LESSON THREE: Elements of Messages
Teacher explains various media include literary, artistic or visual, and technical elements. These elements are used to convey messages to audiences. Students analyze and compare various media elements.
I2A The student will analyze, describe, and evaluate the elements of messages projected in various media.
o Overhead transparencies of political cartoons and a media work
o Audio tape or VCR tape
o Several types of magazine covers
§ Handouts provided
§ Words to know
o figurative language
o point of view
o text features
1. Students review and discuss a political cartoon to determine how the cartoonist incorporates various literary elements (e.g., satire, irony, exaggeration, symbolism, tone, point of view, setting, etc.); artistic/visual elements (e.g., use of lines, shading, color, etc.); and technical elements related to formatting (e.g., use of captions, bubbles, headlines, etc.) into his/her work to convey the intended message.
If student asks, “What if I don’t find all the elements in a media work?” Reply that not all of the elements are used in any one media work. It depends on the type of media being examined and the message its creator is trying to convey.
Questions for Students
What have you noticed in media: films, magazines, comics, written text, etc. about the elements used to emphasize certain points?
Why do you think the producers, writers, etc. emphasize certain points when filming, drawing, writing, etc.?
It is possible for a media work to contain
Literary Elements: plot, characterization, theme, mood, tone, point of view, figurative language, satire, irony, setting, etc.
Artistic or Visual Elements: use of line, shading, use of color, symmetry, perspective, texture, use of props/costumes, inclusion of objects, use of setting/background, body language, juxtaposition, etc.
Technical Elements related to the “putting together” of the media work. Movies/television shows might contain the technical elements of zoom camera shots, camera shots from different perspectives, creative framing, different exposures, fade-outs, captions, titles, credits, speech bubbles (like the old Batman television shows), etc.
2. Analyze and/or evaluate a media message based on Media Elements handout by following the steps below. Group students to
1) Pick a medium such as book, short story, sign, chart, radio program, web site, movies, etc.
2) Locate a specific media work within the medium (e.g., I Love Lucy, Family Circle Magazine, a chart showing economic growth, a web site, Oranges by Gary Soto, etc.)
3) Determine which of the three categories of elements might be appropriate for the media work.
4) Within each of the categories, determine specific elements that might be contained within the media work.
5) Examine the media work for the presence and/or absence of specific elements and determine the role each specific element plays in conveying the intended media message.
6) Do you think the message being conveyed is accurate/reliable? Why or why not?
Questions for Students
What elements are contained in each one of the media messages?
Explain how elements are used by the creator of the work to make the media message clear to readers/viewers/listeners.
How do the examples use media elements differently to express messages?
3. Students work in pairs and use the Media Elements handout to compare covers from two different types of magazines, looking at the three types of elements (literary, visual, and technical) included and the messages conveyed. When finished, share ideas with the large group.
What is the intended media message(s)?
What role does each specific element play in conveying the intended media message?
Do you think the media message being conveyed is accurate/reliable? Why or why not?