Lesson 3: Applying the Media Literacy Education Decoding Process into Full-Length Lessons

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Learning Objectives

  • Learners will be able to identify all the major components that are needed to create full-length media literacy education lesson
  • Learners will be able to apply the decoding process to full-length media literacy education lessons
  • Learners will be able to create full-length media literacy lessons


Social studies is usually taught chronologically therefore students need the proper prerequisites before learning a topic. For instance, you probably would not teach World War I without covering the causes of the war. To deepen understanding of the topic, students need to learn why the war happened. Before selecting a media document for your students to decode for deep understanding, you must make sure that students have the appropriate prior knowledge. Here is an example scenario:

You want students to decode this following painting of the Trail of Tears. Students need to thoroughly understand that Andrew Jackson nixed Thomas Jefferson's previous policy of respecting the rights of the Native Americans. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 took effect after the Senate and House of Representatives passed the act and Andrew Jackson signed it. The prerequisites will give students understanding of the context of the media document. The decoding will be more meaningful and relevant to students.

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Vocabulary and Background Information

This is rather obvious, but before leading a decoding session, students must have knowledge of the necessary vocabulary to limit confusion. It is likely that much of the vocabulary will that will be used for a lesson has already been taught beforehand, but it is a good idea to review it right before the decoding process takes place.

Another aspect to include is giving students background information on the media document(s). This can be done by a variety of methods, such as the lecturing and note-taking combination or a reading. It will setup the decoding process nicely. In many cases, background information will be known due to prerequisite knowledge, but it is a good idea to freshen students' minds. You will see how this fits into lessons when you analyze the full-lengthy media literacy education lessons that I will provide.

Media Literacy Education Lesson Examples

Below is a media literacy education full-length lesson created by myself, as well as several lesson plans from other educators. You can download any lesson plan you choose, but you must register on the Project Look Sharp website. It is free of charge and you will be able to download multiple media literacy lesson plans.

Keep in mind, there is no rule that states you must choose one media document for your students to decode. You can use one media document like I did in Lesson 2: The Media Literacy Education Decoding Process or you can use multiple media documents as I did below, as well as how many teachers did on the Project Look Sharp website. If you only choose one, your students will be able to decode them more thoroughly. Then again, more breadth in certain topics may be better-suited therefore multiple media documents should chosen.


In this activity you will take the use the media document and NAMLE questions you have chosen in the previous lesson and apply it to a full-length lesson. Make sure to include the following in your lesson plan:

  • The lesson title
  • Lesson overview
  • Curriculum area and grade level
  • Time needed
  • Learning objectives
  • Vocabulary
  • Prerequisites
  • Material and technology
  • Step-by-step procedures of the lesson
  • Media documents for decoding and NAMLE questions you plan to ask
  • How you are going to assess student understanding
  • Extensions for further inquiry (optional)

Lesson Wrap-up

You have successfully applied your media decoding sequence into a full-length media literacy education lesson. Now it is time to create a full-length media literacy education lesson.

Proceed to Assessment: Create a Full-Length Media Literacy Education Lessons


"List of Project Look Sharp Curriculum Kits". ithica.edu. Project Look Sharp. December 10, 2013

Rogow, Faith & Scheibe, Cyndy (2012). "A Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World." Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin, a Sage Company