Digital Media Literacy Framework - Grades 7-8

Intermediate students still need continued guidance regarding Internet safety and protection of privacy, good citizenship and responsible Internet use. By this age, however, they can also assume more responsibility for the online spaces and communities they are part of: this is a good time to encourage positive social norms around sharing information and communicating online. Teens also depend on media such as TV shows, magazines and the internet to learn about topics of interest, especially subjects that are embarrassing or taboo such as sexuality, relationships and mental health issues.

Given their increasing use of the Internet to find information, now is also a good time to introduce strategies for determining authorship and authority of online information so they can recognize good health information, biased or hateful content, and online scams and hoaxes.

At this age media influences on gender norms and body image are becoming more intense. Children need to learn to apply key media literacy concepts to online spaces such as social networks.

Children this age are also starting to form more intense friendships and, in some cases, beginning romantic relationships, as well as sharing more personal content online. They need to learn to recognize the qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships and to make good choices about how they handle others’ personal information.

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A Day in the Life of the Jos
Grades: 6-8

In this licensed educational game, students help the brother and sister team Jo and Josie with situations they encounter online as they go about a typical day in their lives. The modules are represented as five days in the lives of Jo and Josie, covering topics that research has identified as being important for youth: defusing drama (cyberbullying), data privacy, privacy and reputation, privacy ethics and authenticating online information.

Behaving Ethically Online: Ethics and Values
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students consider how we come to hold values and how they affect our behaviour, especially online.

Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development
Grades: 7-12
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Students explore how sensationalism plays a role in determining what is newsworthy, and how that can distort our perception of issues in developing nations. What makes a story newsworthy? What positive results follow the natural disasters and how, where and when are those reported in the media? How do distorted perceptions of developing nations affect our attitudes and behaviours toward them?

Bias and Crime in Media
Grades: 7-12

Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media are constructions that re-present reality and consider how representations of crime in news and entertainment media may influence how we perceive members of particular groups. The concept that media communicate values and messages and have social implications is introduced and students discuss how stereotypes of particular groups are formed.

Break the Fake Lesson Plan: Verifying Information Online
Grades: 6-9

In this lesson, students participate in a workshop that teaches them four quick, easy steps to verify online information. After practicing these four steps they create a public service announcement aimed at teaching one of these steps and spreading the message that it is necessary for everyone to fact-check information we see online every time we are going to share it or act on it.

Buy Nothing Day
Grades: 7-12

Buy Nothing Day is used as a jumping-off point to look at the role of consumerism in our lives and culture. Students learn the definition of consumerism and consider its benefits and drawbacks; as well as where and how they receive consumerist messages. Students list their own recent purchases and consider how many were needed as opposed to wanted. They are then introduced to Buy Nothing Day and discuss its purpose and merits. Finally, students imagine that Buy Nothing Day is a holiday on par with Christmas and plan either a pageant or television program to celebrate the event.

Calling Out versus Calling In: Helping youth respond to casual prejudice online
Grades: 6-8
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This lesson introduces students to the idea of “calling in” – reaching out to someone privately with the assumption that they didn’t mean to do any harm – and explores how this idea can be applied both to casual prejudice online and when responding to stereotyping and other negative representations in media. Finally, students explore the different benefits of “calling out” and “calling in”, and consider when the two strategies would be most appropriate.

Celebrities and World Issues
Grades: 7-12

Students examine the role of popular culture celebrities in creating awareness of world issues, then debate whether celebrity involvement is important and positive, or whether such involvement brings too much attention to the celebrities themselves, overshadowing the central messages of a campaign, organization, program or issue.

Comic Book Characters
Grades: 5-7

Using a Comic Book Analysis sheet, students will record the attributes of male and female comic book characters. As a class, students will record common attributes on a master sheet and discuss what messages about men and women are reinforced.

Click if You Agree
Grades: 7-8
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Think you know how to read and understand privacy policies and terms of use? Learn how to make sense of legal documents for websites and apps with this interactive game. Includes a Teacher’s Guide for implementing the activity in the classroom.

Cyberbullying and Civic Participation
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students explore the concepts of rules, values and ethics and learn how they influence our decision-making, and how they can contribute to creating positive online cultures.

Cyberbullying and the Law
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students learn about and discuss the legal aspects of cyberbullying. They review a variety of hypothetical scenarios and a case study, and they consider the seriousness of the situations, who is legally responsible, what action (if any) should be taken and by whom.

Deconstructing Web Pages
Grades: 7-10
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In this lesson students apply the “5Ws of Cyberspace” to sources of information they find online. Assuming the role of a student researching a science project, students must authenticate the information in an online article about the artificial sweetener, aspartame.

Digital Media Experiences are Shaped by the Tools We Use: The Disconnection Challenge
Grades: 7-12

In this lesson, students consider the role of technology and media in their lives and then spend a week either tracking or limiting their media use. They then share their experiences and discuss how the ways that digital media tools are made may cause us to use them differently (or simply more often). Finally, students draw on those insights to create a mindful media use plan. In an optional extension activity, they interview other students for a video exploring their experiences and reflections over the course of the project.

Editing Emotions
Grades: 5-9
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In this lesson, students learn about the history of film editing and how shot composition, juxtaposition of images and the use of rhythm and repetition in film editing can affect the emotional impact of a film.

Exposing Gender Stereotypes
Grades: 8-9

In this lesson students take a look at their own assumptions about what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. Students will begin to see how believing in stereotypes can lead to violence towards oneself and others.

Finding and Authenticating Online Information on Global Development Issues 
Grades: 7-12
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In this lesson students learn strategies for using the Internet effectively to research global development issues.

Gender and Tobacco
Grades: 7-9
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Students explore gender-related influences on smoking. They discuss the numbers of male and female smokers in Canada and around the world, and the strategies used by tobacco companies to reach both men and women. In separate groups, male and female students explore and discuss the relationship between smoking, the tobacco industry, tobacco marketing, and their gender, by deconstructing and analyzing tobacco ads from magazines for men, for women, and for a general audience.

Gender Messages in Alcohol Advertising
Grades: 7-10
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In this lesson students learn to think critically about culturally inherited gender stereotypes, and explore how stereotypes about men and women are promoted and reinforced through the images and messages in alcohol ads.

Gender Stereotypes and Body Image
Grades: 6-7

This lesson makes students aware of the dangers of gender stereotyping and the media’s role in perpetuating gender stereotypes.

Getting the Toothpaste Back into the Tube: A Lesson on Online Information
Grades: 6-8
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In this lesson, students watch a short video that compares getting rid of personal information online to getting toothpaste back into a tube. After a short discussion of how visual analogies like this work, students discuss the meaning of the video (that information online is permanent.) They then read a series of short scenarios that help them identify four further principles of information online: that it can be copied, that it can be seen by unintended audiences, that it can be seen by larger audiences than intended, and that it becomes searchable

Hate 2.0
Grades: 8-10
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In this lesson students learn about the ways in which hate may be encountered online strategies for confronting online hate.

Hate or Debate?
8-10
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In this lesson students learn about the difference between legitimate debate on a political issue and arguments that are based on hate.

I heard it ‘round the Internet: Sexual health education and authenticating online information
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson students consider the use of the Internet as a research tool and learn how to use search engines more effectively. They then apply these newfound skills to investigating popular myths about sexuality and contraception.

Image Gap
Grades: 5 to 8
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This lesson helps students understand how self-image can influence lifestyle choices. Students begin by identifying those qualities they admire most in peers, and by comparing their self-image with these qualities. They learn to identify self-image “problems” and develop positive strategies for dealing with these problems.

Images of Learning
Grades: 6 to 8

This lesson begins with a class discussion about common television stereotypes that are found in the school-based television shows and films that students enjoy. Students respond to questions about television stereotypes and then write a short opinion piece about whether the teachers and students on TV influence their own attitudes about learning. In groups, students create a series outline for their own school-based television show and perform a scene from an episode.

Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online 
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson, students discuss reasons why they might be reluctant to intervene when they witness cyberbullying and identify ways that they can help without making things worse. They then use the interactive tool Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online to help them decide how to navigate scenarios relating to being a witness to bullying, and share their experiences to help them understand how important it is to think carefully before you act.

Just a joke? Helping youth respond to casual prejudice
Grades: 6-8

One of the barriers to youth pushing back against prejudice is not wanting to over-react, particularly if they feel their peers were just ‘joking around.’ Humour, however, can often be a cover for intentional bullying and prejudice. In this lesson, students analyze media representations of relational aggression, such as sarcasm and put-down humour, then consider the ways in which digital communication may make it harder to recognize irony or satire and easier to hurt someone’s feelings without knowing it. Students then consider how humour may be used to excuse prejudice and discuss ways of responding to it.

Kids, Alcohol and Advertising: Messages About Drinking
Grades: 4-8
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Students look at the different groups in our society that deliver messages to the public about drinking and consider the influence of each of these groups on the attitudes and perceptions of young people. Beginning by brainstorming words or ideas associated with the word “beer,” the class develops a mind map of people and organizations that deliver messages to us about alcohol and drinking and the different messages that each provides.

Kids, Alcohol and Advertising: Interpreting Media Messages
Grades: 4-8
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In this lesson, students investigate the importance of branding and messaging, especially as they relate to products such as beer and alcohol.

Kids, Alcohol and Advertising: Young Drinkers
Grades: 4-8
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Students learn why the alcohol industry needs replacement (new) drinkers and how it exploits the needs and desires of young people in order to foster brand loyalty.

Kids, Alcohol and Advertising: Understanding Brands
Grades: 4-8
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In this lesson, students learn about the importance of branding for developing customer loyalty and recognition of products. Through class discussion, students explore different types of brands and the ubiquitous nature of branding in North American culture. 

Know the Deal: The Value of Privacy
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that privacy is a fundamental human right and that their personal information is valuable.

Learning Gender Stereotypes
Grades: 8-9

Students deconstruct a series of advertisements based on gender representation and answer questions about gender stereotyping about articles they have read.

Looks Good Enough to Eat
Grades: 5-7
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This lesson looks at food photography and the different techniques used by food stylists to make foods look appealing in advertisements. The lesson begins with a discussion about the challenges involved in food photography and how traditional elements of photography may be combined with «food tricks» to achieve the desired effects. After reviewing some food photography «tricks of the trade,» students plan and shoot their own food advertisements.

Marketing to Teens: Alternate Ads
Grades: 8-12
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In this lesson students look at the less obvious methods used by advertisers to reach consumers: humorous, self-depreciating ads, product placement, product association with celebrities, ads promoting empowerment and affirmation and ‘advocacy’ advertising.

Marketing to Teens: Gender Roles in Advertising
Grades: 8-12
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Students explore gender roles in advertising by taking an ad campaign they have seen which is specifically directed to one gender, and redesigning the campaign to target the opposite gender.

Marketing to Teens: Gotta Have It! Designer and Brand Names
Grades: 8-12
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Students identify how we associate social status with designer and brand name products, and how we believe others perceive us by what we wear.

Marketing to Teens: Marketing Tactics
Grades: 8-12
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This activity helps teenagers develop an awareness of marketing tactics aimed at teens through the creation of their own mock advertising campaigns.

Marketing to Teens: Talking Back
Grades: 8-12
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This lesson helps teens become active consumers by encouraging them to ‘talk back’ to advertisers when they have concerns.

Media Kids
Grades: 4-7
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In this lesson, students deconstruct gender portrayal and depictions of boys and girls in the media. They begin by looking at the appearance and mannerisms of boys and girls in TV, movies, ads and comic books and identify any stereotypes that are used. In a series of group activities, students explore gender stereotypes and representation in greater depth, as well as compare these representations to their own life experiences.

Media Literacy Key Concepts Lesson 3: Audiences Negotiate Meaning
Grades: 5-8

In this lesson, students watch a video introducing the media literacy key concept that audiences negotiate meaning. They discuss the idea that different media products are aimed at different audiences and that different people may react differently to the same media product, and reflect on the experience of liking something they aren’t “supposed” to.

Media Literacy Key Concepts Lesson 4: Media Have Commercial Considerations
Grades: 5-8
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Students watch a video introducing the media literacy key concept that media have commercial implications. They then watch an ad for jeans which conceals its commercial nature, and discuss its purpose before and after being aware of its purpose. In an optional final task, students analyze an educational kids’ website created by the US National Dairy Council and identify the ways in which its different elements educate, entertain, persuade and advertise to youth.

Media Literacy Key Concepts Lesson 5: Media Have Social and Political Implications
Grades: 5-8
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In this lesson, students watch a video introducing the media literacy key concept that media have social and political implications. They discuss the idea of explicit messages in media products and then, after watching the video “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” discuss the idea that media products may have less obvious implicit messages. Students apply this analysis to another media work familiar to the class and then, in an optional final task, identify how a favourite media work has influenced them.

Mirror Image
Grades: 5-8
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In this lesson, students analyze their own body image and consider what they wish they could change. They discuss how smoking relates to body image, particularly for young women, and learn about the link between beauty and smoking.

Mixed Signals: Verifying Online Information
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson, students examine two websites about unlikely animals and learn how to effectively evaluate online sources. They then create a fake website that demonstrates the misleading signals that are often mistakenly taken as signs of reliability.

Online Marketing to Kids: Protecting Your Privacy
Grades: 6-9
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This two lesson unit on online marketing explores the various ways companies use the Internet to target young people. The first lesson introduces students to the ways in which commercial websites collect personal information from kids and to the issues surrounding children and privacy on the Internet.

Online Marketing to Kids: Strategies and Techniques
Grades: 6-9
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The second lesson in the Online Marketing to Kids unit introduces students to the online marketing techniques that are used to target children on the Internet.

Perceptions of Youth and Crime
Grades: 7-12
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In this lesson students develop an awareness of the ways in which public perceptions regarding young people have been affected by media portrayals of youth violence and youth crime.

Playing With Privacy
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students are introduced to the idea that their gaming experiences may compromise their personal information. Students consider the ways in which games may gather or solicit information about them and learn about tools which they can use to control their personal privacy, and then discuss the trade-offs between protecting their privacy and enjoying a full game experience.

Police in Media
Grades: 7-12
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This lesson helps students understand the different perceptions of the police force portrayed in the media. Students will learn about the differences between the constructed reality of media and law enforcement in real life and then create their television “cop shows” that provide a more accurate picture of policing. 

Prejudice and Body Image
Grades: 3-7
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Through class discussion and activities, students begin to recognize how the media pressure us to achieve a certain looks and how media images may lead to prejudice against those who don’t conform to their standards of attractiveness.

Privacy and Internet Life: Lesson Plan for Intermediate Classrooms
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students are made aware of online privacy issues, primarily those relating to giving out personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Promoting Ethical Behaviour Online
Grades: 7-9

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In this lesson students learn about ways to manage their privacy and reputation online by exploring their digital presence and to make good choices about sharing other people’s content online.

PushBack: Engaging in Online Activism
Grades: 7-9

This lesson explores how young people can use online media for activism on issues that matter to them. 

Put Your Best Face Forward
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson students start by discussing the phenomenon of “selfies” and serve as experts in advising the teacher on the standards by which the “best” selfies are judged. They then discuss a number of statements taken from interviews with youth that highlight issues of self-representation, body image and gender standards, and learn about “photoshopping” images.

Scapegoating and Othering
Grades: 8-10
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In this lesson students develop a deeper understanding of scapegoating and othering and how these factors may contribute to the promotion of hatred and intolerance.

Scientific Detectives
Grades: 6-8
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In this lesson, students use science and critical thinking to test the legitimacy of advertisers’ claims about their products. The lesson begins with students viewing and discussing a series of ads that make claims about their products. Students then conduct their own experiments to see if products live up to their claims.

Selling Tobacco
Grades: 7-10
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In this lesson, students explore how tobacco advertising has evolved over the past century. 

Sports Personalities in Magazine Advertising
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson students explore the relationship between athletes and advertising through a number of different activities.

Stereotyping and Bias
Grades: 5-7

This lesson helps students recognize and understand stereotyping and bias in literature and film by looking at representations of wolves.

Taking Charge of TV Violence
Grades: 5-7
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Students become aware of the types and amounts of violence in children’s programming, and how media violence influences young viewers.

Taming the Wild Wiki
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson students are introduced to Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia, and given an overview of its strengths and weaknesses as a research source. They are taught how to evaluate the reliability of a Wikipedia article and then attempt to improve an existing article.

That’s Not Cool: Healthy and Respectful Relationships Online
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson, students explore unhealthy relationship behaviours relating to digital media including: pressuring others to share private content, cyberstalking, harassment and abuse of trust.

The Anatomy of Cool
Grades: 4-7
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This lesson helps students become more aware of the media’s role in determining what, and who, are perceived as being cool. Through class discussion and activities, students explore the differences between superficial and real “coolness,” how marketers use cool to sell products, and how their own attitudes and perceptions are affected by media messages that reinforce specific messages about what coolness is.

The Girl in the Mirror
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson, students look at how gender stereotyping may discourage young women from becoming involved in politics.

The Hero Project: Authenticating Online Information
Grades: 4-8
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In this lesson students are introduced to Internet search skills through researching a personal hero. By focusing on the early parts of the research process, students learn to select well-defined topics, ask relevant research questions and select effective keywords.

The Impact of Gender Stereotypes
 Grades: 8-9
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The lesson begins with a discussion about how self-violence may be promoted by the fashion industry when men and women put their health at risk to attain impossible standards of attractiveness and thinness. Students also explore how stereotypes about masculinity can fuel male violence.

The Invisible Machine: Big Data and You
Grades: 8-10 

In this lesson, students examine a fictional social network profile to learn how online platforms collect data about their users. They then read an article that explains how platforms use this data and explores some of the issues this raises. Finally, they create a mind map of their own online data profile and reflect on how the data they post may be collected and used by others. 

The Price of Happiness
Grades: 8-12
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Students answer a brief questionnaire related to self-image, self-esteem, and advertising, and then work as groups to create and act in mock television commercials that parody advertising techniques.

Thinking About Hate
Grades: 8-10
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In this lesson students develop their critical thinking skills by learning to recognize various types of logical fallacies, including those that are used by hate mongers to spread misinformation and fuel hatred and intolerance.  

Thinking Like a Tobacco Company
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson, students learn how the tobacco industry targets the needs, wishes and desires of young people in order to sell cigarettes. Students begin by looking at the reasons why the tobacco industry needs to recruit “replacement” smokers. Then they assume the roles of marketing personnel in a tobacco company and use a 1987 youth survey conducted by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco to create their own marketing campaigns to sway various sub-groups within the youth demographic.

Tobacco Labels
Grades: 6-9
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Students debate the effectiveness of health warning labels on tobacco products. They begin by looking at different warning labels from around the world, and then focus specifically on Canada’s new visual warning labels. Students discuss the elements of effective warning labels, and look at the difficulties of reaching young people with health messages.

Understanding Cyberbullying : Virtual vs. Physical Worlds
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students explore the verbal and visual cues that we rely on to understand how other people are feeling. They then consider the differences between online and offline communication and discuss how these differences may make it difficult to understand the effect our words and actions have on others online.

Unpacking Privilege
Grades: 7-12
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Students are introduced to the idea of “privilege” in relation to diversity and how it applies to media. They then look at a checklist of media related privileges to help them understand the concept.

Up, Up and Away!
Grades: 7-8
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In this lesson students encounter the key concepts of intellectual property, learning the difference between copyright and trademark and coming to understand how these affect how media products are created and sold.

Video Games
Grades: 7-9
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In this lesson students are introduced to the ways video games may impact their mental and physical health.

Violence in Sports
Grades: 3-7
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The lesson begins with a class discussion about the sports that students participate in, and the rules and consequences that relate to unsporting behaviour. Students then discuss how professional athletes conduct themselves in TV sporting events, and whether the same consequences seem to apply.

Watching the Elections
Grades: 8-12
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Students look at how elections are media events, then compare American and Canadian elections to other mass media events and then watch one or both debates with an eye to analyzing them as media constructs. Students will then study advertising techniques frequently used in political ads, then watch American and Canadian campaign ads from past years.

Where’s The Line?
Grades: 6-8
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This lesson promotes safe and informed online behaviour through encouraging youth to make safe, ethical and knowledge-based decisions online and helping youth to identify strategies and supports that are available to assist them with issues they may encounter online.

Who Knows? Your Privacy in the Information Age
Grades: 8-10
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In this lesson students explore issues relating to privacy through a series of activities, surveys and quizzes.

Winning the Cyber Security Game
Grades: 5-8
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In this lesson students discuss their online experiences and learn how to minimize the potential risks that may be associated with them.

Writing a Newspaper Article
Grades: 6-9
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The lesson begins with a discussion about freedom of speech and the important role it plays in journalism. Next, students will learn how to create news articles by developing ‘lead paragraphs’ and by using the ‘inverted pyramid’ model. Once this is done, they will be given time during class to select topics, conduct research, write their articles and proof read and peer edit their own and other’s works.