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Lesson 1

Recommended age group - 3rd and 4th grade

OBJECTIVE: The student will understand the effectiveness both positive and negative of print media.

SET: The definition of communication is a giving or exchanging of information. Let's brainstorm tools that we use to communicate.
(Have the students generate a list of the ways people communicate, newspaper, radio, tv, computers, letters, books, and magazines.)

What do you think is the affect of communicating or giving and exchanging information?
1. changes opinions
2. entertains
3. educates

Model: When commnication changes us in a positive way it is great but when it has a negative affect, then it can cause immeasurable harm. One of the most famous examples of negative results is the 50 year old 'War of the Worlds' broadcast by Orson Wells. People who turned their radios on late did not know it was fiction thought the world had come to an end. Many panicked. Some committed suicide. This is a very negative result. On the other hand, people who heard or read about the Pope coming to St. Louis, bought tickets, took off work and lived in a state of excitement until his arrival and subsequent departure. This had positive results.

Guided Practice: Fold your paper in-half. Label half, positive and the other half, negative. List as many negative and positive results of communication you can think of.

Instruction: In the history of America you will learn about how the print media used by some Americans had a very negative affect on a group of people and how using the very same media of print the people were able to fight back and make it have a positive affect.

The story:
During the 1800s when newspapers were the most important way to inform citizens about activities in America, the newspapers reporters made a silent agreement not to write anything about black people. No one wrote about the babies who were born or the people who got married or anyone who was a hero. No one told about any black person that died. So most whites simply forgot blacks were there except when there was a crime committed. Then the people were told it must have been a black person. "Everyone knows those blacks are no good". Just like the listeners of the War of the Worlds" , the listeners believed. The punishment for serious crime was death by lynching. So many blacks were lynched. Lynchings were not written about either so many blacks were lynched just because they were black and the people thought they were no good. After the Civil War, the blacks fought back.

Robert Abbott owned the Chicago Defender. He became a millionaire fighting back with the same tool that was used to hurt black people like him. He wrote about jobs and a better life in the North. Southern blacks had to sneak and get the papers. When they read them they believed and hundreds of thousands left the south and got jobs in the north.

Independent study:
Given a list of events the students will select one and write an article to persuade listeners to support the event. Students will predict the outcome of their reporting in the summary of their paper.

Lesson 2: Print Media Today

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