Literacy Today

Life has thrown me a few curve balls lately, so I’m still behind in my blog posts – but this is the week for me to catch up! I’m going all the way back to what it means to be literate today and I wanted to talk about this topic from the viewpoint of the subject areas I generally teach in, which is mostly Social Studies with a little bit of ELA thrown in once in awhile.

I think that literacy in the Social Studies world means a lot of things – for example, it’s often an advantage to understand the history of something in order to fully grasp the events that are happening around us today. For example, I have spent a lot of time in my social classes this semester explaining the end of WWII and the Cold War era to help students in contextualizing the war between Russia and Ukraine. This dip into history helps them become more “literate” about current events. This brings us back to what we have been talking about in class though, because most of my students get their news consumption through headlines/videos/pictures shared on social media and I have discussed more than a few fake news items in recent weeks. On this theme, I enjoyed Patricia’s shared article, The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News, because it gives a good starting spot for navigating news shared on social media. I specifically found the three competencies of civic online reasoning helpful and easy to use with students as it encourages knowing who posted the info, evaluating the post for accuracy, and double checking what other sources say. My group worked on navigating fake news for the next week’s presentation, so I have been able to use a lot of the information that we shared there with my classes as well, especially the CIVIX News Literacy site. We specifically used the videos in the screenshot below as a jumping off point.

CIVIX News Literacy

As well as Social Studies, I occassionally teach a grade 10 ELA course. I think we commonly associate literacy with ELA and the skills of being able to read and decipher meaning from text. Some other areas that I have been working on as far as literacy in ELA is presenting diverse texts, authors, and perspectives to allow students to consider ideas outside of their own beliefs/knowledge. I have also been using ELA as a space to work on digital citizenship and media literacy this semester. I have spent some time in this class incorporating more technolgoy based activities, so we have had a few impromtu discussions on responsible posting, terms and conditions, how much time we spend online, etc. The podcast that Leah T. shared had some interesting ideas that I have addressed in ELA as well. We recently spent some time talking about emotional literacy, the power of words to persuade, and appropriate ways to share opinions.

There are many different types of literacy, but I have appreciated the perspective EC&I 832 has given me about online presence. Although we have always talked about bias and how to pick out real news in social studies, I have really upped my game and enriched my classes with discussions on media literacy and digital citizenship in a way I had not been. I have always believed it was important, but didn’t really stop to consider how closely and easily it can align with the content I am teaching.

2 Replies to “Literacy Today”

  1. Yes, I agree with your thoughts. Also, I have learned a lot from ECI832 subject. Now I feel that I am more tech savvy if I look at past. In context with fake news, I believe that whenever we find something strange which is hard to believe on social media, we start commenting or sharing that post, instead of rethinking on it. I remember that Steve Boot’s comment in the classroom that avoid participating in every post on social media. I think by ignoring the strange things we can prevent fake news from spreading

  2. Kelly Ziegler says: Reply

    I appreciate your honesty. I too feel like the road of life right now has been bumpy with construction and roadblocks. I also feel behind, so hopefully, that helps you get through it knowing that there are definitely others that are feeling the same. If you need something, please reach out! If I can help, I’d love to. Know that you are doing a good job, and whatever you can get done in a day is good enough for the day. Every day is a new day, and you can do it. Thanks for your honesty. It was something that I needed to read today.

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