I am a 5th grade teacher for an urban school located in South Central Los Angeles. One of the greatest challenges of teaching inner city youth is engaging them and creating lessons that are meaningful to their lives. Due to various conditions and realities mandated by the school district, learning has become heavily dehumanized and high-stakes test centered, which becomes scripted curriculum with boring material and rote memorization.
Students are valued only in their abilities to score high on state and district tests, and they are recognized as a number rather than the individual they are. Teachers, like myself, have to go out of their way to supplement education to include creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and relative life skills. This project proposal aims at achieving student engagement and community action through the production of news media.
The project requires a digital camera, memory card, battery, and a color laser printer,toner, and accessories. Using the resources, the students will produce high quality work in the form of a school newsletter and magazine. The pictures the students will be able to take can be used in their student newsletter/media production as well as other classroom activities like their research projects, and capturing the year's memories. The color laser pinter will allow the students to create images for their projects and publications. Using the laser printer and the digital camera, the students will work towards making publications around the community and school.
This project will have students engage in critical media literacy skills as they critically analyze various forms of mass media (television, magazines, advertisements, music, etc...) in order to create media of their own. They will deconstruct newspapers, magazines, and other forms of print in order to publish their own form of periodical. Using the digital camera, color laser printer, and accompanying accessories, the students will undertake a project that will transform them from mere media consumers to producers and community participants.
Tying into the California 5th grade learning standards as well as the mandated curriculum, the students will create magazines, newsletters, and other publications that will be distributed at the school and in the community. These publications will be based on issues in the community, solutions to the issues based on research, and offer a counter-narrative to the media that over-saturates and influences the community. From this project, the students will learn foundational academic and life skills that will promote learning and production. They will become better writers and more importantly, more engaged in the writing process.
In this day and age of mass media consumption and dehumanized education in urban schools, students are required to do a lot more to be successful. This project aims to address societal and educational issues through positive media production and youth engagement. Your donation and support of this project can play an instrumental role with this class, school, and local community.
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