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IMGALTTAG Volume V: Pittsburgh's Mass Media


Pittsburgh News: Then and Now
By Doris Braun
Mifflin Elementary School

The main purpose of this unit is to introduce fourth graders to the format of a newspaper and the process of publishing one. In my particular case, the fourth grade Social Studies curriculum works very well. The text, Pennsylvania, published by Scott Foresman, traces the history of Pennsylvania and the teacher’s guide actually suggests that the students publish newspapers for each time period. The text begins in the 1500s when the Indians occupied the territory and continues up to the twenty-first century when the paper would most likely have an online version. After a visit to the Tribune Review, each student will write a personal narrative that he/she will then change into a newspaper article. He/she will also research an event and person germane to his/her time period. He/she will write an editorial that could serve as a persuasive essay for portfolio purposes. In addition he/she will create an advertisement and an article that would reflect some facet of the daily life of his/her time period. This unit will help the students to meet their portfolio requirements, their twenty-five book requirements, and the Pennsylvania standards.


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Studying the First Amendment/Exploring Truth in Journalism
Christine Casey
Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

This curriculum unit is designed for students to recognize the importance of a free press as a watchdog for our society. Students will study the role of the First Amendment in protecting their right to a free press. By analyzing case studies that portray challenges to the First Amendment, students will come to understand the necessity of protecting the free press in a society where it often comes under attack


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Mass Media Madness
Cheree Charmello
Pittsburgh Gifted Center

Mass Media Madness is both a non-fiction and creative-writing communications course that has underlying career-awareness roots. Divided into three sections, this course broadly covers the real-world use of print, visual, audio, and historical elements of mass media through the exploration of changes in mass media over time and writing projects. The course curriculum incorporates reading, writing, listening and speaking, analyzing events and trends in history, and the use of modern technology.


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The Internet as a Mass Media Tool
Ellen Connelly
Mifflin Elementary School

This curriculum unit is designed for middle school students and is specifically targeted for pupils in sixth grade Communications. In order to help students learn about the Internet as a mass media tool, the unit offers three interconnected areas of study. The first area presents a history of the Internet. Next is an overview of the many different uses for the Internet. Finally, students explore the use of the Internet as a research tool. The unit includes a number of activities that are designed to stimulate students’ thinking about the Internet, its uses, and how it affects their everyday lives.


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News You Can Use
Christian Ferrari
Mifflin Elementary School

The main goal of this unit is to allow students to explore and discover news topics of interest. The curriculum unit I have chosen to write is designed for students at an elementary level, third through fifth grades. This unit could be adapted for any grade level. This curriculum makes use of the KDKA website to involve students in the evolution of past events to the current events of Pittsburgh using this interactive tool. Reading and writing activities come from the use of this website. Students read news stories pertaining to Pittsburgh and complete writing activities that involve summaries and personal responses to the information that they collect from the website. The use of the KDKA website will help move students to independently explore their interests and will aid them in locating stories that they can relate to or that they are curious to understand. Many activities in this unit are derived from their curiosities and interests in the news that they hear each day. Other activities also evolve from the use of this website as well. It is also important for students to understand the place in history that KDKA-TV news represents. Since the basis of this curriculum unit deals with Pittsburgh’s mass media, the importance of KDKA’s presence in our hometown is touched upon and discussed.


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Technology in Mass Media
Richard A. Scott
Westinghouse High School

This curriculum unit is based upon the changes that occurred through time in technology in mass media and in telecommunications. It presents the effect in a timeline showing technology through the past, present and future. It will be noted that technology in everyday general education comes to age with heavy emphasis. Mass communications realistically provides a convenient means of reproducing information. Without it knowledge would not have passed as quickly or as efficiently throughout the community, school, and the world.

Students will be introduced to the world of advertising, marketing, and commercial production. Students will study the principles of creative process, client relations, and budgeting, scripting, and producing storyboards. In other activities, students will become familiar with small business financial systems such as tax planning estimating, contracting, enterprise development, government regulations, alternate funding sources, and how to develop a business plan.

In my abstract I elaborate on telecommunications devices such as the radio, the television, and the telephone. Because of these devises people are less isolated from each other.

The invention of the telecommunication devices helps to unify people worldwide to help the less fortunate. These devises will continue to keep us informed so that we can better understand and help solve world problems.


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Mifflin, Mass Media, and Me: A School and Teachers in Time Who Were Patriotically Inclined
Dolores K. Sebastian
Mifflin Elementary School

This unit relates the historical development of patriotism at Mifflin Elementary School through personal experiences and partnerships with my colleagues and the impact that patriotism had on our careers and personal lives. Pittsburgh’s mass media and select personalities who worked in the media were the stimulants and driving force that planted the seeds, led us and sparked us to produce, achieve, and blossom on such a high professional level that would last for 50+ years. The students will take a journey through 200+ years of American history and American musical traditions and will explore key characters of history. All of the songs in the program are representative of the time and event being described. Students will also experience how songs themselves have survived, though they change through time as they are passed on from generation to generation. We refer to this change as the folk process. This historical musical revue is entitled, Our American Song. An example of a mini musical revue, Dream a Dream, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is also included. The programs could be modified and adapted to many grade levels and would be especially useful to teachers of United States history.


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It’s News To Me: Teaching Students To Create a School Newspaper
By Michelle Sumlin- Long
Columbus Middle School

Welcome to the world of newspaper writing! This Curriculum Unit on Developing a School Newspaper is designed for middle school students, but could be adapted and used for other grades as well. This unit has eleven lessons that will allow teachers to walk students through the process of planning, writing and publishing a school newspaper of their very own! This unit provides four to five weeks of newspaper experience for middle school students at any skill level. The unit begins with an introductory lesson that focuses on why news is important. It goes on to inform the teachers and the students on the benefits of reading the newspaper. This unit will allow students to explore the various parts of a newspaper and learn how to gather the facts. The unit will also help the students use the newspaper as a source of developing their reading, writing, thinking and communicating skills. Furthermore, this unit will also broaden the students’ vocabulary and at the same time keep them abreast of the current events. Moreover, the students will also have the opportunity to use the latest technology to publish their schools newspaper. Last but not least, this curriculum unit on developing a school newspaper will enable students to work towards the necessary requirements for their Standard –Based Portfolio in communications.


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Reviving the Elephant: Bringing Literary Journalism (ie. Memoir: ie. The Personal Essay) Back Into the Classroom
Connie Weiss
Schenley High School

This unit will deal with several topics, among them the perceived difference, if any, among the terms of literary journalism, creative nonfiction, the nonfiction essay, and where the concept of new journalism fits in relation to the above. The scandals of concocted stories winning prizes and then ruining promising careers and downgrading reliable newspapers, seem a part of all of this, as does the worry any nonfiction writer has, whether memoirist or war correspondent, with the foibles of memory. Can one embroider a detail or two for the sake of interest value, without being branded as a false writer? This and other knotty questions will be discussed in the unit as it defines other genres, but settles into literary journalism as an unlikely place, but an apt one, to begin writing with students too shy to write of themselves. They are, after all, just, well…so…ordinary. What they come to learn is that this ‘ordinariness’ is grist for the literary journalist.


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Challenging Media
By Lynette Will
Linden Academy

The purpose of this curriculum unit is to help fifth grade students become more aware of their surroundings through the media. I plan to introduce the historical aspect of media first through activities that involve the students in an exploratative way. Students will then have the opportunity to explore the media in two different aspects. They will be involved in activities that help them view media as challenging and also something that should be challenged.

I currently teach Communications at the fifth grade level at Linden Elementary School. I believe this unit will enable the students to meet the portfolio requirements outlined by the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Each student will be required to keep a portfolio with the samples of work completed throughout the course of the unit.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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