Lesson Eight: Deconstructing Media: Body Images

Subject: Language 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: Computers, white board and projector, pens and paper, magazines and scissors.

Time: Two class periods of 1 1/2 hours each.

Objectives: To critically examine western media representations of boys, girls, women and men. To ascertain what types of representations of people predominate in western media. To make connections between media representations and personal feelings of self worth.

Introduction: We begin by viewing a rather sophisticated and provocative cartoon video add for Nestle’s Kit Kat chocolate bar.


  • The teacher opens a discussion of the video by reviewing the elements of critical media analysis that were developed during the last lesson. The class analyzes the video and students share their thoughts and feelings about it.
  • The teacher reviews the concept about who is present and who is absent in the video and asks each student to make a list of the characters who are portrayed in the video, paying particular attention to their physical appearances, gender, and ethnic background. We view the video for a second time.
  • Students are asked to make a list of all of the members of their society who are not present in this video.
  • The teacher leads a brainstorming session of human characteristics such as easy-going, successful, serious, intelligent, absent minded etc. Students are then asked to write a brief character sketch of what they imagine each character is like.
  • Students are asked to share their ideas in an oral discussion.
  • The teacher opens a discussion about which character in the ad they would relate to. The teacher asks if it is important for young people to have media representations that they can relate to.
  • We look at the image of the young woman who is very thin and acts in a sexy manner to get attention from her co-worker, as well as the muscular and successful business man. This opens a discussion of body images portrayed in the media.
  • To conclude this lesson, students are divided into small groups and asked to look through magazines that the teacher has brought in, and choose several images that represent them, as well as several that do not represent them.
  • At the beginning of the next class students show these print ads and explain why they do or do not represent themselves. This follows with a class discussion of our society’s portrayal of beauty in the media.
  • Students make a list of attributes that are considered positive by our culture. We discuss whether these ideals are attainable or not, along with some of the physical, mental, and emotional health consequences of these preoccupations, including eating disorders, depression, stress, poor self esteem.
  • The teacher explains the advertising regulation that states that an item of food in an advertisement must be real. The teacher asks the class if they think that this is true for advertising aspects of the human body.
  • We watch the Dove video clip of the airbrushed woman.
  • We conclude by reviewing our discussions and breaking into groups to write answers to the following guided questions: Who does the media show us in their advertisements? How are these characters represented? How are these representations attained? Why do these representations matter? How do these representations reflect our self image? Do we judge each other and ourselves by these unattainable standards?

Conclusion: Assessment of student understanding will be ascertained through both contribution to discussions, written character analysis, and responses to guided questions.

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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Lesson Nine: Audience Negotiation of Media Meanings

Subject: Language Arts
Cross Curricular Competencies: Exercising critical judgment. To construct his/her identity. To communicate appropriately.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Health and well being.
A hat and a list of characters. Pens and paper.

Time: 1 hour

Objectives: To introduce the concept that audiences negotiate meanings of media messages. To interpret media messages from the perspectives of different cultural, age, and social groups. To assess  student ability to critically interpret media.


  • The teacher reviews the concepts relating to media representations and body images, including the concepts of self esteem and health.
  • Students are invited to brainstorm about the ideas and concepts that they have learned about media literacy.
  • Students are introduced to the idea that different audiences will interpret a media message differently.
  • The class plays a game where a student picks a name from a hat. That name represents a person from a specific age group and sociocultural background, for instance ‘a Greek Grandma’ or ‘a young Haitian boy’ or ‘a Canadian teenager’.
  • The student is asked to personify the character that he/she has chosen and to offer an interpretation of a specific advertisement. All students are invited to participate.
  • Students are asked how they interpret media messages differently now that they have some tools at their disposal. They are asked to write a few sentences describing how they interpret media.

Conclusion: This self assessment will enhance students’ knowledge acquisition and will allow the teacher to assess the success of the previous lessons.

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


Lesson Ten: Media Values and Points of View: Powerpoint Presentation

Subject: Language Arts
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information. To exercise critical judgment. To use creativity. To adopt effective work methods. To use information and communication technologies. To cooperate with others.
Broad Areas of Learning: Consumer rights and responsibilities. Media literacy. Citizenship and community life.
Materials: Computers/ Pens and paper.

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

Objectives: Students will learn how to create an effective power point presentation. Students will discover the embedded values and points of view of a media message by creating a power point presentation from the different points of view of people involved in the chocolate industry. They will understand the connection between the choice of images and text of a media message and its intended goals.

Introduction: The teacher will introduce the concept of points of view from a literary perspective. She/he will read novel excerpts from characters of different ages, sexes, economic situations, and ethnic backgrounds and ask students to guess who is speaking. The class will review the different people involved in the chocolate industry and imagine what each one would have to say about their experiences.


  • Students will be instructed in the constituent elements of an effective power point presentation, stressing that it be concise, emphatic, and intentionally structured to develop a theme.
  • Students will be informed that the power point presentation that they will create will have a limit of seven to ten words per slide and will consist of seven slides. They will be advised to choose their words and their images judiciously.
  • Students will be divided into pairs or small groups. Half of these groups will be chosen randomly to represent a multinational chocolate company, while the other half will represent children involved in cocoa production.
  • The class will view a video message from a CEO of Nestle and view an interview with children who are involved in exploitative cocoa production practices.
  • Each group will prepare the text for their seven slides. The topic will be ‘What does chocolate mean to me’.
  • At the beginning of the second lesson students will be instructed systematically in the use of power point, including searching for and adding images from the inter net. They will practice their skills until they are confident.
  • Students will use the text that they have prepared and add one image per slide to complete their power point presentations. Once completed the class will view each presentation and have a discussion about the text and images that were chosen to represent the point of view of each participant in the chocolate industry.

Students will have hands on experience in creating a power point presentation as well as gaining experiential knowledge of the relationship between points of view and media messages. Assessment will focus on the completed power point presentation.

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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Uncategorized