Quebec Competencies Chart - Magazine Production

Author: This lesson has been adapted by MediaSmarts from a unit created by P. Gray and A. Gray in the Saskatoon Board of Education’s Media Literacy Guide,1994.
Level: Secondary Cycle Two
Subject Area: English Language Arts

Description: In this lesson, students explore how magazines are developed to reach specific target markets. They begin with a class discussion about consumer magazines, and deconstruct magazines they have brought to class. In groups, students will learn about the publishing industry by assuming the roles of editors, writers, marketing staff and graphic designers to create a magazine geared to adolescents, young parents or seniors.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To solve problems
  • To exercise critical judgement
  • To be creative
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To use information and communications technologies for learning purposes
  • To work with others
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy
  • Career Planning and Entrepreneurship

This lesson satisfies the following English Language Arts Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

COMPETENCY 1 uses language/talk to communicate and to learn

  • Compares the affordances of written, media and multimodal languages in achieving a specific purpose
  • Constructs criteria for choosing the mode of spoken language in a specific context, by considering audience needs and demands of the context

COMPETENCY 2 Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts

Constructing a Reading of a Text

  • Focuses on a topic and/or issue that is of interest to her/him to construct an efferent reading, (e.g. makes sense of the text by coming to terms with the ways in which a topic has been developed by a writer/producer)
  • Focuses on the relationship between self as reader and the text to construct an interpretive reading
  • Activates relevant prior textual knowledge before, during and after reading text(s) to monitor the meaning(s) s/he is making, (e.g. uses what is known about a writer/producer and her/his style to make predictions, draws on knowledge of structures and features of a specific genre, applies knowledge of codes and conventions particular to specific texts)
  • Activates relevant prior personal knowledge and experience to make sense of a text which is frequently expressed in text-to-self connections, text-to-world connections, text-to-text connections
  • Asks questions of self, writers(s) and text(s) as s/he reads to clarify and focus reading
  • Determines the most important ideas/messages/themes in a text
  • Draws inferences from a text

Reader, Text, Context

Draws inferences about the view of the world presented in a text

  • Identifies dominant elements and interprets their use, e.g. point of view, specific literary conventions, structure and sequence of argument, patterns of cause and effect
  • Identifies the characteristics of the writer/producer and evaluates how these influence meaning, i.e. how stance, socio-cultural context, values and/or beliefs shape the world of the text
  • Examines how language (word, sound and image) is shaped to present ideas and information
  • Makes connections between the depiction of different groups in texts and the context or setting of a text

Distinguishes between “open” and “closed” texts:

  • analyzes the degree to which the text may be considered “open” to multiple perspectives/ interpretations (i.e. is complex enough to allow different perspectives to emerge) and interprets how these influence the view of the world presented.
  • analyzes the degree to which the text may be considered “closed” to multiple perspectives (i.e. runs along formulaic lines that indicate its lack of complexity and make only a limited number of perspectives possible) and interprets how this influences the view of the world, e.g. in a pulp romance novel or a comic book, recognizes some elements of plot structure that are formulaic and repetitive

Justifies her/his interpretation(s) of texts on the basis of own fluency as a reader

  • Evaluates the way specific codes and conventions of a spoken/written/media text are employed to have an impact upon the assumptions, actions, values and beliefs of readers:
    • codes and conventions of a specific genre that are employed to have an impact on readers in general or on a target audience in particular
    • mode(s) of representation (sound, word and image) that influence the message(s)/meaning(s) of a text and how these reveal the intention(s) of the writer/producer(s)
    • linguistic and textual features that situate or position the reader, e.g. connotations and denotations, stereotypes and bias, aspects of characterization and setting that evoke a specific emotion or response, appeals to mainstream values and beliefs
    • issues and topics that present alternative values, beliefs, lifestyles in order to evaluate meanings for self as part of a process of interpreting a text
    • features and conventions of favourite genres and how these are used to special effect, e.g. in a mystery or a romance novel, in a magazine article
  • Interrelates characteristics of the writer/producer(s) of a text and self as a reader:
    • identifies characteristics of the writer/producer(s) of a text and applies this knowledge to determine how the text is designed to appeal to self as a reader, e.g. writer’s style, producer’s values or intent
    • recognizes the use of rhetorical strategies, e.g. use of first person to convey attitudes and feelings about an issue/topic, appeals to common beliefs or values in a culture, appeals designed to evoke a certain age group

COMPETENCY 3 Produces texts for personal and social purposes

Researching as a Writer/Producer

  • Develops topics that are personally and socially relevant:
    • draws on repertoire of texts to make inter-textual connections, e.g. a comic book featuring sports icons or own friends
    • looks at multiple perspectives on the topic, e.g. pros and cons of an argument, how different people perceive the issue
    • considers open-ended question(s) to facilitate topic development
    • broadens and/or narrows the scope of the topic
  • Researches aspects of the media and publishing industries to best produce, market and distribute their products:
    • investigates how texts are produced and under what conditions
    • examines how a text is vetted, marketed and distributed by a producer to its target audience, e.g. how a book gets published, how a trend is created
  • Respects rules related to copyright and intellectual property

Assuming Roles as a Writer/Producer

  • Adopts a stance to a topic and audience appropriate to the genre
  • Assumes a variety of roles
  • Considers who s/he represents, e.g. the beliefs and values of a company and/or an organization
  • Adopts different points of view, e.g. first person, third person omniscient, second person and third person observer
  • Experiments with active and passive voice, e.g. uses active voice to project a sense of reality or immediacy in recounting experiences
  • Explores different dimensions of a character, issue
  • Applies language conventions to establish relationships, e.g. using gestures to elicit sympathy; using statements, conditions and commands to imply control and power; tilting the camera up to show authority
  • Experiments with register:
    • adjusts register to the formality/informality of the context, e.g. uses academic language in an essay, jargon or slang in an advertisement
    • establishes the tone, e.g. uses dispassionate tone of anchor on news report, intimate tone when writing in a journal
  • Plays against audience expectations for specific effect

Characterizing an Audience

Investigates how different target audiences use and respond to particular texts:

  • identifies factors that constitute a target audience and evaluates how media texts are shaped to suit them

Analyzes characteristics of audience for own productions:

  • chooses an audience depending on context for production
  • draws on previous experience with audience
  • generalizes factors such as age, gender, cultural background, race, location, level of education
  • identifies potential barriers to communication, e.g. audiences’ level of knowledge of topic
  • considers the relative status of producer and audience, e.g. same, higher, or lower
  • analyzes the expectations of audience, e.g. the uses the audience will make of the text (for entertainment, for information, for escape), generic conventions

Public and Private Space

Conducts a genre analysis:

  • compares and contrasts texts within a social function, i.e. Why do people produce them? Who has access to these texts? Do they serve the same purpose? How do they communicate the values of a community?
  • evaluates the structures, features, codes and conventions used
  • examines how language (sound, word and image) is shaped:
    • to represent and/or exclude people, events, ideas and information
    • to organize and develop ideas
    • for special effect

Uses texts as models to guide production:

  • refers to model text(s) throughout the production process
  • creates criteria for guiding production
  • identifies specific structures and features to reproduce own interests, purpose and audience

Applying Codes and Conventions

  • Applies conventions of the genre:
    • chooses textual structures and features
    • chooses linguistic codes and conventions
  • Combines and/or manipulates codes and conventions of specific genres for special effects (multi-genre texts)
  • Combines and/or manipulates codes and conventions of different modes (multimodal texts), e.g. the PSA draws on conventions of sound, word and image. It uses music to appeal to the emotions, includes a voiceover of a well-known person to draw attention to the cause and uses images to shock or jar the audience
  • Transforms texts s/he has already produced and/or uses own texts in a new way
  • Adopts ethical standards in own productions

Production Process

Media Practices

  • Examines issues of media ownership and control
  • Manages resources, e.g. financial constraints, available technologies
  • Manages production constraints, e.g. time line, deadline, group roles and responsibilities
  • Respects legal constraints, e.g. language laws, copyright
  • Respects genre constraints, e.g. format, layout, target audience’s expectations, industry standards such as time allotment
  • Examines impact of production roles on final text, e.g. editor’s decisions

Planning and Drafting

  • Brainstorms ideas, clarifies and extends thinking by talking with peers and teacher
  • Uses strategies to work out ideas, plan and draft, e.g. concept map, free writing, storyboard
  • Develops expertise in manipulating resources
  • Makes preparations prior to production
  • Uses different available ICT in order to draft own texts, e.g. shoots video footage, takes photographs
  • Evaluates material gathered and decides on its use, e.g. reviews video footage for best shots

Reflection

  • Evaluates production process and texts produced, with group and individually
  • Develops a meta-language for talking about self as a writer/producer
  • Participates in teacher-student and peer conferences with an explicit focus:
    • discusses development of her/his writing/production profile
    • reflects on common issues/themes in own productions over time
    • discusses techniques and strategies used and decisions made to produce texts
    • talks about ways that peer/teacher feedback influences own choices
    • talks about own revision/media editing strategies
    • makes reading/production connections between texts
    • sets attainable individual and collaborative goals for future projects
  • Reflects on the differences between working collaboratively and alone:
    • examines the impact on creativity
    • considers issues of ownership
    • discusses issues of freedom

Going Public

  • Chooses most suitable ICT to present production, e.g. PPT® presentation, CD-ROM, etc.
  • Makes final adjustments before presentation
  • Presents text to intended audience