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By Salena Gonzales
Advanced Contemporary Literacy is a new course at NEISD where each grade level's curriculum is designed around a different focus for the year to meet the needs of students who require or desire a challenge and change of pace from the traditional reading class. In seventh grade, the focus is Media Literacy, the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms-from print to video to the Internet. Media Literacy is essential to today's adolescents because, according the the Center for Media Literacy, it "builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy." This unit is designed to introduce students to the concept of media literacy as well as the methods the course uses to allow for inquiry and self-expression, mainly through Socratic Circles and Shared Inquiry in less formal group work. The course should meet the needs of Gift and Talented students who require choice and peer interaction, which is offered in daily group work and the final assessment, where students have the option of producing a presentation that reflects on how their pastimes and hobbies exemplify their Multiple Intelligence, and how their uniqueness can contribute to a successful classroom setting. Students will have the opportunity to express who they are and in the media form of their choice. They will understand the benefits of working together and how to conduct themselves while working in groups to create understanding of topics in media that do not always have a specific answer. To lead up to the assessment piece, students will learn what to expect from the rest of the year as the daily lessons are a sampling of more in depth lessons to come.
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