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2018 Media Literacy Summer Institute

July 25, 2018 to July 27, 2018

Teaching Students to Question
Integrating Media Literacy and Critical Thinking in Social Studies

In this time when US teens consume more than 9 hours of media every day, when lies are more sticky than truth, and when biases matter more than facts, we need to embed media literacy and critical thinking throughout our teaching. 

Project Look Sharp's passion, generosity, and open-mindedness for this topic is unsurpassed. Come to learn. Come to change. The practice of critically thinking about media and its role in our society will spark you to view the world in beautifully skeptical and unfailingly curious ways.
--Kristen "Mac" Machczynski, GEMs World Academy, Chicago

This intensive 3-day training will give social studies teachers the skills, practice, pedagogy, inspiration and materials to effectively and continually integrate habits of inquiry and critical thinking into the social studies curriculum.   

100% of 2017 participants gave the training the top rating for…Usefulness of the approaches and materials for my educational context. 

Cost: $500 NCSS members / $595 nonmembers



Chris Sperry, Director of Curriculum and Staff Development for Project Look Sharp, has taught secondary social studies and media studies for over 35 years in Ithaca, New York.  He is the author of numerous curriculum kits related to global studies and U.S. history and co-author of the NCSS Position Paper on Media Literacy.  Chris is the recipient of the NCSS 2008 Award for Global Understanding.

Dr. Cyndy Scheibe, founder and Executive Director of Project Look Sharp, is Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College and founding director of the Center for Research on the Effects of Television.  She is co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and author of numerous media literacy curriculum kits.




You will walk out of this training with the resources, experience and plans for integrating inquiry-based media analysis throughout your curriculum - to engage all students in learning core social studies content, and becoming life-long-questioners of their mediated world.



Wednesday July 25, 9:30-4:30

Overview of the training, integration plan and practice sessions.  Introduction to “media,” teen media use, media literacy, Constructivist Media Decoding (CMD), and application to the C3 Framework (questioning, applying evidence, developing conclusions).  Writing CMD activity plans.  Newseum workshop:  Resources.

Thursday July 26, 9:30-4:30

Return to key issues raised on Monday, e.g. the challenges of teaching relevant, engaging, standards and inquiry-based activities about complex social content. Research on confirmation bias and teaching metacognition.  Tips for Decoding including Do No Harm, dealing with our own bias, engaging all students, copyright and fair-use, and integrating Project-Based-Learning with media literacy.  Additional approaches to media literacy integration. Newseum workshop:  Fake News.  Work time to prepare for Wednesday’s presentations.

Friday July 27, 9:30-4:30

TBD workshops related to the key issues from the institute (e.g. facilitating challenging conversations, skepticism vs. cynicism, staff development in our schools) with simultaneous small groups where participants lead decoding sessions. Newseum workshop:  Ethics and Journalism.   Participants share their integration plans for the school year.

Following the institute participants will be invited to Project Look Sharp’s network of trained media literacy educators with access to our PD materials for bringing this work to your schools.  


555 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001