Using the National Film Board could not be easier now! OSAPAC has paid for the Campus license for educators, so as you get your account setup, just bypass the payment section and add in your school board and school name and you'll be good to go!

Peter Skillen and I presented a session on Media Literacy for the OTF Conference Media Violence: When Media Becomes Entertainment (Oct. 15-16, 2010)
Here is the link to the of our presentation

Critical Thinking and Elementary Media Literacy Nov. 17, 2010
You'll find the resources (movies, commercials, recording sheets) we mentioned from this session listed below.
You can listen to a recording of our Elluminate webinar for OTF here:

Critical Thinking and Secondary Media Literacy Nov. 24, 2010
OTF Website
Resource Package from the Critical Thinking Consortium
Website Ideas for Practice Assessing Credibility:

Comparing Credibility Chart - website pairs


Media Education Lab - Great resources plus the movie about Conventions of TV production

Centre for Media Literacy - Really great resource about the Key Concepts of Media Literacy, a breakdown of questions you can use to help people deconstruct media, as well as guiding questions to help teachers. 14B_CCKQPoster+5essays.pdf
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A visual organizer students can use to record when analyzing tv commercials/shows. How Do They Make Things Look So Good.doc
Lesson Media Lit gr 7/8.doc and the Smart Notebook File of the Lesson (you need Notebook Software to open this) Media Literacy Lesson Study gr8.notebook Here are the notebook slides as pdf: Media Literacy gr. 8 .pdf Great resources

Canadian Rules of Advertising:

Advertising gimmicks:

Lesson Modules
Book for some background discussion of point of view - Who is Melvin Bubble
Story of Stuff (watch the original video first - consumerism from lots of angles)
Media Questions
Best/Worst Commercials
Mark Lipton's Media Education Project
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that you can use with students:
A really good Overview of Media Education from a group of Media Organizations: Media_Education.ppt
Link to David Booth's Critical Literacy Talk on Curriculum Services Canada
A good series on Critical Literacy
Using Arthur Stories to Teach Media Literacy

Media Conventions


  • Primary Visual of Poster is Centered
  • A Unique/Eye-Catching Design
  • Large, Bold & Interesting Typography
  • Colorful and engaging

Promotional Film Material (Movie Trailers)

  • attracts the audience to watch the whole film
  • sets the genre for the film
  • creates a feel for the setting
  • suggestion of the storyline
  • introduces some of the main characters
  • draws the interest of the audience by using attention-grabbing footage
  • made up of quickly paced clips
  • slowly builds to an exciting end
  • usually contains graphics like the film title and opening dates

Television Advertisements:

  • length is short (usually 15-30 seconds)
  • fits a category (e.g., mini-drama, pitch, voice over, spokesperson presentation)
  • brand identification
  • uses television effects (e.g. sound, angles, music)
More about TV codes here

Check out this amazing Online CD filled with Teacher Resources (Ontario Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat)
Critical Media Literacy Lessons

Questions to Guide Children - Deconstruction
What is this? How is this text put together?
What do I see and hear? Smell? Touch or Taste? What do I like or dislike about this text?
What do I think and feel about this? What might other people think and feel about this?
What does this tell me about how other people like and believe? Is anything or anyone left out?
Is this trying to sell me something? Is this trying to tell me something?

5 Critical Questions for Constructing Text
What am I making? How do I put it together?
What does it look, sound, smell, feel or taste like? What do I like or dislike about this?
Who do I want to get this? What might other people think or feel about this?
What am I sharing about how people live and believe? Have I left anything out or anyone out?
What am I telling? What am I selling?

Deepening Our Students' Understanding - Expanding Questions
How might different individuals interpret this message differently?
What reasons might an individual have for being interested in this message?
How have economic decisions influenced the construction of this message?
What conventions of storytelling or symbolism are used in this message?
Whose point of view is presented?
How does this message fit in with your life experiences?

Essential Questions for Eduators:
Am I trying to tell students what the message is? Or am I giving students the skills to determine what they think the message(s) might be?
Have I let students know that I am open to accept their interpretation, as long as it is well substantiated, or have I conveyed the message that only my interpretation is the only correct view?
At the end of the lesson, are students likely to be more analytical? Or more cynical?

Faith Rogow, Ph. D)


I used these two commercials after students created a criteria "What makes a good commercial?". We were then 'hired' by Gatorade to view these two commercials and, using our criteria, decide which one they should air for their ad campaign and why.

Other commercials you can to deconstruct with adults or older students:
Dove Evolution Ad:
Dove Self-Esteem ad (used with older students and adults)

Axe - Chocolate Man (used with secondary students and adults)

Public Service Announcement : Sussex Saferoads
Embrace Life - Always Wear Your Seatbelt