The Fourth R team has developed free lesson plans on Critical Media Literacy for all elementary and secondary students and parents, and on Representations of Youth in Media for youth ages 13-16.

Critical Media Literacy

Critical media literacy involves the active analysis and critique of media content and is an important part of the Ontario policy curriculum for student literacy. Students taught to approach media from a critical perspective understand that all media are constructions and that they are not neutral. Media literate students are able to question the media they consume – they ask questions about the author’s intent, the images used, how content represents diverse populations and relationships, and what effects those elements may have on themselves and those around them. 

Lesson plans are available for students in JK to Grade 12. All lessons were developed by teachers for teachers. They are easy for teachers to use, clearly connected to existing curriculum expectations, and are designed to enhance the critical media literacy skills of students. A parent brochure is also included, which helps parents understand the risks and benefits of media consumption. 

This project was made possible by financial assistance from the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation, Ontario Principals Council, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, and Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

Elementary Unit Topics:

JK-Grade 1

Grades 2-3

Grades 4-6

Grades 7-8

Secondary Unit Topics:

Canadian Politics and Citizenship (CPC 3O)

Leadership and Peer Support (GPP 3O)

Media Studies (EMS 3O)

Literacy (CSC 4C)

English (ENG 1P)

English (ENG 2P)

English (ENG 3C)

English (ENG 4C)

Parent Resources:

Parent Brochure

Representations of Youth in Media

This mini-unit, which examines how youth are represented in the media, includes three lessons designed for youth ages 13-16. Each lesson is approximately 75 minutes in length.

In the first lesson, students explore how media is constructed with a focus on violence in popular media. Youth also critically assess celebrities as role models. In the second lesson, youth review how media promotes unrealistic images, expectations, and stereotypes about youth and they discuss the representation of, and expectations these representations create, about males and females. In the third lesson, students examine how these expectations and stereotypes permeate their digital lives, with a particular focus on how social networking and digital media are vehicles for youth to construct their identities. Healthy and unhealthy digital relationships are discussed and youth will set boundaries and limits for media and technology. 

These lesson plans were developed for the Canadian Women’s Foundation

Click here to download the lessons.

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