Today's lesson for both steps 5 and 6 focused on stereotypes. With step 6 I caught them up by introducing stereotypes, giving examples, and doing the balloon activity with them, and the proceeded on to the second day's stereotypes lesson. With both 5 and 6 we viewed clips from the movies "Finding Forrester" and "Bowling for Columbine." In the Finding Forrester clip a young man basketball player is pigeon--holed by his professor who says "maybe your skills do extend a BIT farther than basketball," at which time Jamal corrects him saying it should be "further." The two challenge each other with the student clearly showing up the teacher and the teacher then making him leave the class. This gets to how stereotypes can be harmful. The second few clips were from Bowling for Columbine. The first one "A Short History of the United States" cartoon was engaging for the students and funny. It showed how racial tensions have built in our history and how it contributes to violence. We watched 2 more scenes where Michael Moore examines how the media fixates on black and Latino criminals and demonizes them, trying to create a culture of fear.
With step 5 I also used to illustrative examples. The first was two pictures after Hurricane Katrina where two individuals were taking food from a store for their familes. The picture of the white couple said they "found" food for their family, while the black man was said to be "looting" a store. The second example was about Elizabeth Smart and Alexis Petterson, one a young white girl and the other a young black girl, kidnapped on the same day. The article I passed out reviewed the way the media covered them, and if the racism played a role in the massive national news coverage of Elizabeth and not Alexis. Both of these examples I thought clearly helped the students comprehend media stereotypes.
In step four this morning we evaluated a local news source, the website for Fox 5 DC. This kind of source is more like ones they use, so we went back through yesterday's evaluating a news source worksheet with them. It has been VERY difficult to get through this concept with this class as they need very direct assistance to work through the questions. They are not able to work well on their own even with much prompting, so they need very specific tasks. I tried to do this by asking them to spot two articles on the site that they would read if they were at home, and asked if the site interested them at all. I also asked them what KIND of news this site offered that they normally would not access. What I really want them to get is to be ABLE to navigate a news website and find information that they need or want. I also want them to be thinking critically about what kind of news they are taking in and what the bias might be.
Tomorrow we will start media ownership with steps 5 and 6.