Project Look Sharp’s Sox Sperry Presented At Food, Farm and Sustainability Institute

Ithaca, N.Y- Sox Sperry returned to his alma mater this past June to present as part of Hampshire College’s Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute. Sperry’s presentation was part of a six-week session, which led students, faculty, staff and alumni through the hands on experience of food production and sustainable agriculture.

Sperry presented to a small group of eight students and introduced the concept of constructivist media decoding. He also led them through an analyses of farming related documents from the Project Look Sharp’s Media Construction of Sustainability Food, Water, and Agriculture and Media Constructions of Sustainability: Finger Lakes. Sperry concluded his presentation by suggesting a number of outlets where media literacy can be a tool for community education on issues related to food, farming and sustainability.


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Project Look Sharp’s Media Literacy Summer Institute Attracts a Diverse Set of Educators

Ithaca, NY- Project Look Sharp hosted it’s annual Media Literacy Summer Institute this past July which attracted 18 educators from a variety of institutions. Participants visited from across the U.S., and one attendee came from as far as India. This five-day course immersed educators from all levels in the practice of critical thinking, media analysis and media production.

Cyndy Scheibe, Chris Sperry, Roger Seville and Armin Heurich led participants through an extensive examination of media literacy. Afternoon sessions provided the attendees with the opportunity to get hands on training with media productions, as well as individualized sessions to deepen their knowledge of digital production tools. Morning and afternoon sessions were connected through discussion and exploration of the web. Activities included learning about blogs, wikis, presentation software and Google drive. The goal of the series was to have participants use their critical thinking to evaluate media sources, recognize sources of bias, and effectively decode media messages.

In regards to the training, one participant observed, “These are certainly concepts that I can take into my classroom and build into our new curriculum. I acquired a lot of new language with which to discuss media.”

Tools that were taught are vital to understanding media literacy. The hope among the presenters was that the attendees would be able to incorporate the lessons into their classrooms and spread the knowledge to their students. The series also offered attendees the chance to work individually with the facilitators to create a customized media literacy implementation plan for their classroom. They then presented their plans to the group at the end of the session, which allowed for feedback as well as comments from their peers.

When informational sessions were not taking place, participants had the opportunity to explore the beauty of Ithaca, NY. With the multiple array of options to choose from, participants were always busy. Whether it was exploring the gorges, the commons, or dining at one of the many restaurants that Ithaca has to offer –  there was certainty something for everyone! At the end of the workshop, participants also received a copy of “Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy”, co-written by Project Look Sharp Director Cyndy Scheibe.


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Project Look Sharp to Present Webinar on Sustainability for Nonprofit “Green Teacher”

On October 2nd, Sox Sperry, a Program Associate and curriculum writer for Project Look Sharp, will be conducting a free teacher webinar on how to use media decoding to invite students into a conversation about the challenges revolving around sustainability. High school and college educators and teachers-in-training are invited to register for this webinar where they can learn pedagogical techniques and curriculum materials that can help students to engage in critical thinking and emotional honesty. The agenda also includes discussion on the complex environmental, economic and social systems that underlie sustainability.

Green teacher, “a non-profit organization dedicated to helping educators, both inside and outside of schools, promote environmental awareness among young people aged 6-19”, will publish an article this fall by Mr. Sperry entitled: Sustainability Education and Media Literacy. Visit for more information.

Project look Sharp is Ithaca College’s Media Literacy Initiative. Project Look Sharp supports the integration of critical thinking through media literacy in school curriculum and teaching. They do this through developing and providing lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for educators at all education levels. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.

From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for personal and professional success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students and offers over 100 degree programs in its schools of Business, Communications, Humanities and Sciences, Health Science and Human Performance, and Music.





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Project Look Sharp to Host Break Out Session at PBL NY 2014

Ithaca, NY- Every year in Napa, California, an event called PBL World takes place, or Project Based Learning. Here, educators gather to empower a new generation of students through alternative project based learning techniques. This event is sponsored by the Buck Institute for Education, and allows educators to learn new techniques in project design, assessment, and management of curriculum through workshops and training sessions.

On August 5-7 2014, OCM BOCES will emulate this convention in Napa in Syracuse New York at the Syracuse DoubleTree. Here, teachers and leaders are encouraged to attend workshop sessions facilitated by Buck’s Institute Faculty where they will learn about bringing project-based learning into their classrooms. Keynote speakers such as Sam Chaltain, a founding director of the Five Freedoms Project and Director of the Forum for Education and Democracy will start out each day, followed by shorter breakout sessions.

Part of project-based learning relies on a focus on critical thinking skills, as a part of the 4C’s of the program. On the afternoon of Thursday August 7th, Project Look Sharp will be hosting a break out session that explores development of critical thinking skills through media decoding and analysis.

According to Chris Sperry who is conducting the training: “I will introduce the theory and practice of media literacy integration tied to PBL theory with examples covering K-12 and multiple subject areas.  In the 2nd half of the workshop we would  explore one project-based model for high school global studies/ELA that incorporates in depth research, use of new technologies, critical thinking and a week-long simulation (related to the Middle East) all through the lens of media literacy integration into PBL.   I will incorporate  reflection on pedagogy and decoding of  media documents throughout the interactive  workshop with time for Q&A.”

Project Look Sharp supports the integration of critical thinking and media literacy into the teaching of core content in multiple subject areas.  They do this through developing and providing lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for educators at all education levels. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.

Those that are interesting in attending the event can visit for more information, as well as access to the registration pages. For staff from OCM BOCES districts, the cost will be $375, and for districts outside OCM BOCES, the cost will be $450. You can also follow the action on twitter, with the hashtag #PBLNY.



For more information, please contact Tyra Mazzer, Media Outreach Intern at


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Project Look Sharp Media Literacy Webinar Tackles Media Constructions of Peace and Social Justice

Ithaca, NY- Project Look Sharp will be celebrating Memorial Day weekend with another webinar entitled “Media Constructions of Peace and Social Justice: Reflecting Diversity.” On May 22nd this webinar will go live from 7-8 EDT and will be free of charge.

Here, Director of Curriculum and Staff Development Chris Sperry will lead registrants through an interactive lesson plan that focuses on media decoding, with an emphasis on the relationship between peace, justice and conflict studies. French pastor and peacemaker commented on the relationship between the three after he made efforts to protect Jews in a Nazi occupied France during World War II; “All who affirm the use of violence admit it is only a means to achieve justice and peace. But peace and justice are nonviolence…those who abandon nonviolence have no sense of history. Rather they are bypassing history, freezing history, and betraying history.”

Project Look Sharp has three media kits that address topics related to peace and social justice including Media Constructions of  Martin Luther King Jr., Social Justice, and Peace. After the presentation by Chris Sperry, Project Look Sharp’s curriculum writer, Sox Sperry will then lead participants through a visual tour of these kits, which can also be found for free at

This webinar will provide a resource for educators and teachers-in-training of techniques and curriculum materials that can be used in the classroom, and that provide a diverse range of documents and sources to be decoded. Through this webinar, participants will explore the ways in which these resources can be used to deepen critical thinking practices and encourage student engagement. This in turn creates a unique and innovative classroom environment where students are constantly challenged and encouraged to be curious and involved.

More information for this Memorial Day webinar can be found at

Any additional questions can be directed to, or through the phone at 607-274-3471. If participants are unable to make the webinar, Project Look Sharp will also be recording the webinar and providing it for later access on the website.

Media Literacy materials and methodologies can integrate these 21st century skills and approaches into all subject areas and grade levels. Ithaca College’s Project Look Sharp ( is a national leader in developing lessons and approaches for the integration of media literacy and critical thinking throughout the K-12 curriculum, tied to new standards and assessments.

For more information, please contact Tyra Mazzer, Media Outreach Intern at


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On New York state Media Literacy Law (A08347)

Project Look Sharp is proud to announce our support of the New York state Media Literacy Law (A08347).  The law, sponsored by Linda B. Rosenthal, District 67 (New York, NY) and Joseph R. Lentol, District 50 (Brooklyn, NY) will develop standards for media literacy within the classroom for all students K-12.  The law will also provide guidance for teachers in choosing trustworthy resources to help integrate media literacy into the classroom.  Representatives Rosenthal and Lentol site the current ubiquitous media climate and lack of critical thinking skills as main inspirations for the law.  The representatives argue that “a comprehensive media literacy education should be broad-based, focusing on the ways media affect children, including training for educators so they develop a comprehensive understanding of its effect on children’s learning.”

How can you get involved?  The bill was referred to the Education Committee in early January, and no action has been taken yet.  If your state representative serves on this committee, reach out and tell him or her that you want this law passed.

Not a resident of NY?  Massachusetts is currently trying to pass a similar bill.  If either (or both) of these policies become law, it will set a precedent that other states can follow.

Find out more information here-


Representatives on Education Committee:


  • Catherine Nolan
  • Members

  • Carmen Arroyo
  • Michael Benedetto
  • James Brennan
  • Karim Camara
  • Barbara Clark
  • Jane Corwin
  • Steve Englebright
  • Al Graf
  • Carl Heastie
  • Earlene Hooper
  • Ron Kim
  • Kieran Michael Lalor
  • Barbara Lifton
  • Peter Lopez
  • William Magnarelli
  • Shelley Mayer
  • David McDonough
  • Steven McLaughlin
  • Michael Miller
  • Joan Millman
  • Daniel O’Donnell
  • Amy Paulin
  • Edward Ra
  • Phil Ramos
  • Robert Sweeney
  • Claudia Tenney
  • Fred Thiele, Jr.
  • Matthew Titone
  • Michele Titus
  • Harvey Weisenberg
  • Comments

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