Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for November, 2009

Become a Juror in time for the Holidays!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Our December class was just announced and it’s filling up quickly. A little later in the month than usual, due to our annual awards ceremony on December 5, but still in time for the holiday season.

The Jury Training class is scheduled for December 14 and 16, Monday and Wednesday, at 8:30 pm EST. You must attend both sessions, as it is a 2-part class.

It’s a wonderful time to join our jury as we have been receiving more and more independently produced DVDs, CDs and computer games then ever before. In addition, we are also reviewing many DVDs and films from major production companies, often before they are released to the public! Build up your own library while helping kids learn to become critical media consumers. Remember, you won’t get sent any products to evaluate without your permission on the timing and type of media (ie. DVD, CD, CD-rom, etc.)

To join the class, please complete an online application form and confirm that you will be able to attend the December dates. Your $30 fee, fully refundable once you’ve completed training and evaluated your first 6 titles with your jury, can be paid by check in advance, or with a MasterCard or Visa by phone. Contact us if you are interested in setting up a private class or need more information.

Just think, you could have your very own Junior Film Critics Club started before the holidays, what a wonderful gift for the young people in your life!

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Getting Kids to Talk – Ages 2-5

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I’ve talked about getting the kids on your jury to open up and participate in the evaluation process, ages 8 and up. But what about younger kids?

Although you don’t have to worry about honesty as much with this age group, or the problems with peer pressure that arise later on, pre-schoolers often have to be coached into giving an evaluation with meaning. The evaluation forms we use ask simpler questions and expect simpler responses. However, some of our best insights come out of this crew.

Many pre-schoolers will not sit still for the entire program. They may wander in and out during the screening. Remember that they are still sorting out what’s real and what’s pretend and are easily frightened. Although we love to include direct quotes from your jurors, you will also need to interpret their feedback based on physical responses as well as verbal ones. In your evaluation, you might mention things such as: “The kids loved Dora and asked to see her again the next day” or “No one in this group sat still for more than a few minutes.” Insightful observations, while doing your best not to interject your own opinions, are a great way of letting others who read the evaluation make more informed family media watching decisions.

Children ages 2-5 can be coaxed into responses. Try sitting on the floor with them while asking them questions and always make eye contact. Don’t expect a long attention span. One experienced juror cut out the smiley faces on our evaluation form and made them into puppets by attaching to the end of a craft stick. When it came time to “vote”, kids raised up their smiley puppet in response!

Jurors – have another clever way you’ve gotten your kids to participate? Send them to me and I can use them for future blogs.

Want to learn more about media literacy and the KIDS FIRST! Jury program? Visit our jury page and contact us if you have questions. Our next training class is coming up in a few weeks (early December), so don’t delay!

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