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Author Archives: Fair Trade Chocolate

Lesson One: Media Biases in Chocolate Production Part I

Subjects: Social Studies/ Media Education
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information and communication technologies. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Consumer rights and responsibility. Citizenship and community life.
Materials:
Cocoa beans
Projector
Computers
Pencils
Nestle Chocolate Handouts

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Objectives:
To become critical readers of the media by examining biases in information coming from different sources on the internet.
To demonstrate a basic understanding of how chocolate is processed in a chocolate factory.
To demonstrate a basic understanding of where chocolate comes from.

Introduction:
To introduce this lesson, students are prompted to engage in brainstorming about the chocolate industry. Discussion questions may include: What does chocolate mean to us? Where does chocolate come from? Who makes chocolate? What makes chocolate sweet?

Development:

  • The teacher informs students that chocolate is made from cocoa beans that look very different from the chocolate we buy from the store.
  • The teacher passes cocoa beans around the classroom so students may experience what a cocoa bean looks, smells and feels like before it becomes chocolate.
  • The teacher informs students that while chocolate is processed in developed countries like Canada, the beans come from tropical rain forests in Third World countries.
  • The teacher explains that turning beans into chocolate is a process that requires many steps, beginning with roasting the cocoa beans and making them into chocolate liquour and ending with kneading, moulding and packaging for distribution.
  • Students watch a series of short videos from the Hershey’s website that show the processing of chocolate in the Hershey’s factories.
  • Students are be given an opportunity to clarify their understanding of the videos by engaging in a discussion prompted by the teacher. Questions may include: What did you see in the videos? What surprised you about the chocolate process?
  • The teacher then prompts a discussion of biases in the media by asking students to think about where the video came from (Hershey’s) and what their intentions might have been. Questions may include: Who made these videos? Why did they make the videos?
  • Students take a trip to the computer lab and are directed to the Nestle website. Students are asked to form groups of two and answer questions about Nestle chocolate using the website. They are given a handout to complete.

                                  -Where does Nestle chocolate come from?
                                  -Who makes Nestle chocolate?
                                  -Who receives the profit from the sales?
                                  -Do you think the workers are treated fairly? In a few sentences, explain why or why not.

  • When they are done answering the questions, students are directed to an article from Forbes magazine discussing Nestle’s association with forced labour. They are given a second identical handout and asked to answer the same questions again, but using the information from this article.
  • A final discussion takes place where the class shares their two sets of answers and discusses where the answers seem to differ. The teacher again prompts the students to think about where the information came from and what might be the intentions of the Nestle website versus the Forbes magazine article.

Conclusion:
This lesson closes with a return to the discussion questions from the beginning of the class. Students are asked if their perceptions of chocolate have changed now that they have heard two different explanations of where it comes from and how it is made into the chocolate we see on our store shelves. Assessment can be arranged by collecting the student responses to the Nestle website and Forbes article.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Two: Media Biases in Chocolate Production Part II

Subject: Social Studies
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information and communication technologies. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Consumer rights and responsibility. Citizenship and community life.
Materials:
Map of the World
Maps of the Ivory Coast
Child Labour in the Ivory Coast video

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Objectives:
To become critical readers of the media by examining biases in information coming from different sources.
To demonstrate knowledge of where the Ivory Coast is located on a map of the world.
To demonstrate a basic knowledge of working conditions in the Ivory Coast plantations.

Introduction:

This lesson is introduced by reminding student that sources of media are subject to biases and that it is important to be critical users of media.

Development:

  • The teacher reminds students of the magazine article from the previous lesson that referred to forced labour in the chocolate industry and explains that the class is going to spend some time examining this social injustice and its portrayal in the media.
  • The teacher asks the students if any of them knows a country where a cocoa plantation might be. Students are prompted to think about a country where tropical forests might harvest cocoa beans.
  • The teacher explains that the largest cocoa producing country is the Ivory Coast of Africa. The teacher produces a large map of the World and shows them where Africa and the Ivory Coast are on the map.
  • Students each receive a map of the Ivory Coast.
  • The teacher explains that although corporations like Hershey’s and Nestle do not publicize this information, the working conditions in the Ivory Coast cocoa plantations are not ideal. The teacher explains that children as young as the students in class are often working on the farms and are not treated nicely.
  • Students watch a video on unfair labour practices in the Ivory Coast, mentioning the long hours of hard labour, the use of pesticides and dangerous tools and low food supplies available to workers.
  • Students discuss what they have seen in small groups. Each group of about five students works on one of the following questions:
    What are five things you saw in the video that surprised you?
    What are five problems that plantation workers face?
    What are five things the workers could have that you think might protect them during their work?
    What are five things we have in our classroom that the children don’t have in the Ivory Coast?
  • One student from each group reads their list to the class.
  • The teacher informs the students that the video came from the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) which is an organization of labour unions, NGOs, and other companies that are devoted to fighting the exploitation of children involved in cocoa production.
  • Students are given a handout with the following questions concerning the video and are asked to answer them individually:
    What are the intentions of the ICI video?
    Who is this video aimed at?
    What is the message of the video?
    Do you think the video would have been different if it had been produced by a chocolate company like Nestle or Hershey’s? What would be different about it?
  • After turning in their reflections, the class discusses the answers together.

Conclusion: This lesson ends by reminding students that there are hidden intentions behind any source of media and that every source portrays a particular ideology to the audience. The students’ progress and understanding of the unit is assessed with contribution to discussions as well as the answers from the ICI video handout.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Three: Chocolate Profits and Commercial Implications

Subject: Math
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Consumer rights and responsibilities. Media literacy.
Materials:
Paper and pencil per student
Calculator per student
A computer lab

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Objectives:
To gain an understanding of the discrepancy between the profits of chocolate sales around the world, the profits of a cocoa plantation farmer and the wages of laborers on cocoa plantations.
To gain an understanding of the commercial implications of forced labour in the Ivory Coast.
To demonstrate the ability to represent and manipulate profits and expenses in an excel spreadsheet.

Introduction:
The lesson begins by reminding children of the harsh working conditions in the Ivory Coast that were identified in the previous lesson. A reflection question is posed to the class as a whole: Who do you think gets the money when you buy a chocolate bar at the supermarket?

Development:

  • The teacher ntroduces the idea that despite the intense work involved in harvesting and preparing cocoa beans for importation, plantations in Third World countries make very little profits.
  • Each student is given a worksheet with various problems on it regarding the expenses and profits involved in chocolate production and culminating in a figure for the profits of an Ivory Coast farmer and for a big chocolate company in Canada.
  • The profits of the chocolate company are computed together as a class under the guidance of the teacher, and the profits of the Ivory Coast farmer are then be computed individually by each student.
  • The teacher then invites students to share their answers and reveals the correct figure for the profits of the cocoa plantation farmer.
  • The class moves to the computer lab where they practice entering these figures into an excel spreadsheet.
  • Students are then asked to guess how much money is earned by the plantation workers supplying the long hours and heavy labour. After some discussion, the teacher explains that these workers make little to no pay at all.
  • A class discussion takes place where students are invited to share their feelings on this discrepancy between chocolate sales in Canada and worker profits in the Ivory Coast. Reflection questions may include: If chocolate companies are making so much money, why are cocoa farmers making very little? Is it fair for plantation workers to receive no money from the sale of chocolate in Canada?
  • Students are then asked to reflect on whether they think many Canadians know about the slavery in the Ivory Coast and the gigantic profits being made by chocolate companies in North America.
  • Students are reminded of the previous two lessons examining biases in the media and are asked whether there might be biases in the way information about chocolate profits are publicized. Discussion questions may include: Did the Hershey’s videos have any information about chocolate profits in them? Why do you think they did not? Do you think information about chocolate profits is available to Canadians at all?

Conclusion:
To close the lesson students will be prompted with a reflection question that will prepare them for the next lesson: What do you think we can do to fix the issues surrounding unfair labour practices in the Ivory Coast? Who do you think should get the money you spend when you buy a chocolate bar? Students’ grasp of the material is assessed by looking at each student’s final excel spreadsheet.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Four: Fair Trade Chocolate and Consumer Choice

Subject: Social Studies
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Consumer rights and responsibilities. Media literacy. Citizenship and community life.
Materials:
Computer and projector.
Fair Trade handouts.

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Introduction:
This lesson begins by reminding students of the unfair labour practices taking place in the Ivory Coast and of the connections between the money we pay for chocolate, the profits of the chocolate industry, and the exploitation of child slaves in Africa.

Development:

  • The teacher asks if anyone in the class can remember the problems experienced by workers in the cocoa plantations. Once one or more students have answered, the teacher identifies three main problems and writes them on the board. These are: working with unsafe equipement, receiveing little to no wages, and poor living conditions.
  • The teacher informs students that while these problems are real and very serious, there are organizations that are working hard to stop them and things we can do ourselves to help.
  • The students are introduced to the idea of Fair Trade Chocolate- and how offering farmers a fair price for their chocolate allows them to buy proper equipement for their workers and to pay them a fair salary so they may live better lives.
  • The teacher explains that certain organizations like Anti-Slavery International make it their mission encourage chocolate companies to offer farmers a fair price for their services. Students are introduced to one such company in the United States called Theo Chocolate with this video from FairTadeCertified.
  • After the video, students are invited into a discussion about buying Fair Trade. Do you think many people buy Fair Trade? Why or why not? Do you think many people know about Fair Trade?
  • Students are introduced to the idea that consumers have the choice to choose to buy Fair Trade and that their decisions can make a real difference in ending the forced labour in chocolate plantations. Students are introduced to the Fair Trade logo with this video on shopping with a conscience from FairTradeCertified.
  • The teacher explains that most chocolate companies do not have this label, and therefore it is important for consumers to be aware of the Fair Trade logo and to look for it on the shelves.
  • Students are each given a handout to take home where they will answer questions about what they have learned:
    What does it mean for a chocolate company to be Fair Trade?
    Name 2 different products besides cocoa that might be involved in Fair Trade practices.
    Is there a way for consumers to tell if a chocolate company is Fair Trade?
    Name two chocolate companies that are Fair Trade.

Conclusion: The lesson ends by leaving the students with a reminder of the importance of being critical readers of the media so they can make informed decisions in their lives. Assessment will be ascertained through evaluating student responses to the Fair Trade handouts.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Five: Creating Our Own Media

Subjects: Language Arts/ Media Technology
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information. To exercise critical judgment. To use information and communication technologies.
Broad Areas of Learning: Consumer rights and responsibilities. Media literacy. Citizenship and community life.
Materials:
Papers and pencils.
Video Camera.

Time: Two lessons of 1 1/2 hours each.

Introduction: This lesson is introduced by reminding students of our contributions to the social inequalities in the Ivory Coast.

Development:

  • The teacher starts a discussion to get children to reflect on their own feelings about what they have learned throughout this unit on slavery in the chocolate industry.
  • Students are split into small groups and encouraged to discuss together what they think about what they learned and what they think should be done about it.
  • After this brief discussion, students are asked if they want to share their feelings or ideas with the class.
  • Next, the teacher tells the students that they will be given time to write a poem, a spoken word, or a rap about what they have learned that they will then speak individual in front of the video camera. Students are encouraged to be creative, and to write about whatever they feel is important about what is going on in the chocolate industry.
  • Students work individually, at first brainstorming ideas and eventually coming out with a full piece of work to be handed in for assessment.
  • At the next class, students are handed back their poems/raps/or spoken word pieces and take turns reading in front of the camera. (An extension activity for another lesson may be to work with editing software in the lab to bring the poems together into a class video about chocolate slavery).

Conclusion: The lesson ends with a reminder that we can all make a difference in the world and that it is important to be informed. This leads students into the following lessons that delve deeper into a critically deconstruction of media. Assessment will be ascertained through an evaluation of the student’s written poetry/rap/ or spoken word piece, and through their performance in front of the video camera.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Six: Deconstructing Nestle Advertisements

Subject: Language Arts
Cross Curricular Competencies: Exercising critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Consumer rights and responsibilities. Citizenship and community life.

Objectives: To understand the purposeful process of creating an advertisement. To introduce and practice the key concepts involved in media deconstruction. To deconstruct Nestle print and video  advertisements.

Materials: Computer with inter net connection, white board and projector, paper and pens, student handout with terminology.

Time:  1 1/2 hours

Introduction: The class views a series of Nestle Bunny print ads, taking note of the slogans. (‘Stir up some fun.’ ‘It’s magic.’ etc.) The teacher introduces the idea that advertisers carefully craft their product with specific intentions.

Development:

  • The teacher outlines the concepts involved in semiotics, including: signs, symbols, language construction, denotation, and connotation using examples from daily life and print ads.
  • The class practices using these concepts in an oral discussion. They begin by looking at various examples of print ads, and then focus on Nestle print ads.
  • The class views several Nestle video ads from 1970 to 2010. Students are invited to respond to these ads with comments and interpretations.
  • .
  • The teacher introduces the concepts of production and textual analysis, including: target audience, meanings of representations, ideological messages, naturalized concepts, preferred and oppositional meanings, using clear and simple explanations and examples.
  • The class views another Nestle video ad. They are divided into groups of five students and asked to deconstruct the ad with the use of a printed guideline, including the simple explanations of the previously discussed concepts. The teacher walks around and helps students.
  • The class comes together to share their ideas.

Conclusion: Students become familiar with concepts of deconstruction of media messages through their hands on experience of interpreting Nestle print and video ads. Assessment is carried out through the student responses to the hand-out.

Thumbs up!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lesson Seven: Creating an Oppositional Advertisement

Subjects: Language Arts. Visual Arts.
Cross Curricular Competencies: Using information and media technology. Exercising critical judgment. To construct his/her identity. To communicate appropriately.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Health and well being.
Materials: Paper for rough draft and good copy of poster. Felt pens, colored pencils.

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Objectives:  To understand the concepts involved in creating an advertisement with an oppositional meaning. To create a Nestle advertisement with an oppositional meaning.

Introduction: The teacher reviews the elements of media deconstruction from the previous class.

Development:

  • The class views several ad buster ads and learns about their campaigns to offer alternative views than those offered in the mainstream media.
  • The class examines chocolate bar and other food labels to see what they include. They brainstorm about all the aspects of chocolate production that are not apparent from the labeling.
  • Working in pairs or small groups students are invited to create a logo, a slogan, and a label that more accurately reflects the reality of cocoa production. For example, one may choose a ‘Nestle Snake’ that keeps secrets, with a catchy slogan like ‘simply sinful’ and the label could include 80% slave labor. Students sketch a rough copy of their ad and label and then draw and color a small poster size version.

Conclusion: By creating an oppositional advertisement students demonstrate their understanding of the elements of media production.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized