Friday, May 1, 2015

Media Literacy: Taking Education by Storm

There seems to be a new educational subject out there, which I find very relevant to today's children, especially teens who are learning Life Skills. It's called Media Literacy.
By looking at advertising critically, students begin to understand how the media oppresses certain groups, convinces people to purchase certain products, and influences culture. Lesson
I remember discussing advertising when I was in middle school/high school and how they exaggerate to convince you to buy something. They want to sell you on a product so they use gimmicks, cuteness, arousal, enticement, celebrities, bad math, and skewed graphics or camera angles and great lighting to capture your attention.

Media Literacy takes this education to a completely new level. What if we can bridge math, science, reading informational text, and real life through media? We can. Children are exposed to media constantly and they are lied to. They need to learn to 'deconstruct' the messages and read between the lines.

Reading between the lines, inferring, and doing their own research seems to be what this new educational subject is about. This is a skill many new adults lack. How can we tell what is true and what is a lie?

Back to integrating more educational opportunities; Ask students how much media they take in, then come with different ways to graph the data; investigate the science of appealing to people's emotions; study the copy writing and logos and have students design their own. Get out some magazines and have them examine ads in the pages. You could do a collage with themes, or put the ad on a larger piece of paper and diagram it around the picture.

I think I need to plan some lessons with my students and my children!

Lessons: NCTE

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z - "Z" is for Zoo

We have the opportunity to go to the Indianapolis Zoo this summer. We last went to the zoo 3 years ago. My youngest claims he doesn't remember it. He hadn't even started school yet. I was hoping for a school field trip to get to go again, but they cut all those back.


The zoo now has orangutans, which will be fun to see. It's a fun place with a good bit of walking and my favorite animals, dolphins! They are impossible to photograph under their pool in the viewing area, so no pictures.

We could make this summer the summer of the zoo and go to the St. Louis Zoo. It would cost a little bit more, but would be worth it. It could even be a day trip if we needed to save money. But, going to this city could be a good mini trip. We could take a weekend and go to the museums and the Arch. I really want the boys to experience the City Museum.

If I really dream big, I'd stay at the hotel with the indoor/outdoor pool.

But hubby wants to go to a beach and do nothing but flop down on the sand and venture into the waves once in a while. I am not keen on going to a beach and doing nothing. I want to see or do something while I am there. He seems content to sit and stay.

While we hash this out, there is plenty of dreaming and planning to do. Not to mention trips to the zoo.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z - "Y" is for Yard Sale

Maybe you live in a country where you can't have a yard sale, but around here, yard sale season has just begun.

Some people call them garage sales, but if you don't know, basically you gather up your things that you don't use any more but have some usefulness left in them and you price them very low and put them out on tables in your yard or in your garage to sell them to people who might be able to use them.

Whole neighborhoods might get together and have a neighborhood sale. Every few driveways along the street will be lined with tables of outgrown children's clothes and toys, unwanted pictures, tools, old lamps, vacuums, bikes, balls, shoes, and furniture. It's a treasure hunter's dream. The kids usually make out like bandits.

Not only does my family participate in buying other people's unwanted stuff, but we also have our own yard sale about once a year. I've already got quite a pile of stuff stashed away that we no longer use. This stuff can go to consignment shops or stores that buy back kids' clothes and toys, but they don't take all of it. The rest goes into the yard sale.

Another option for the things, if we don't want to get money for them, is to take them to Goodwill. This is a charity shop that sells items in decent condition. What usually happens is we have a sale and what doesn't sell goes to Goodwill afterwards.

You might be thinking, why go to yard sales when you can go to Goodwill? Well, a good treasure hunter does both. My town has 3 Goodwill stores, so you could go to all 3. Neighboring towns have Goodwill stores, too. Some Goodwills near nicer towns have better things because higher quality things get donated. The stock changes often. Sure, some ugly sweaters stay there for years, but the 'good stuff' comes and goes.

Unfortunately, we found that since Goodwill started using internet auctioning to make the most for its company, the really good stuff never made it to the shopping floor. You used to find bags of Hot Wheels and Legos. No more. Complete games in box? No more. They are all on the auction site.

Treasure hunt away, good neighbors. Have a sale of your own and make some vacation money. The time is now.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A to Z - "X" is for Sssh

X is for secrets we keep, things we don't talk about. X is for Sssh.

We all have secrets, or things we don't talk about. It would be rude to speak some things aloud in public or to share another's private business with the world. I'm not referring to these kinds of things.

I'm referring to the kinds of secrets we keep locked inside that no one ever hears. These are the things our pride will never let us admit, the things in our past that are too painful to bear, or things society tells us we must not share or we won't fit in. Sometimes it is not a past secret but a new one; a disease, an illness, a change going on that is best kept close.

We all need a secret-keeper, too. Someone we can talk to, share these things with, who will never tell a soul. Some secrets are too big to keep all by yourself. One body cannot hold the enormity of a big secret. Secrets can make you explode. The energy required to hold in the reminders of the secret, whether in thoughts repeated, things you see in everyday life that remind you of the secret, or random times it would be so easy to blurt it out but you can't. Secrets consume you from the inside out of you don't siphon some of that energy off.

Exercise helps. Get mad, punch a punching bag, ride a bike, go for a jog, swim, anything to work off some pent up stress.

And find a secret-keeper, maybe even a pet, to talk to. Write the secrets down. Pray about them. Confess to a priest. Talk to a therapist. Visit a loved one's grave. Whatever you do, share some of it.

These burdens do not have to be yours alone to bear.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z - "W" is for Write

For those who don't know, I am a writer.

Not just blogs. I write other stuff. Not all of it is good. Hardly any of it is seen by eyes other than mine.

But I own the title. I love to write. I desire to write. Despite my career that pays the bills, at my core is a writer. If I could get the place where writing pays my bills, I think I would. Not just any writing, but writing that makes me happy.

If you want to be a writer, then you have to do one thing.


It really is that simple. Being a writer doesn't mean that what you write is any good. You will sound ridiculously immature when you first start out. As you go along and read over what you have created, you will be embarrassed for yourself. But it's all part of leaning and growing.

Keep at it.

One day you will be awesome. Practice. Write everything. Type, calligraphy, shorthand, write.

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