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Wait, How Do I Teach Media Literacy? Becoming a Media Specialist

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Wait, How Do I Teach Media Literacy? Becoming a Media Specialist
Miriam Larson, MLS, Library Media Specialist, Kenwood Elementary School

Many of us are re-branding ourselves as media specialist. Whether we rebrand with a name or with our actions, it is important to engage with digital media if we want to meet kids where they are. Common Sense Media’s 2015 report found that kids age 8-12 “use an average of six hours of entertainment media per day.” However, many of us came to librarianship because we love books and so learning to be media specialists is a process of experimentation.

I will describe three projects that have been part of my experimentation in teaching and creating digital media in the elementary school context. The first two projects are units that aim to give kids tools to critically analyze entertainment media, specifically short animated films and TV advertisements. The third project is a student-led video-production project where students create our school’s morning announcements.

Finding space for media literacy in a busy elementary curriculum and weekly 20-30 minute library lessons is tough. But I hope librarians, or media specialists, or whatever we choose to call ourselves, can work together to make time and support each other. The rewards are more engaged students and critical thinkers who will ultimately be more prepared to be digital citizens.

Library Types:
Elementary School, Middle School, Public, School/Media Center

Subject Headings:
Children’s Services, Information Literacy, Instruction, Librarianship, Literacy, Popular Culture, Social Change, Technology, Youth Services