Chris Sperry, Coordinator of Curriculum and Staff Development for Project Look Sharp, presented at the Tompkins Seneca Tioga BOCES (December 13) on teaching 21st century skills and United States history content through collective analysis of primary source documents. Sperry received a grant for Integrating Teaching with Primary Sources into Media Literacy Education from the United States Library of Congress.
The funding for this project is part of the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) grant that provides educators from New York the ability to integrate media literacy into their various curriculums. Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, critically evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms. It is similar to information literacy and involves many components of technology literacy as well.
Mr. Sperry has taught middle and high school social studies, English and media studies for over 30 years in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of numerous curriculum kits related to global studies and U.S. history and articles about integrating media literacy and critical thinking into the curriculum. He is the recipient of the National Council for the Social Studies 2008 Award for Global Understanding, and the 2005 National PTA and Cable Leaders in Learning Award for Media Literacy.
Project Look Sharp now has 16 media literacy kits that include detailed teacher guides and lessons for classroom decoding of historic documents for K-12 classroom teachers through the college level. All kits are available free online with hard copy kits sold at cost through Ithaca College bookstore.
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.