.   Even though they are friends, Ivan “did not want to be involved … in the situation” (Alligator River).  Friends are supposed to stand up for one another and help each other in times of trouble.  As Abigail’s friend, Ivan is the only person who should have supported her throughout the entire ordeal.  That he refused to help his friend shows that he is the worst person in the story.

 

Introducing Point Evidence Explanation Paragraphs

Note: I don’t normally include stories that I don’t have the license to here, but I have tried to discover the author of Alligator River for some time, coming up short with each attempt.  It appears on countless websites, each time unattributed.  If anyone knows the author please inform me in the comments.

Read the story Alligator River aloud to your class.

Alligator River

Once upon a time there was a woman named Abigail who was in love with a man named Gregory. Gregory lived on the shore of a river. Abigail lived on the opposite shore of the river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with man-eating alligators. Abigail wanted to cross the river to be with Gregory. Unfortunately, the bridge had been washed away by a heavy storm the previous evening.

So she went to ask Sinbad, a riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would consent to go to bed with him before he takes her across. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Ivan to explain her plight. Ivan did not want to be involved at all in the situation.

Abigail felt her only alternative was to accept Sinbad’s terms. Sinbad fulfilled his promise to Abigail and delivered her into the arms of Gregory.

When she told Gregory about her amorous escapade in order to cross the river, Gregory cast her aside with disdain. Heartsick and dejected, Abigail turned to Slug with her tale of woe. Slug, feeling compassion for Abigail, sought out Gregory and beat him brutally. Abigail was happy to see Gregory getting his due. As the sun sets on the horizon, we hear Abigail laughing at Gregory.

Debriefing the Story

Students should be asked to consider the choices made by each of the five characters: AbigailIvanSinbadSlug, and Gregory.

Think

I structure this by first giving students five minutes to fill out a chart that ranks each of the characters from best to worst.  This is a purely subjective ranking but it helps get thing thinking about the events of the story.

Once I establish that they will be filling out this chart I read the story again so that they are listening with intent, seeking out main and supporting details.

It is important that students work on this chart independently.  They will have the opportunity to share with their peers in the next stage.

Once students have had time to fill out their chart, I break them into groups

Pair (and then some)

Students are split into four groups.  In these new groups, all members must agree on a new list.  Often times there are disagreements and strong opinions.  Students become passionate about their choices, as well as their reasons.

Once they have their lists, you can move onto the sharing step or combine two of these groups to make a larger group before sharing as a class.

Share

Each group will write their rankings on the board.  First they will silently compare them, or become angered by the differences.  After there has been an opportunity to read the lists, students will explain their rationale for the choices that they made.

I find that it can be helpful for teachers to write their own list on the board, after students have discussed their own.  At this point the teacher can mention that they have their own reason for the choices that they made, but they are no more correct or incorrect than any of the student lists.

Ultimately, the important thing is that everyone can support their reasons.  This leads us directly to an explanation of Point Evidence Explanation paragraphs.

Writing a P.E.E. Paragraph

Using the prior examples as exemplars students should be instructed to write  P.E.E. Paragraph explaining who they think the worst character in the story is.

Students should then swap paragraphs and highlight the Point in yellow, the Evidence in green and the Evaluation in blue.

If you do not have access to highlighters, underlining, circling, and starring the different sections is also effective.  However, I find that by highlight the entire paragraph it’s easy to visually identify problematic paragraphs.

Students should quickly see that the order of the three sections is consistent in each paragraph and that the Evaluation makes up the bulk of the writing.

Common Problems

Often times students will simply want to write their point assuming that everyone understands it.  Some might also often evidence to support their point, but without their explanation, the reader is left the infer and make the connection themselves.  Writing a P.E.E. Paragraph ensures that the writer fully communicates their ideas to the reader.

A Second Paragraph

Once students have peer edited each others’ work, and you have identified common problems, you can ask the students to write a second paragraph explaining who they think the best character in the story is.

At the end of this assignment, you will have strong evidence of their writing ability and their ability to support their opinion with textual references.

 

Next Steps

After discussing this story you can point out the various opinions students had about the characters and their actions.  By telling them that a large discussion occurred based on a story that is only half a page long, they will be prepared for the challenge of discussing longer texts in Literature Circles.

I also use this activity as a starting off point for encouraging students to write their own Choose Our Way tales.

Finally, I have included a handout that has questions relating to four of the ten key literacy skills: Connecting, Comparing, Predicting, Inferring.

 

Downloadable Resources

Alligator River – Story and Chart Handout

Alligator River – Literacy Skills Questions