Friday, April 2, 2021

Media Literacy for Kids

The Juice - media literacy for kids

The following post is in collaboration with The Juice Learning Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One thing the last four years have taught me is that as my kids get older, they need to be well informed about the world, as well as the events and people who are shaping our country. I feel an urgent need to make sure that they are able to distinguish between fact and fiction on the internet. And that they especially value the facts as they make decisions for themselves and their families. 

My oldest is a junior and my second is a freshman, so the pressure is on to get this done. That's why I've been actively searching for courses and tools to help.

So learning about The Juice Learning Company has been absolutely wonderful. If you've never heard of it, read on!

Quick Overview

ProgramThe Juice Learning Company
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: (Self-Paced) online website
Price: $6.99/mo or $50.99/yr (homeschool version)

Teaching Current Events

Many high schools (and even middle schools) are beginning to assign current events reviews or projects. My oldest does it pretty regularly at her private high school. This is the first year I'm going to be implementing the same with my middle kid who is a homeschooled freshman. Why? Because it really helps my kids understand the important impact that people and events have on their lives and those of other people.

The Juice - dashboard

A Media Literacy Tool

The Juice is like a subscription-based news service... but more! Every week day (M-F), your child will receive an email telling them that their Juice for the day is ready. It is available in four different reading levels for students in 5th through 12th grade.

Their homepage has four different areas for them to click on. The first is the NEWS section with articles that are carefully curated by journalists and educators. These articles present JUST THE FACTS - no editorializing/commenting. Each one is approximately 200 words total. 

One of The Juice's biggest claims is that they are not biased one way or the other. Students are only presented with the facts and then are encouraged to dig deeper and develop their critical thinking skills.

The Juice - Digging deeper.

The second section is labeled EXPLORE. This area lets students dive more deeply into any given topic via short informational posts or videos. Today as I write this, for example, some of the topics available to be read are: 
  • The Suez Canal
  • The Filibuster
  • Iceland's Volcanoes
  • Women and Sports 
  • DC Statehood
When you click on one of the topics, a small pop-up window appears with more (scrollable) information for your student to explore.

I also like that each article has a read-aloud option for differentiated learning. This is also especially helpful for students with learning differences or who learn best while listening and reading.

The area on videos is hip and fun and perfect for young students. In fact, I sort of think they are created by high school or college students - but I don't know that. It just sounds and feels like a younger vibe presenting the information. And I think that makes it more engaging for my 9th grader. 

The third section is for QUIZ RESULTS. Every single story has interactive quizzing to measure reading comprehension. As a parent/educator, I can follow my kid's progress in my own dashboard which shows me his results and average score.

The final section is reserved for ANNOUNCEMENTS. Teachers who subscribe have the option to post announcements to their class. (This option is not available for homeschoolers.)

One more thing that I think is important is that educators and parents also have access to The Juice Blog where they post about important topics related to media literacy. These posts are super helpful and some contain tips for discussing issues with your kids. Take a look at their blog.

Option for homeschoolers

The Juice is available to homeschoolers in four different reading levels and each child can receive a different level. This edition of The Juice comes with five child accounts and is priced affordably for families.

Things that I like

I love that I don't have to worry about what my kid may be reading or anything that may distract him from the topic at hand. 

I also like that every day, The Juice includes at least one inspirational story about a remarkable person who is beating the odds or doing something incredible to leave the world a better place. 

Also, from my parent portal, I can see all of the same content that he does PLUS I can see:
  • if he opened his email, 
  • completed a quiz (and the score), 
  • and if he watched a video or read the Extra Juice. 
It also gives me a cumulative grade average at the top in case I'm counting this as a separate class or want to incorporate the grades into his class grade or GPA. This final tool right here is gold for those of us homeschooling high schoolers and makes it easier for us to calculate their grades.

The Juice - Student overview

Sign up with a discount!

If this sounds like the type of tool you've been looking for and want to incorporate in your middle schooler or high schooler's curriculum, subscribe today

As a MommyMaestra reader, you can save 25% off the subscription price using my special discount code: JuiceMYMA.

Or if you prefer to try it out first, you can do so for a week at no charge. Click the link above for the free trial. 

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