Today, many of us scroll through tens or hundreds of pages of content each day. Scrolling is an activity or feature, and the pages themselves don’t seem to be worthy of much attention. Yet we are often captivated by visual media in which scrolls or papers play a large part. We’re right there with Charlie, gazing with rapt attention as he discovers the last Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: “In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES which await YOU!”
In this MediaLit Moment, your students will learn why papers and scrolls attract the attention of media audiences. They’ll learn about the media genres in which they appear and the purposes for which they are used; and they’ll learn how to capture the attention of audiences with their own scrolled message.
Have students write and read aloud a scrolled message with attention to genre, purpose and intended effect on the audience.
AHA!: When I see a scroll used on screen, it means that the words are important, and a lot of people should hear them. If I create my own, I can make audiences think I’m important and powerful, too!
Key Question #2: What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
Key Question #2 for Producers: Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity, and technology?
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.
Key Question #5 for Producers: Have I communicated my purpose effectively?
Grade Level: 5-8
Materials: DVD, computer, data projector and screen; or computer with high speed internet connection, data projector, and screen. DVD of “Star Wars” or access to opening sequence from film on YouTube. Butcher paper and markers.
Activity: Play the opening “crawl” of the movie, and briefly pause the sequence when the words fill the screen. Ask, why do you think the director of this movie decided to use this format rather than a voiceover, or a “flat” paragraph, or even just action on the screen to make it clear who was fighting whom? What does it suggest about the message that is being delivered? Direct their attention to Key Question #2. You may also want to work with one or more additional clips. Here are a few suggestions: a reading of the Declaration of Independence in which the written document figures prominently; the scene from “Amazing Grace” in which William Wilberforce unfurls a massive popular petition against slavery before Parliament; the scene from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) mentioned above; a scene from a Harry Potter movie in which a proclamation from Hogwarts or the Ministry of Magic is read aloud.
Next, ask students, what kinds of messages tend to be delivered in this format? For what kinds of purposes? Direct their attention to Key Question #5. An extremely wide variety of documents could be included on this list, from jury verdicts to messages bestowing an award.
When a substantial list has been generated, it’s time for students to demonstrate their understanding of purpose and format by producing their own scrolled messages with markers and butcher paper. Consider assigning students to teams. Do ask students to read their work aloud.
Extended Activity: If students are feeling confident in their understanding of this format, encourage them to experiment with genres, or use humor and satire. For example, students could write their personal declarations of independence.
The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework. Used with permission, © 2002-2011, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com