New York State teacher and media literacy director at Project Look Sharp, Chris Sperry, presented at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Seattle, WA on November 16, 2012 at the Washington State Convention Center. The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies has grown to be the largest association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. Organized into a network of more than 110 affiliated state, local, and regional councils and associated groups, the NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.
The title of Sperry’s presentations was Media Construction of Sustainability: Food, water and Agriculture
Directed at a secondary to high school level. This presentation focused on media decoding strategies and free online materials to integrate critical thinking into teaching about sustainability at the high school level. Sperry presented an overview of core content and resources related to teaching about the sustainability of food, water and agriculture in the United States and identified classroom methodologies and materials for integrating inquiry-bases teaching, media literacy and document-based analysis into the teaching of sustainability.
The goal of the presentation was to introduce lessons that address: definitions of sustainability, credibility of information, creative visions, economic systems, farming and community, food security, water, the Green Revolution, bio fuels, cultural perspectives, and transitioning to a sustainable future. Additionally, it introduced the themes of social justice, climate change and the energy economy that run through these lessons. The workshop introduced participants to a free online kit that includes 19 lessons, a 400+ page teacher guide with student handouts, assessments and rich media documents for teaching about sustainability related to food, water and agriculture at the high school level.
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.