Media Literacy – Selected Resources

Created by Fran Bullington, Library Media Specialist

This directory is meant to help secondary teachers locate accurate sources related to the study and teaching of media literacy, with a focus on advertising and the influence the media have in our lives. An effort was made to include a variety of resources which not only introduce the topic of media literacy and explain why it should be taught, but also resources which provide lesson plans and printable handouts for classroom use. To aid teachers in implementing these lesson plans and in creating their own, sites which provide both print and video advertising have been included.

This directory is not meant to represent all aspects of media literacy, but it does provide some excellent resources in teaching the craft and analysis of advertising and the influence the media have in our lives. It is a good starting point for those who have little experience with teaching media literacy.

Media Literacy 101

· Advertising and Consumerism
This site is maintained by and editor Susan Rogers. This well designed site has internal links to subject areas (English/Language Arts, Social Studies/History, Health/Life Skills, and Other Subjects- Math. Science, Music, Art) which provide teachers with standards that fit different curricula and ideas on how to get started with media literacy in their subject area. There is an advanced search function that allows the user to search several reliable media literacy sites with one click. The site also has a link to a wealth of downloadable handouts and a links to “free stuff” from media literacy groups.

Lesson Plans

· Annenberg Classroom Fact Check
This site is maintained by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. A resource for secondary teachers and students, it is designed to help students identify misinformation and deception in the world of media. There are links to nine lesson plans which contain objectives, background, materials, exercises, and standards. Two of the lessons focus on advertising: “Hoodia Hoodoo” and “Listerine, False and Misleading Claims.” Other resources at the site include links to a dictionary of terms used in the lessons, “Tools of the Trade” which gives five steps that can be taken to prevent media deception, and even a link to a “Faculty Lounge.”
· Daily Lesson Plan: The Influence of the Mass Media
The New York Times maintains this site. It contains links to lesson plans from September of 1998 to the present. An archive of lesson plans is searchable by keyword, subject, or grade but can also be browsed by subject. The lesson plan “Commercial Success?” analyzes Super Bowl ads, another titled “The Science of Selling” analyzes selling techniques, and a third example, “Watching the Watchers,” analyzes product placement in television shows and movies. Other features on the toolbar include On this Day in History, Crossword Puzzle, and Test Prep Question of the Day.
· Frontline: The Merchants of Cool
Provided by the WGHB Educational Foundation, a public broadcasting company in Boston, this site focuses on the “Frontline: The Merchants of Cool” documentary. This Frontline report was a study of the creators and marketers of popular culture for teenagers. It contains a link to the full 53 minute documentary which can be streamed for classroom use and is conveniently divided into six segments that can be used independent of one another. The site has several links including a Teacher’s Guide, Themes in the Report, Interviews, Media Giants, and What Teens Think.
· My Journey Home for Teachers
This site is maintained by the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association. It was created to accompany “My Journey Home,” a documentary about immigrants, and focuses on teaching high school and community college students about the media and its messages in order to prepare them to create their own multimedia essay. Some of the internal links on the site include a comprehensive Media Literacy Glossary, a Media Literacy Workshop, and a link to thorough Lesson Plans with handouts and social studies standards. There is a wealth of information here to use in the classroom which does not require purchase of the DVD of the program.
· Web English Teacher: Media Literacy and Information Literacy
This site is maintained by Carla Beard, an English teacher. This subject directory provides links to lesson plans, webquests, and media literacy sites. The majority of the lesson plans best suit English and social studies classrooms, but art and technology teachers will find lesson plans that fit their curricula here also.

· Ad*Access
This site is maintained by Duke University. It provides a collection of images and information on over 7,000 advertisements from Canadian and American newspapers and magazines spanning the time between 1911 and 1955. You can browse the images or search them. The search function utilizes keywords and drop down menus that teachers and students will find easy to use. Another helpful link gives a timeline that spans the same years as the ads for comparison purposes. Finally, another feature teachers will appreciate is the Technical Information page that provides information on the copyright and citation of the images.
· American Memory Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements
This site tracing the historical development of Coca-Cola advertising is provided by the Library of Congress. You can search the Coca-Cola ads using keywords or you can browse by a title index. The site not only has television advertisements but also never-broadcast outtakes of ads. In a Special Presentations section, there are links to articles such as “Television Advertising: A Brief History” and “The ‘Hilltop’ Ad: The Story of a Commercial. Also included in this section is “Timeline: Advertising Themes” that provides images of Coca-Cola advertisements back to 1886.

Well Connected This site is maintained by the Center for Public Integrity. It focuses on media ownership and its financial influence on politicians. It provides a searchable database of 65,000 records that contain “ownership information on virtually every radio station, television station, cable television system and telephone company in America.” Type your zip code in the Media Tracker to discover who owns your local media. You can also browse media companies by type (Entertainment, Newspapers, and Cable for example). When you click on a media company’s name, you are taken to a profile of the company that includes how much the company spent from 1997 to 2006 on political campaign donations and lobbying. Click on “Congress” to discover the financial amounts that individual members of Congress have accepted from the media. Fascinating site that can be easily used by both teachers and students to see how the media is influencing politicians.