K-12 Curriculum Development, TMS Custom Resources

The TMS Media Literacy Unit Planner

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The TMS Media Literacy Unit Planner is used as a tool for the development of units of study that connect existing curriculum objectives, essential competencies of media literacy, and the Common Core State Standards. The publically available and reproducible Google Doc template has been and will continue to be, finessed and refined through planning sessions with the teachers we work with.

The Origin of the Planner

In October of 2011, I introduced the planner at, “Beyond The Screen: Incorporating Media Into Your Lesson Plan”, at the Arts Engine, Media that Matters Film Festival, a free day-long series of conversations for filmmakers, activists, and educators.  Filmmaker Julie Winkour of Talking Eyes Media, myself, and moderator (and former TMS intern!) Caitlin Nagle of Columbia Teacher’s College discussed how to develop curriculum around Winkour’s documentary film, The Leaves Keep Falling.  After introductions to each other, media literacy and a screening of the film, we pulled up a live TMS Media Literacy Unit Planner in Google Docs, and added ideas from the audience to demonstrate the process of bridging curriculum goals, traditional standards, and media literacy concepts.

After the panel, the Planner template was used throughout the 2011-12 school year during planning meetings with K-12 teachers as a way of demonstrating that new media can be meaningfully incorporated to support and add layers to existing units of study.  This is important to be able to show when there are desire and need for media literacy content, but you are competing for classroom time where teachers are facing the challenge of adapting to the Common Core.