KIDS FIRST! Junior Film Critics Curriculum
Becoming a Film Critic

Because children are influenced so much by the media around them, we believe that by teaching them to look at media more critically, they will make their own good media choices.

In the KIDS FIRST! Junior Film Critics Club program, kids examine the positive and negative messages that media promote. Rather than tell kids what to watch and what not to watch, the goal of this course is to empower kids to make their own critical media choices.

This program is a 10 session course designed for children ages 8 to 13. The program teaches children to be aware of what is and is not real in media, to recognize stereotyping and bias, to discern the difference between gratuitous and non-gratuitous violence, and to observe how media violence often has few or no consequences.

The Junior Film Critics Club program teaches children how to evaluate and review media using standardized criteria and evaluation tools. It encourages them to share their opinions about media, both verbally and in writing. It offers an opportunity to discuss their opinions with their peers. The evaluation skills they learn can be applied to films, videos/DVDs, audio CDs, TV shows, and interactive media (videogames).

During the course, the children will have the opportunity to explore media as a career option, write their own scripts, and produce their own video.

At the completion of the this course, the students and their leaders will have explored a range of media, learned to evaluate and review it, and will have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! jury.


1. Help children become more critical media users.
2. Help children learn to evaluate and critique media using standardized criteria and evaluation tools.
3. Help children make informed media choices for themselves.
4. Help children learn how to identify and find outstanding media.

What is Included in the Curriculum

1. Define and experience the role of a media critic.
2. Learn to tell the difference between what is real and what is not real in media.
3. Understand the impact of media violence on behavior.
4. Explore the difference between gratuitous and non-gratuitous violence.
5. Recognize unsafe and unkind behavior in media and the harmful effects it can have on viewers.
6. Recognize stereotypes and understand their inaccuracy, unfairness, and prejudice.
7. Use a method of evaluation and a set of criteria to judge a piece of media.
8. Assess a value on media, from one to three stars, based on a set of criteria, personal experience, and opinion.


1. This online curriculum comes complete with links in each chapter to pdfs you can print out as transparencies for classroom use. A master pdf of each chapter introduction is available here. We recommend that you print it out and put in a binder, together with your transparencies. You may want to make copies of some of the handouts that you can give to your students.
2. Video clips will be contained in some of the chapters. You will want to have equipment available to either download or to view online during your classroom session.
3. For session #9, you may wish to either rent a DVD from your local video store, library or Netflix or request a loan from KIDS FIRST! for this session.

Equipment Needed

1. An overhead projector.
2. DVD player and monitor, large enough for easy viewing by entire group.
3. An easel with paper or black (white) board.


1. What is a Junior Film Critics Program handout
2. Media survey (2 per child)
3. Media log (8 per child)
4. Speaking the Truth script (4 copies)
5. Violence score card (1 per child)
6. Evaluation form (4 per child)
7. Evaluation rules (1 per child)
8. Star rating guide (1 per child)
9. Certificate (1 per child)

If you are a Girl Scout Leader and are doing this program with your Girl Scouts so they can earn their Junior Film Critics' Patch, here are the guidelines. Here is the patch.


Session 1


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