Project Look Sharp Article Archive

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In order of most recent publications from top to bottom.

Chris Sperry, Prescription for an Infodemic, a pedagogical response in an era of fake news, In Victor Strasberger (Ed.), kids and today’s Media: A careful analysis and scrutiny of the problems, volume 2, New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021.
In this chapter from the 2021 book, Kids and Today’s Media, Chris Sperry lays out Project Look Sharp’s approach to disinformation. After a look at the historical context of our country’s “epistemological crisis” and the role of confirmation bias, Chris makes the case for media literacy and specifically Constructivist Media

“Briefing: Project Look Sharp’s Decoding Media Constructions and Substantiality” Sox Sperry, Journal of Sustainability Education, Vol. 23, April, 2020.
Antonio Lopez, in his coda to Greening Media Education, summarizes the complex set of skills needed “to bring ecologically oriented cultural practice into the realm of media education (which) promotes systems thinking, collaborative learning, critical thinking, lifelong learning and digital media literacy.” This article offers cases studies of two Look Sharp lessons, one for elementary age students and another for upper level high school, each of which was designed with these skills in mind as a way to bring Lopez’s vision into practice in the classroom

“Rx for an Infodemic: Media Decoding, COVID-19 and Online Teaching” Chris Sperry and Cyndy Scheibe, Social Education, Vol. 84, Number 3, pg. 152-158, May/June, 2020.
After describing the historical, political and social causes of our viral age of “fake news,” this article explore how constructivist media decoding provides a methodology for addressing the polarization of truth, with examples of how this work can be done in the classroom through face-to-face and virtual learning.

Chris Sperry, & Cyndy Scheibe, Access to diverse curriculum materials for media analysis activities, In Renee Hobbs (Ed.), The Routledge companion on media education, copyright and fair use, New York: Routledge, 2018.
In this chapter from Renee Hobbs’ seminal book on copyright and fair use in media education, we lay out Project Look Sharp’s approach to fair use by highlighting media literacy lessons about the history, culture and stereotyping of Native peoples using paintings, murals, ads, and other media. We also discuss the importance of fair use for professional development about media literacy.

“Piaget & Pokemon: What Can Theories of Developmental Psychology Tell Us about Children and Media” Cyndy Scheibe, In Jennings, N. & Mazzarella, S. (Eds.), 20 questions about youth and media (revised ed.), 2018.
Designed for communications students, this book chapter by developmental psychologist (and PLS executive director) Cyndy Scheibe describes the major theories in developmental psychology (including those of Piaget, Vygotsky, Skinner, and Bandura) and how they apply to media use and media effects on children and adolescents.

“The Impact of Using News as a Primary Source in Classrooms.” Austin Lamb, Social Education, Vo. 82 number 5, pp. 271–275, October, 2018.
This article, by a high school senior who was working with Project Look Sharp’s Chris Sperry, explores the use of news as a primary text in a Humanities class to teach students to think critically about the news, world events, and their own perspectives.

“An Assessment of Student Critical Thinking Skills.” Lehman Alternative Community School staff team, Social Education, Vol. 82, Number 4, pg. 215-218, September, 2018.
This describes a high school level assessment of media literacy and metacognitive skills in which students examine a YouTube video, excerpts from an opinion article, and a webpage screenshot about GMOs and answer questions about media messages, authorship, purpose, bias, credibility and how the students’ own biases impact their analysis. .

“Checking the Facts: Media Literacy and Democracy” Chris Sperry and Sox Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 84, Number 1, pg. 35-38, January/February, 2020.
By integrating the process of critical questioning of media messages into the everyday classroom curriculum, we can help produce a citizenry with the skills needed to negotiate future threats to truth.

“(Not so) Unprecedented Media Analysis of the 2016 Presidential Race and Its Historical Precedents” Sox Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 80, Number 4, pg. 194-198, September 2016.
This article helps teachers to understand how to use media documents from the 2016 presidential race (as well as past campaigns) to critically analyze media messages to teach objectives from the new NCSS C3 Framework for the Social Studies and the Common Core ELA standards for secondary social studies. When students examine election posters, cartoons, and ads they will comprehend that many themes–including xenophobia, income inequality, and women’s political power–have been historical mainstays on the campaign trail.

“Media Literacy: NCSS Position StatementChris Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 80(3), pg. 183-185, May/June 2016.
The following is the National Council for the Social Studies official Position Paper on Media Literacy, approved by the NCSS Board in June of 2016. It was written by Project Look Sharp’s Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, Chris Sperry, in collaboration with Frank Baker and includes some language from the previous NCSS position paper on Media Literacy.

Constructivist Media Decoding in the Social Studies: Leveraging the New Standards for Educational Change Chris Sperry, The Journal of Media Literacy, Vol. 62, Numbers 3 and 4, pg. 46-54, 2015.
This article explores the role that media analysis can play on educational reform tied to the new NCSS C3 Framework for the Social Studies and the Common Core ELA standards for secondary social studies. It uses examples from media decoding activities on the Project Look Sharp website tied to specific standards. It also explores professional development tools that support methodological shifts towards inquiry and assessments of critical thinking skills.

“Sustainability Education and Media Literacy” Sox Sperry, Green Teacher, Issue 104, pg. 8-11, November 2014.
This article looks at how the topic of climate change can often provoke deep emotions in students, and suggests that instead of shying away, teachers should use media literacy activities to foster discussions of what the future holds. The author stresses the importance of connecting to the emotional lives of students when raising the complex issues around sustainability.

“Looking at World War I Propaganda” Chris Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 78. Number 5, pg. 235-240, October 2014.
The article explores teaching about WWI through interactive decoding (analyzing) of propaganda posters from different countries. It lays out the theory and practice of media analysis for teaching critical thinking, questioning strategies, media literacy and core social studies content.

“Teaching Critical Thinking Through Media Literacy” Chris Sperry, Science Scope, Vol. 35, Number 9, pg. 45-49, Summer 2012
“Constructivist media decoding in the science classroom trains students to carefully examine information
and messages in different types of media; to interpret meaning while applying knowledge and identifying document-based evidence; to ask a consistent set of questions about all media messages that address sourcing, meaning, and credibility; to draw well-reasoned conclusions after weighing the evidence, evaluating different interpretations, and reflecting on their own biases; and to share their observations and
conclusions and defend their analysis. The teachers saw this technique as a way of teaching inquiry related to everyday messages in the media.

“The Epistemological Equation: Integrating Media Analysis into the Core Curriculum” Chris Sperry, The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pg. 89-98, September 2010. In his Keynote to National Association for Media Literacy Education biannual conference in 2009, Chris Sperry draws lessons from 30 years integrating media decoding into high school social studies and English classes. Beginning with a 6-minute video from a high school academic performance about the Middle East, Sperry connects media literacy methodologies and materials to the development of core knowledge, skills, attitudes and motivation in adolescents. The article ends with lessons learned from 15 years working with teachers as Project Look Sharp’s Director of Curriculum and Staff Development.

“Voices from the Field: Sounds Great, But I Don’t Have Time! Helping Teachers Meet Their Goals and Needs With Media Literacy Education” Cyndy Scheibe, The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, Vol. 1 No. 1, pg. 68-71, September 2009.

“Media Construction of Presidential Campaigns” Chris Sperry and Sox Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 71, Number 7, pg. 366-371, November/December 2007.
A study of select campaign posters, cartoons, and ads teaches students to critically analyze messages from media source and to understand the role media have played throughout the history of American elections.

“Piaget and the Power Rangers: What Can Theories of Developmental Psychology Tell Us About Children and Media?” Cyndy Scheibe, 20 Questions About Youth and Media, S.R. Mazzarella (Ed.) (2007). 20 Questions about Youth and the Media. New York: Peter Lang.

“Seeking Truth in the Social Studies Classroom: Media Literacy, Critical Thinking and Teaching about the Middle East” Chris Sperry, Social Education, Vol. 70, Number 1, pg. 37-43, January/February 2006

Students are bombarded daily with a torrent of media messages, many of them with historical content. By selecting the right media documents for decoding, teachers can teach core content while guiding students to think critcally about these messages.

“The Search for Truth Teaching Media Literacy, Core Content, and Essential Skills for a Healthy Democracy.” Chris Sperry, Threshold Magazine, pg. 8-11, Winter 2006.
In this 2006 article from Threshold Magazine, Chris Sperry provides strategies and perspectives of using media literacy in core subject matters, such as social studies and language arts.

“A Deeper Sense of Literacy” Cyndy Scheibe, American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 48, Number 1, pg. 60-68, September 2004.
Basic principles and best practices for using a curriculum-driven approach are described, with specific examples from social studies, English/Language arts, math, science, health, and art, along with methods of assessment used to address effectiveness in the classroom.

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