Language 1-8

The 2006 Ontario Language Curriculum Media Literacy is now a full area of study. The focus of the Media Literacy strand is to foster critical thinking as it applies to media products and messages.The 2006 Ontario Language Curriculum Media Literacy is now a full area of study. The focus of the Media Literacy strand is to foster critical thinking as it applies to media products and messages. The curriculum document outlines expectations for Ontario students in Grades 1-8:

Media literacy explores the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture by examining texts such as films, songs, video games, action figures, advertisements, CD covers, clothing, billboards, television shows, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and websites.

The Media Literacy strand has four overall expectations, as follows;

Students will:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts;
  2. identify some media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning;
  3. create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques;
  4. reflect on and identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful in understanding and creating media texts.

This strand focuses on helping students develop the skills required to understand, create, and critically interpret media texts. It examines how images (both moving and still), sound, and words are used, independently and in combination, to create meaning. It explores the use and significance of particular conventions and techniques in the media and considers the roles of the viewer and the producer in constructing meaning in media texts. Students apply the knowledge and skills gained through analysis of media texts as they create their own texts.

The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8 Language, 2006.
Ontario Ministry of Education and Training

The 2006 curriculum goes on to discuss media literacy as it applies to primary, junior, and intermediate students. In the overview of Grades 1 to 3 the curriculum document observes, most of what primary students know about language comes from listening and speaking with others, being read to by adults, and interacting with media texts such as advertisements, television programs, video games, songs, photographs, and films.

For junior students (Grades 4-6) the curriculum document states that students should have access to, “media texts such as movie trailers, graphic designs for various products, newspaper or magazine articles, video games, comic books, flyers, posters, websites, and e-mails provide a variety of sources to motivate and engage diverse groups of students.” Regarding intermediate students (Grades 7-8) the curriculum has expectations that students, “critically analyse and evaluate perspectives in texts and the influence of media on their lives; and to write about and discuss topics of relevance that matter in their daily lives”. Further, the curriculum overview of Grades 7 and 8 liststexts teachers should incorporate into their classrooms including, “media texts such as magazines, online zines, websites, blogs, public-service announcements, comedy shows, video games, and newspapers.”

Media literacy represents a new and exciting area of study for Ontario students. On the sidebar you will find outcome charts containing media-related learning expectations from the Language curriculum, with links to supporting resources on the MediaSmarts site. As many of our lessons can be adapted to suit different grade levels and abilities, specific lessons may be listed for more than one grade. Teachers should also note that individual lessons often satisfy a number of expectations.