Home: Overview of Program and Goals

Application:  IRA Award for Technology and Reading 

An overview of a senior year, second semester English course curriculum 

Sports and Popular Culture

Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D.

Franklin (MA) High School

What is it like for a student to take a senior year English course
that's grounded in digital literacy to enhance reading?

It's Exciting!


It's eye-opening!  Sochi Olympics Storify 

It's personally relevantFantasy Sports Survey 

It's Empowering!

It's Sometimes Confusing...

It's about Choice--- through Curated Digital Collections of Sports Texts 

And it's about so much more...

This senior year, second semester English course curriculum exposes students to the influence and power of sports in contemporary digital culture. Students in this course:
  • connect the impact of digital technologies (both old and new and between) to sports performance and spectatorship;
  • examine the politics of sports, including how popular sports culture represents gender, race, sexual orientation, and national identity;
  • learn about the consumerist foundation of professional sports, how racial representations frame the way fans view their favorite athletes, and how culture is transmitted through sports;
  • collaborate in a non-tracked, heterogeneous classroom with students across a variety of intellectual levels;
  • incorporate the Common Core frameworks everyday to interpret through various protocols, analyze through identification of common values, and compose across modalities;
  • deconstruct and produce their own media texts;
  • publish on the web through their own personal websites via pseudonyms; and,
  • discuss and consider the ways that sports in contemporary life have great potential and an intrinsic promised for positive social change.    

Two essential questions frame the course....

How is sport a reflection of society?

How can sport be a mechanism to improve society?

Heterogeneous Groupings of Students

In this Open Honors English course, students from different cultural groups come together to work as collaborative teams.  As you will see, regardless of intellectual capacities or sports affiliations, students grow as literate learners in this course through its digital literacy foundation.

First, students with different intellectual capacities come together to study, learn, and publish on personal Google websites:
  • Honors students
  • College preparatory students
  • Students with Individualized Educational Plans
  • Students with severe learning disabilities

Second, students who have different perspectives about sports negotiate and analyze digital sports persuasion:

  • Athletes
  • Fans
  • Non-Athletes/ Non-Fans

Curriculum:  Five Units of Study 

Grounded in digital analysis, each of these units is designed to offer students large group discussions, small group inquiry, and independent literacy development.

Curated Digital Collections of Texts

Each unit culminates with a Curated Digital Collection of Texts, which allow students to choose and read within a particular area of interest and to connect issues to a common value. Afterward, students adapt the central ideas that they garnered from their inquiry into their own original multimodal compositions. T

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Hints for navigating this website...

Many resources are located on this main page.  However, to navigate other pages on this website, please go to the left frame.  Click on the titles, each of which leads you to pages that describe:

  • important areas of this curriculum;
  • my research; and,
  • various cross-linked child webpages, for your convenience of access.
Table of Contents for this Website (left frame)

10 Reasons Why Sports is Literacy argues that the topic of sports is a valuable and significant entry into media literacy student inquiry.

I've written a textbook called Play Ball! Inspiring a Better Society through the Analysis of Media Sports Texts.  It's currently published on Amazon while I seek out a traditional publisher.

Criteria 1: Evidence of sustained implementation of media literacy principles (recognized as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media messages) over time.

Criteria 2: Describe the development of the course or unit and how it fits within the curriculum, providing evidence of innovation and imagination within the program.  What is the context within which the work takes place: a course, a unit, a department?

Criteria 3: Evidence of collaboration in the media literacy classroom, within or outside the school.

Criteria 4: Evaluation of a portfolio of exemplary work, including high or low-tech media compositions, syllabi, and course assignments to be submitted electronically, if possible.

The Curriculum Guide I wrote to spearhead the course describes my original vision for the ways that sports, media literacy, and traditional English/ Language Arts might be combined. 

Dr. Carolyn's Curriculum Vitae is a chance for you to learn more about my work as an advocate for media literacy on the local, regional, and national levels.

An article I wrote about teaching sports as media literacy has been accepted for publication with slight revisions for the autumn 2014 issue of The Journal of Media Literacy.

I have been invited by Alan Brown to join the roundtable on "Intersections among Literacy, Media, Culture, and Sports" at the 2014 NCTE Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.  My paper, which is currently in draft, is called, "Not the Same Old Story: Student Discourse in a Sports and Popular Culture Course."

A teacher's website offers students, their families, and community the opportunity to interact with instructional activities, assignments, and media texts in face-to-face and hybrid ways.

Each student creates and publishes on her/ his own website.  The entire list of student websites from the spring, 2014 course can be found here.