It’s possible that being on Mackinac Island Monday; working at our babysitting co-op Wednesday then having lots of fun at my mother’s group annual banquet that night; dropping by the Maranda Park Party then hopping on a trolley to the Zoo, Douglas J and the Children’s Museum for the Mane Event Thursday (oh, and attending a Great Start Parent Coalition Meeting that night); jumping on a hay-ride wagon to pick strawberries Friday; and to the library, Schuler Books Story Time, and Baker Bookhouse to sign up for their summer program this morning then bowling in the afternoon has gotten to me, but in between all of those activities I have been – asleep.
I am drinking my usual caffeine ration of about 5 gallons a day, but I just can’t stay awake. Concerned, I tried to Web MD myself but came up with an unlikely diagnosis of malaria. I think I’m just whipped. What a drag it is getting old!
I do have one thing I can manage to write about before I fall asleep again. Thursday night’s coalition meeting included a presenter that really got to me. Jeff Smith from the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy (GRIID) talked with us about using media effectively.
Now, it’s no secret that I loathe advertising to children, and that I make efforts to control the amount of commercialsthey see. I fancied myself quite aware of the effects of television on children prior to this presentation. I also had heard of GRIID but thought they were a little, well, wacky.
I was wrong on both counts. First, Jeff put up a screen with the alphabet. Each letter was taken from a product. For example, A was the A from All detergent. O was from Oreo. There were few letters that we all didn’t know, even out of context with the rest of the word. Then he put up Bush’s cabinet. Apart from Condi Rice, we were at a total loss to identify the rest of them. You can look at the slides from the exercise here. I didn’t realize what a politically uninformed, marketing sucker I was.
There is no way that I could pack all of the information (and resulting shock value) provided during that presentation into one post. The big message is that we need to learn, and teach our children, media literacy. His example was that we don’t just throw a book at a kid and say “read it” when teaching them how to read. We model it; break it down for them, and spend time with them. We need to do that with all forms of media and not just books. Jeff provided five key strategies for Media Education you can look here.
I hope you’ll take a minute to look over these materials and the GRIID website for more info. My first step towards teaching my children included buying the book, “The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble With Commercials” in which Brother and Sister bear learn that the claims made on commercials are not always true. I have a feeling this issue will come up again on Big Binder; but I’m too tired for any more right now…