Common Sense Media

I especially liked the “Picture Perfect” aspect of “Self-Image and Identity” under “Scope and Sequence” in the area of Digital Citizenship.  Since children at a young age are already involved in the social media frenzy that is, somewhat addicted to watching videos, pictures and ads online, or any form of media – it may have effects on their well-being once they start wondering and comparing themselves to what they see online, television, or magazine.  With “Picture Perfect”, photos can easily alter on the computer as unrealistically flawless and it is more common for celebrities who are idolized by millions of children and adults alike.  I can imagine it will have effects on our feelings and makes us start doubting ourselves.  For the most part, it is unhealthy for children and youth because it may lead to feeling insecure, sickness, teasing, loss of motivation in studies, and worse cyber bullying.  Once they do that, instantaneously they leave a negative digital footprint.

If students feel uneasy about themselves, teachers can make them think of what should they be cautious about in false advertisement, and what are the risks of Photoshop.  It is good for students to realize that not everything one sees and hears on TV, magazine or online is true, and that altering photos is just used to sell products.  To a company, we are their product to get their business going, and that we cannot go on believing anything they say.  Once students realize this, they may start embracing who they are.  All the drama, bullying, and peer pressures happen at school, so by doing this it could educate students how to behave online, accept who they are and accept that they are truly unique on their own way.

In addition, altering photos is a fun activity where students may explore their creativity, and this may apply in ELA, Arts, and Social Studies class (3-6).  For ELA, I will have the children gather in a small group project to take pictures of themselves – a minimum of eight pictures.  They will make an “All About Us” booklet.  The learning goal is to see the great natural beauty within them.  I will have them write positive captions of each photo, a summary of the whole process, and what could they have done better.  This project may explore how to upload photos, write captions, print, save, analyze text, and form arguments.  For Arts, I will have them pick the computer application such as PowerPoint and apply artistic effects, color, picture effects, etc.  The aim is to compare what the photos look like after being altered with their ELA project. For Social Studies, I will have them assigned to read any informational textbook, particularly in social justice.  The learning goal is for them to be aware and be accepting of other people’s differences.  We may not look the same from outside, but inside we are all the same. We have feelings just like the rest.  I realize that technology is advancing continually, and without proper guidance on how students should behave online it is worrisome; especially, children and youth are into posting “selfie photos” on social media.  For the Government of Saskatchewan working with school division so teachers can educate students how to behave responsibly and safely online, learn proper netiquette by thinking before posting so no one gets hurt is a great thing.  Otherwise, they use the technology for the wrong reason and not what it is intended to be.





Media Smart Website

Before I read the article of Gender Representation, I had never realized that I was gender stereotyping my own children when they were young.  It was wrong buying them stuff based on their gender.  I may apply this aspect “resources for parents” under “digital and media literacy” to classroom teaching about “talking to kids about gender stereotypes.”  This topic also connects to digital citizenship and literacy.  The messages they hear and see will have a huge impact on how they perceive things.  By talking to them early on how media stereotypes boys and girls will help them feel normal or easy – if such as girls like the same things as what boys do and play and vice versa.  As parents, we have to point out that the choice is okay, as gender stereotypes can place kids at risk.  I do not agree that girls should look certain ways, or should pick certain sports, as for boys.  They should have choices and do what they like and what they are capable of doing.  It is the same thing with women portrayed as more concerned with relationships and the men are more into careers.  That is not true, otherwise women or mothers would not go out of their way to work to be able to take care of the family.  It is the same thing with video games and toys – boys are heroic and stronger, because girls are into make-up and fashion.  It may be true for some, but not for all.  I, however, am so keen on learning any sports, but with a whip of makeup on my face and I am good to go – not to the extreme of having a collection and looking in the mirror until it cracked… no way.  Introduce a new sport to me and I am it.  If all parents or adults would educate children about this issue, they would feel they fit in wherever they are.  Teachers can only educate children so much, but it is up to the parents to carry on.  When children are educated about gender stereotypes, they become understanding, tolerant, and respectable.  These traits can defuse digital drama in the future.  They will not be blatantly commenting on pictures, or messages they disliked online, but rather ignore them… that is exercising a positive digital footprint.

What do children know about informational text? This has a connection with the Common Sense Media about teaching children informational text (3-8).  This may apply to any subjects, but I am more focused on the common core of teaching children about what informational text is about.  Learning goal: Social Studies – children will know that it is non-fiction writing, with the intention of informing the reader about a specific topic – topics such as tolerance of one’s culture, language, and differences. I am to assign students an informational reading (The Candy Shop by Jan Wahl) so the next day we all be doing reading aloud in class and guided by me.  Students will understand that informational story relates to humans.  The book is about treating others with respect and understanding, and that careless written word can hurt someone’s feelings – same thing with being online, cyber bullying is one of the examples.  So with this activity, students will learn how to be respectful when online.  Afterwards, we are to read about “One Hen” by Katie Smith Milway.  Children will have fun doing fundraising and I realized that we can take fundraising online for better outcomes, and with the use of technology they can even promote their organization while exploring their creativity.  They may learn how to set up a page or website.