Friday, August 29, 2008

Media class

I believe in media education, the same way I believe in teaching kids how to swim in order to feel safe near water.

So today we started one of our media class, I used a bugs bunny cartoon, those cartoon are great to work on.

The exercise is simple, showing the cartoon without the sound first and asking the kid to tell the story.

Then showing the cartoon and asking what he noticed, what seemed different?

Now, beside the picture what can we notice in this cartoon: sound effect, voices, music.
So we watch ones again the cartoon focusing on the voices, the tone of the voices, the intonation....

Then we watch it again focusing on the sound effects, kids usually really like that part :-)
it is also a good occasion to explain to them how those sound are made, that someone is making them. And even let them try making some.

Then we watch it again focusing on the music, joyful music? Sad? Scaring?
And explain that music is there to accentuate emotion.

What is the purpose of all that?

Make the children aware of everything involved in a cartoon, and then in any other fiction. That way their perception will be sharp and complete.

This little exercise repeated over and over will create reflexes the same way you learn how to push the brake when it is time too.
This exercise is what film student are doing in film school.

For me, media education is essential in this so visual world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Making commercial

My children did not see commercials yet but they love to make fakes ones!

But what is a commercial: it is a Television advertisement.
"The vast majority of television advertisements today consist of brief advertising spots, ranging in length from a few seconds to several minutes (as well as program-length infomercials). Advertisements of this sort have been used to sell every product imaginable over the years, from household products to goods and services, to political campaigns. The effect of television advertisements upon the viewing public has been so successful and so pervasive that it is considered impossible for a politician to wage a successful election campaign, in the United States, without use of television advertising." (

This is exactly what I explained to my 6 years old children: commercials exist to make you do what they want instead of what you want, they exist to create needs that you would never have without them. And for all that, they lie. They got it and it makes them laugh, so they love making some fake ones.

What is the idea in all that: making is taking control. Knowing, understanding what a commercial is, how it's made and for what goal, will build a kind of protection against its influence.

This is part of this media education I believe essential to give to our children today, in this world where Television has such a big part of the life of many families.