Media Literacy: Communication in the Digital Age

Course Title: 
English 12
Course Description: 

Grade 12 English Course Syllabus: Media Literacy: Communication in the Digital Age
Mrs. Jean A. Bomeisl
Contact information
• Phone: 520-209-8300 extension 8464
• Email for parents & guardians:
• Email for student work: OR

This course emphasizes the literacy skills required to navigate a rapidly changing media environment: to make meaning from numerous, often-disparate sources; to communicate with new or recent technologies (for example: blog, podcast, video, multimedia); and to read, analyze, and write non print and print texts (advertisements, editorials, and documentaries as well as traditional literature and nonfiction). Students will also explore the social and political implications of various media genres: how they can shape notions of reality, perpetuate or alter stereotypes, and reinforce or undermine cultural barriers. In this course, students are expected to think critically about arguments, synthesize ideas from various texts (electronic, print, and non print), write with an effective style and voice, conduct rhetorical analysis, undertake independent research, and persuade via various forms of media. Students will earn the honor distinction if he/she meets honor level learning goals on assignments.

Essential Concepts: A media literate person analyzes a variety of media genres through the construction (writing) and intent (reading) of the rhetoric.
Key Concepts and applicable ELA 12 Standards:
• All media messages are “constructed”. (ELA 12 Standards: Strategies to Guide and Monitor Comprehension; Main Idea and Supporting Details; Functional Writing)
• Each medium has different characteristics, strengths, and a unique "language" of construction. (ELA 12 Standard: Writing Process; Writing Style; Textual Relationships; Text Structures, Elements & Techniques; Language Conventions; Functional Writing)
• Different people interpret the same media message in different ways. (ELA 12 Standard: Author’s Approach; Main Idea and Supporting Details; Persuasive/Expository Writing – rhetorical analysis)
• Media messages are produced for particular purposes, including profit, persuasion, education, and artistic expression. (ELA 12 Standard: Expository/Persuasive Writing; Author’s Approach; Research; Interactive Communication: Visual and Written Applications, Interactive Communication: Speaking and Listening)
• Media have embedded values and points of view. (ELA 12 Standard: Expository/Persuasive Writing; Author’s Approach; Main Idea & Supporting Detail)
Questions about Any Media: (As seen through the Rhetorical Triangle: Author, Audience, Purpose)
1. Authorship: Who made - and who sponsored - this message, and for what purpose?
2. Audience: Who is the target audience, and how is the message specifically tailored to them?
3. Format: What are the different techniques used to inform, persuade, entertain, and attract attention?
4. Content: What messages are communicated (and/or implied) about certain people, places, events, behaviors, lifestyles, etc.?
5. Purpose: Why is this message being sent? What is the author trying to make the audience believe? What might have been left out?

Research Project: The students will begin research for a yearlong project. The project will require that the students identify a need or problem in society (IE: global warming, water shortages, alternative fuels, animal experimentation/cruelty, domestic violence, education). The students will then create various media throughout the year as part of a Public Relations campaign in order to persuade or argue for a change in policy or cultural attitude regarding that topic.

Writing Projects:

• Print ads
• Newspaper Articles
• Editorials
• Photo Essay
• Persuasive Speech
• Podcast
• Media PowerPoint Presentations
• Documentary Scripts
• Film Analysis
• Rhetorical Analysis of various media

Readings: Students will read:

• Kosinski, Jerzy. Being There. New York: Grove Press, 1999. Print.
• Being There Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski and Robert C. Jones, January 10, 1979.
• Folkerts, Jean, Stephen Lacy, and Ann Larabee. The Media in Your Life: An Introduction to Mass Communication (4th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2007.
• Stovall, James G.. Writing for the Mass Media (7th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2008.
• Triumph of the Will: A Film by Leni Riefenstahl Screenplay
• "1984 by George Orwell. Search, Read, Study, Discuss." The Literature Network: Online classic literature, poems, and quotes. Essays & Summaries. N.p., n.d. Web.
• "Long Beach Reads One Book - Fahrenheit 451 - OnLine E-Book." Center for Educational Technology and learning. N.p., n.d. Web.
• non fiction texts pertaining to media. (See Internet articles below).
Internet Articles:
McGinn, Daniel. "Guilt Free TV | Newsweek Culture |" Newsweek - National News, World News, Health, Technology, Entertainment and more... | 12 Mar. 2009
Springen, Karen. "Why We Tuned Out | Newsweek Culture |" Newsweek - National News, World News, Health, Technology, Entertainment and more... | 12 Mar. 2009
‘Pellegrino, Evan. "Study: Educational TV for kids often lacking." Tucson Region. 14 Nov. 2008. 1 Feb. 2009
"Lots of TV during teens linked to depression in young adulthood." MEDICAL NEWS | Medical Condition News. 4 Feb. 2009
"Too Much TV Linked To Future Fast-food Intake." Science Daily. 1 Feb. 2009. 1 Feb. 2009
Lotus, Jean. "It's Official: TV Linked to Attention Deficit." 1 Feb. 2009
Elias, Marilyn. " - Short attention span linked to TV." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - 4 Feb. 2009
Sprinkle, Nicole. "The Truth About TV & ADHD." ADDitude. 1 Feb. 2009

Some of the Films:

• Who Killed the Electric Car?
• Bowling for Columbine
• Sicko
• Outfoxed
• Supersize Me
• The Devil’s Playground
• Born into Brothels
• Network
• All the President’s Men
• Shattered Glass
• Being There
• The Truman Show

Some of the Television Shows reflecting Family & Media:

• Ozzie & Harriet
• Andy Griffith
• Dick Van Dyke
• All in the Family
• Roseanne
• Family Guy and/or The Simpson

Units of Study
• Unit 1: History of Media, Media Awareness, and Research Project
• Unit 2: Public Relations: Advertising and Propaganda
• Unit 3: Journalism & Print: Books, Newspapers and Magazines
• Unit 4: Broadcast Media: Music, Radio, Television and Film
• Unit 5: Learning Rhetoric Through Documentary Film
• Unit 6: Media & Culture

Outside Learning Experience: During Spring Break, students are invited to join the Media Production and Theater classes on a field trip to Los Angeles. This 3-day trip usually includes a live theater show (IE: Wicked), Universal Studios, MGM studios, Sony Studios, visiting a PBS television station, and attending a television taping among other activities. In addition, students are given the opportunity to meet and speak with professionals in the film and television industry such as editors, writers, production assistants, art directors, etc.

• The following CFSD Standards and Benchmarks will be assessed using CFHS 4 Point Rubrics:
o Strategies to Guide and Monitor Comprehension
o Main Idea and Supporting Details
o Textual Relationships
o Author’s Approach
o Text Structures, Elements, and Techniques
o Research
o Writing Process
o Writing Style
o Language Conventions
o Functional Writing
o Expository/Persuasive Writing
o Interactive Communication: Visual and Writing Applications
o Interactive Communication: Speaking and Listening Applications
• 3.5-4=Honors A; 3=Standard A; 2.5=B; 2.0=C; 0-1.5=F
• Students who receive 3.5 and 4 consistently will automatically be considered honors candidacy.

Assignments are due on the due date; markdowns will be given for late work. If a student has circumstances that are affecting performance, please see me to discuss the possibility of alternate due dates or alternate assignments. I will sometimes offer an alternative due to a student’s ability, learning style, or situation at my discretion.
If a student fails a project/assignment, additional project/assignments may be assigned at the discretion of the teacher in order to demonstrate competency. The original project grade will stand, and the additional assignment will be averaged in. A student may not decide to skip a project and ask for a different one instead. It is MUCH easier to complete the work assigned than to take on additional tasks.

School Information: 
Catalina Foothills
4300 E Sunrise Dr
Zip code: 
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Does not meet ABOR English Competency Requirements