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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    Project Look Sharp to Host Summer Media Literacy Institute for Another Year

    Ithaca, NY- Project Look Sharp is excited to be hosting another Summer media literacy institute on the Ithaca College campus. This five-day course will immerse educators from all levels in the practice of critical thinking, media analysis and media production. Through morning classes, production training and individual coaching sessions, Project Look Sharp will help teachers, librarians or simply those interested in the media build a valuable tool kit to better understand media and be shared in the classroom setting.

    Nationally acclaimed educators and staff trainers Cyndy Scheibe, Chris Sperry, Roger Sevilla and Armin Heurich will lead participants through scheduled days which also leave room for exploration of the Ithaca area after the scheduled events. The morning session of each day will focus on the theory and practice of media literacy.  Participants will use their critical thinking skills to evaluate media sources, recognize bias in visual representations, decode media messages, and effectively use instructional media to be incorporated into each individualized curricula. Afternoon sessions will focus on a hands-on approach, where educators will learn how to use the digital tools that connect media production and media literacy. Information from the morning session will be tied into this interactive session, especially through exploration of web 2.0 outlets such as wikis, blogs, presentation software and google drive. These are tools that are vital to understanding media literacy, and how it can be incorporated in the classroom setting for both presentation purposes and student production opportunities.

    In addition to these sessions, participants will be matched up with one of the award-winning educators to develop a customized media literacy implementation plan for their classroom or educational endeavors. As a wrap up for the institute, educators will present these plans on the final day to the other participants.

    This Media Literacy Summer Institute will be held on the Ithaca College campus in Ithaca, New York from July 28th to August 1st 2014, with the days running from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, and additional lab hours available on Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00 pm- 6:00 pm. Housing will be provided for the participants either through hotel accommodations, or campus housing, and amenities will include access to the fitness center, outdoor pool and library. Each morning, a light breakfast will be provided, and a full lunch will be served on the last day of the institute. As an additional incentive, a copy of the newly released “Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy” will be included.

    When not attending informational sessions, participants will have the opportunity to explore the array of activities Ithaca has to offer.  The gorges offer a beautiful setting to hike, and Cayuga Lake tours offer participants a look at some Ithaca scenery. The commons downtown presents a multitude of shopping options, while cultural prospects can be found at the Johnson Cornell Museum of Art and with the local theater productions. Finally, with more restaurants per capita than New York City, participants will have a variety of tastes to choose from when they dine with each other and the Project Look Sharp Faculty.

    Registration for this event will cost $795, which is New York state-aidable through CoSer 516 or cross contact with TST BOCES.  Those that are interested are encouraged to visit for additional information, reviews from past participants, and to register.

    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.


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



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    Celebrate Earth Day by joining Project Look Sharp in our first webinar, “Where Media Literacy Meets Sustainability Education.”

    Sox Sperry

    It’s free and going live on  April 22, from 4-5PM EDT.

    Learn More

    Register Now

    This interactive webinar will debut a brief demonstration video of Chris Sperry,  Project Look Sharp’s Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, as he leads a class through constructivist media decoding of  a sustainability education lesson. Sox Sperry, Project Look Sharp’s primary curriculum writer, will lead a visual tour of our six curriculum kits that are directly related to Earth Day topics: chemicals in the environment, endangered species, resource depletion, global warming and sustainability in food, water and agriculture.  All of these kits are available free and online at Sox will also demonstrate  how to search  the Look Sharp site for keywords,  themes and common core standard alignments.

    The webinar will offer educators and teachers-in-training pedagogical techniques and curriculum materials  to support constructivist media decoding to help students engage in critical thinking about the complex environmental, economic and social systems that underlie sustainability .

    For more information and to register for the webinar visit


    You can  email us at or contact us by phone at (607) 274-3471

    This webinar will be archived on the Project Look Sharp website for those who cannot participate this time around.


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    Sox Sperry on WRFI 88.1 – Fri March 21, 2014

    Sox Sperry, curriculum writer for Project Look Sharp will appear on WRFI Community Radio, 88.1 “The Ithaca / Watkins Glen Morning Show” w/ Sharon Clarke on Friday, March 21, 7am – 8am.  He is the author of Media Constructions of Sustainability: Finger Lakes, a media literacy curriculum  about how sustainability within the Finger Lakes region of New York has been presented in the media with a particular focus on issues related to food, water and agriculture.   He will talk about how media literacy relates to food choices, food systems, farming and the  natural resources that farming depends upon.


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