Media literacy role play scenario

If you always do what you've always done,
then you'll always get what you've always got!

Teaching literacy with a media centered or phonics centered approach


You are a first year teacher and glad you are finally going to have a classroom and be with young children. It is the fullfillment of your life's dream. Since you were hired in the spring things have changed considerably. The principal who hired you has moved on and the curriculum is being replaced by new scripted curriculums. However, the materials haven't arrived. The principal told the faculty that the old phonics materials were still in the store room, and they could start with them or they could do whatever, until the new program arrives. However the principal insists everyone will use the new program without deviation when it arrives.

You are left to plan lessons as you see fit.

At first, you were going to start with the phonics program.

However, before you did, you did a getting to know you activity with the students and found out their interests.

Then you interviewed and talked to the class and found there were many nonreaders, and they had very low abillities across all domains of reading and writing.

The only academic thing they got excited about, while you were interviewing them and everyone was getting to know each other, was a recently released movie.

You find it strange so many of these children have never been read to, but virtually all of them have seen this movie. You decide to get a copy and create an interdisciplinary unit of study based on the movie.

You know you could start with language arts activities, using the video as a spring board to media and literture literacy.

You begin to brain storm ideas such as: Show the movie for a collective experience as a learning community. Immediately process whatever they want to discuss and you will note their comments in writing. After which you hope to have a nice collection of ideas to use for activities like:



You are concerned the students will not be able to achieve as this new teacher expects. You think it is a mistake to expect these students to be able to perform without a lot of guidance since they are at such a low level and they need the basic skills that phonics will provide to get them up to grade level before they could attempt something like this.

Discuss & role play a conference between the teacher and principle based on the information in this scenario. Feel free to add additional supporting information.



Home - Literacy, literature, media, & language arts


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: & ]