Why Critical Media Literacy Should Be Taught in Schools

Kang, Adrieana


Summary: Douglas Kellner and Jeff Share talk about their book on incorporating critical media literacy in education. The book provides a scholarly presentation of media literacy theory, practice, origins, frameworks, and applications. Critical media literacy prepares students to think deeply and analyze information through emerging forms of media. 

Opinion: I think critical media literacy is extremely important in today’s world. So much information online is share quickly and without edit, thus we need better skills today to analyze the information we find online. I think these type of skills can go as far as helping teenagers who are struggling with confidence because they see highly edited Photoshop images of people on Instagram and in advertisements.

Harmon, J. (June 4, 2019). Why critical media literacy should be taught in schools. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-critical-media-literacy-taught-schools.html

Understanding Genius Hour

Smith, Chloe


Krebs, D. & Zvi G. (2016). The genius hour guidebook. New York: Routeledge.

Summary: This book is focused on Genius Hour, a program in which a teacher sets aside a set amount of time each week for students to pursue independent and self-directed projects. It is by two teachers, one an elementary school teacher in private and public settings and one a faculty member in a teacher training program, who met online and began collaborating and sharing resources as part of their Personal Learning Networks (PLN). It is very much a product of an online community, with lots of pointers for readers to check out resources like TED talks and to share experiences with each other via Twitter and other social media platforms. In essence, the book does just what is says on the cover–it explains what Genius Hour is, and it gives pointers and suggestions for how an educator can make it work in their classrooms. It includes guidelines for introducing the concept, scaffolding the development of students’ independent inquiry, and helping them reflect and self-assess. It also includes appendixes with FAQs, more resources and lesson plans, and a reading list.

Evaluation: I really liked the practical and detailed scaffolding that this book provided. I could definitely see depending on it if I was rolling out Genius Hour in my own classroom or library space. I wonder, however, if a print book was the best format for this document–there are so many online works cited that it seems like this would have worked better as a website other format where the references could be linked.

Here’s Why Teachers Adopt New Tech — And Why They Don’t

Gilpin, Julianna


Carlson, T. Here’s why teachers adopt new tech — and why they don’t. (2019, May 29). EdSurge Inc. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-05-29-here-s-why-teachers-adopt-new-tech-and-why-they-don-t?utm_source=EdSurgeInnovate&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=06-05-19&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWWpJd01qZ3hZekF6TVdVMiIsInQiOiIxUjNiS2dKYkNlSU9udFM2aFB5MUkwQWJzMTNObERnUHFxNER2ekJPVmMwV2x1K2hObDFcL3RGNWNaUW1rekF4Q0NRRjJ1eHIwZFBFT0paN1FvNHc2WlRKUVMwQXlPTGhod2RlOEhxU2lRRUNBcE13TW5EYnRcL3pjV2gwU3l0eGdtIn0%3D

In this article, Teagan Carlson recounts her struggle to implement every new piece of technology presented to her during 14 years of teaching (not piece by piece, but rather a reflection on the experience). She explains that there are several reasons teachers choose to ignore new technology, including concerns about what they will get back from this technology, what it will cost them, and how seamlessly it will be implemented in the classroom.

Evaluation: This is a primary account from a teacher and so it is not considered a scholarly article, nor is it based on research. However, based on my experience as a teacher, it rings true and is important to be aware of as media specialists at our schools.

11 Ways to Make an Inquiry-Based Classroom

Gilpin, Julianna


Murray, J. 11 ways to make an inquiry-based classroom. (2019). K-12 Teacher’s Alliance. Retrieved from https://www.teachhub.com/11-ways-make-inquiry-based-classroom

This article describes 11 different strategies teachers (or teacher librarians in our case) can use in the classroom, during lessons in order to ensure an inquiry-based classroom. These strategies include encouraging questions, learning with the students, publishing students’ work, and reflecting on the learning experience.

Evaluation: I think this is a helpful article because it give specific examples of things that can be done immediately in the classroom in order to bring inquiry learning to your students.

The Evolution of a Librarian

Gilpin, Julianna


Sibley, M. [TEDx Talks]. (2016, June 14). The Evolution of a Librarian [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omsggt8M8Us

Summary: In this video, Melanie Sibley describes the changes that have occurred in the library after various new innovations and expectations have come to be used. She describes her role as the librarian at the school and how she has adapted her strategies to meet the needs of the students she teaches.

Evaluation: This is an interesting video to watch as a future teacher librarian. It give some perspective into the processes and strategies a successful librarian utilizes, while describing the role she plays within the school.

Ways to Encourage Student Collaboration

Joffe, Stephany


Three Ways to Encourage Collaboration. (2019). The Teaching Channel, Retrieved from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/video/encourage-student-collaboration

Summary: In this short video from The Teaching Channel, there are three examples of ways to encourage collaboration with students in the younger grades. Individual Think Time allows students time to think and reason before they discuss with a partner and group. Turn and Talk Partners provides partner discussion.  This teacher pairs students ahead of time making decisions based on talkative/quiet, English/ELL, behavior/non-behavior. The third teacher in the video shows that when students work in group, there needs to be flexibility in changing groups. The dynamics of a group and/or partnership can change depending on the students and content area. As a teacher, remain flexible and open-minded with regards to group formation and changing groups of students. 

Evaluation: This video is a great example of student collaboration and concrete ways to try different forms of collaboration with the younger students.

Inquiry Based Teaching

Joffe, Stephany


Inquiry Based Teaching: The Inquiry Approach. (2019). The Teaching Channel, Retrieved from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/video/reasons-for-inquiry-based-teaching

Summary: This 3 minute video from The Teaching Channel covers teacher collaboration, student inquiry, and student’s voice. A group of high school teachers discuss the inquiry model and diversity of students. Then, the video illustrated student inquiry, collaboration and student’s voice where the students are discussing Lincoln.

Evaluation: This is an excellent video example of what can be accomplished with teacher collaboration, student collaboration and the inquiry model.

Self-assessment on Visual Literacy

Mitzel, Stacey


How Visually Literate Are You? (n.d.). Retrieved June, 2019, from http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=NTQzNzgx

Summary: This fun self-assessment is a great hook for use in a classroom or professionals to begin a conversation on why being visually literate is important or whether people are even aware of all of the images that they see on a daily basis. Each question has 4 multiple choice options to select from; most importantly, after the correct answer is revealed, the explanation for the answer provides more depth that could lead to discussion.

Evaluation: While this self-assessment is fun, it definitely does not provide detailed instruction or subject knowledge of visual literacy.

Curriculum Development Models

Shin, Kyle


Stutt, A. (2018, October 25). Curriculum development and the 3 Models explained. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://tophat.com/blog/curriculum-development-models-design/

Summary: The blog post provides definitions of and relevant to curriculum development. The post describes in some detail two important elements: curriculum planning and design. The post does this by going into some detail about the different types of curriculum design models (subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered) and curriculum development models.

Evaluation: The blog post is a wonderful introduction for any educational newcomer who is curious about what curriculum is and how it is developed. There is enough information provided by Stutt to help readers be able to get a basic understanding of curriculum and to spark inquiries into relevant topics. For individuals who know some more about curriculum development, the post still holds some merit since the article does provide some insight into the values and limitations of each model. It also does serve the purpose of being a quick refresher for more experienced individuals in terms of helping them fine-tune their curriculum for their classes and identify any shortcomings in their own teaching philosophy.

The Impact of Collaborating

Ford, Jennifer


McNee, D., & Radmer, E. (2017). Librarians and Learning: The Impact of Collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/ELQ/0401-aug2017/ELQ0401Librarians.pdf

Summary: This article highlights the advantages of working with the librarian as co-teacher. A teacher librarian outlines her experience of working with a classroom teacher to co-teach a unit in a middle school. She discusses the challenges presented, as well as the benefits to both teachers and students. The article also highlights some strategies to use when beginning a co-teacher partnership.

Evaluation: I found this article to be very useful, as I will be embarking upon my first teacher librarian position this fall in my elementary school. I have been a classroom teacher there for the past five years, and a teacher in other schools five years before that. I believe this experience has really helped me to understand the classroom teacher’s perspective well, but this article was very helpful in viewing the position of the teacher librarian.