Media Literacy and Film

Teacher: Joel Mejia; Media

School: Victory Collegiate High School

Project Goal(s): Improving the media literacy of graduating 12th graders and exposing them through project-based learning to the creative and technical aspects of content creation.


The class will study various forms of media and will demonstrate their understanding of each unit through the development and completion of group and individual projects. Using a combination of professional and amateur equipment students will be able to choose from a variety of mediums and roles to analyze, discuss, and produce content. Discussed will be important themes relevant to their career and postsecondary education lives, as well as a review of history and media theory leading up to the present day. Integration of VR and augmented reality will be an essential component of exposure to this new medium. But even though we will not be able to create VR content, we can certainly explore careers and the creative potential of the medium.

Fall Semester

The fall semester is focused on assessing their general literacy and media consumption, and providing filmmaking 101 workshops in rotating groups. After completing workshops in producing, camera operation, and sound recording each student will receive Level 1 certificates. As the semester advances, students will be able to attain up to Level 3 certificates in each “department.” The goal is to expose them to the rigor of certification and licensing. The curriculum also includes:


  • Media Consumption Survey

  • Persuasion Techniques

  • Advertising Terminology

  • Pre-production of :30 Commercial

Blogs, Vlogs, and New Media

  • Identity and Stereotypes in the Media

  • Intro to Blogging/Vlogging

  • Social Media (youtube, snapchat, facebook live)

  • Documentary vs Reality TV

  • History of Media in the 20th & 21st centuries

  • Basics of Video Production

  • Producer Role

  • Basic Camera Operation (DSLR, iPad/iPhone Video)

  • Basic Framing Basic Sound Recording and Interview Techniques

Spring Semester

The spring semester will be focused on advanced workshops, introduction to video editing and the various careers in the world of media. A school youtube channel and platform will be more closely integrated into the project based learning activities we do as a way for students to communicate with the greater VC community about important events and activities. The goal is to create a periodic newscast and incorporate a social good component that builds on the literacy and technical skills students gained in the fall.

The curriculum includes:

  • VR and augmented reality

  • Careers in Media

  • PSA’s and Community Building

  • Citizen Journalism

  • Music is the Message

  • Basics of Video Editing


“The primary successes I can think of include hands-on exposure to tools of the trade, in this case video production, improved awareness of media's ability to influence society and in their role as literate and critical citizens who are more and more consumed by technology. And finally, the ability to create with the tools right in the palm of their hands. The content that was created by the students was displayed on the HD TV display case and the walls of the school's hallways. Many of the younger students were constantly asking me what my class was about and how much fun my students seem to be having. So I am looking forward to taking the many lessons I also learned forward into school year 2018-2019.

“One of the major challenges we experienced as a class was the unreliability of the internet connection here at the school. Also, not being able to have enough equipment to go around was often a challenge I had to overcome with other activities happening.”

Cuneiform Pottery Lesson

Teacher: Eric Azcuy, visual arts

School: Urban Assembly School for Applied Math & Schience


Project Goal(s): To understand how to create a slab of clay that is a specific thickness and size using canvas and pressure.To understand the origins of written language. To clearly and neatly write your name using cuneiform from Mesopotamia. To understand technical manipulation of the medium of clay to realize a desired likeness.


Millinery Design and Construction

Teacher: Gary Osborne, fashion design

School: High School of Art & Design

Project Goal(s): The 11th grade fashion students will understand the history of hat making and how to construct their original hat design.



Students analyze different fibers, understand the process of hat blocking by creating a block from insulating foam, use tools such as a head size plate, pattern, create a concept, then execute the design in 3-dimensions.

The junior fashion class partners with Lisa Shaub Fine Millinery where students work on this project for 6 weeks for 10, 2-hour Artist in Residence sessions. This block will allow the students to create the millinery tools from scratch, understand the historical context of hat making and create an original piece.

All tools and materials are provided by the design studio and are the tools and techniques necessary and used in the fashion design industry today. Lisa coordinates 2 guest speakers from the Milliners Guild of NYC to come speak about the relevance of millinery and hat design in the fashion industry. The students have the opportunity to visit the studio and shop of Lisa Shaub in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


The students have the opportunity to showcase their hat in the High School fashion show with a written artist essay that illustrates their inspiration from a historical period and the process from concept, design to final piece. Each of the students' work and process will be on display at the Spring Arts Festival.

ETA funds were used for the residency fee.

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Lisa Shaub Fine Millinery

Create an Art and Literary Journal

Teacher: Adriana Yugovich, English

School: Humanitas Academy of Art & Technology

Project Goal(s): Students will launch a 32-page school art & literary journal and learn the process of publishing from concept and editing to design, layout and promotion. 

Description of Activities 


The Art and English departments joined forces to create a new class called Media Flex, focusing on exploring the process of creating, editing and publishing creative content to be shared beyond the classroom. Students took on editorial roles, engaged in art and writing critiques, and utilized Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to bring their new publication to life, then organized a book release/open mic event at a local cafe where students read their work and facilitated dialogue about arts advocacy with the community. 

ETA funds were used for the cost of printing the journals.

Global History and the Graphic Novel

Teacher: Steven Seltz, global history

School: Urban Assembly School of Law & Justice

Project Goal(s): To engage students in historical thinking on the cultural and political history of Iran through critical reading of Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) and creating their own original graphic novels

Description of Activities

Class spent seven sessions doing a close reading of Persepolis and learning comic/graphic novel techniques. Students selected a particular historical event in Iranian history to focus on and conducted research to understand the causes and effects of the event. Students then developed their own characters and storyline that would illustrate how the historical events were processed and contextualized, and they created original graphic novels. The project culminated with a classwide presentation of final projects.

ETA funds were used for art supplies and teaching artist fees.

Arts Partner(s)

Chris Fillhart (a freelance artist who has since moved to Pittsburgh)

Literature and Fine Art

Teacher: Lindsey Elenson, ELA

School: Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice

Project Goal(s): Students will investigate the power, freedom, and limitations of speech and self-expression and how visual art is used to express ideas.

Description of Activities

The project connected to a unit on the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in which a teenager stops speaking after being sexually assaulted and instead turns to artmaking as a way to express herself. Students were led by a teaching artist through critical dialogues on artworks by Picasso, Frida Kahlo and others to investigate how cubism, symbolism and self portraiture have been employed by artists to freely express themselves. Students created original pieces echoing these styles to visually communicate their own ideas of themselves.

ETA funds were used for art supplies, teaching artist fees and Guggenheim museum admission.

Arts Partner(s)

Monique Schubert - freelance artist

Chemistry and Film

Teacher: Josh Wickline, chemistry

School: Talent Unlimited High School

Project Goal(s): Utilize video-making to provide students with multiple entry points for understanding and explaining physical science concepts.

Description of Activities

Students worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas for short videos that would creatively explain key concepts from the chemistry curriculum. (i.e. illustrate ionic bonds through the story of a high school love triangle). Videos had to be narrative but include a clear explanation of the relevant science. Groups created a shot list and production schedule, shot and edited short videos that were then collected on a private Vimeo channel for Regents review.

ETA funds were used for an iMac and Apple TV.


"The best thing that happened during my project was that students were able to connect to chemistry through media that they valued, understood, and wanted to excel in. Because I held all groups to the task of staying true to the science, the students had to interpret the concepts through an artistic medium, and learned more as a result."

At the link below, you'll be able to view all of the video files the students created:

Additional Documents:


Evaluation Rubric

US History and Printmaking: Propaganda Posters

Teacher: Kristin Ferrales (2014-15), Tom Houston (2015-16); US history

School: Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice

Project Goal(s): Students will understand the motives and methods of governments and organizations that use visual propaganda to promote a cause or movement. Students will employ similar techniques to promote a contemporary cause of their choosing.

Description of Activities

One session in each initial unit of Spring semester was devoted to an examination of the use of propaganda (US imperialism, the Great Depression). Students then chose their own contemporary issue (Black Lives Matters, the Fight for $15), conducted research, and looked at examples of contemporary political art. Students then worked under the guidance of a guest artist to create an original linocut and make prints.

Arts Partner(s)

Abrons Arts Center


"Students were highly engaged in the process of creating their block prints. Students thought thematically about different topics/problems/events in the US History course. Students enjoyed having choice--they were able to pick any topic they were interested in. Many students incorporated specific art techniques that our teaching artist modeled for them in designing their final prints. Students took pride in their work at our final art show, and students in other courses visited the show and expressed interest in doing this type of work. Almost every single student said that they thought this unit should be incorporated into US History next year (and many wanted to have multiple projects like this one)."

"I wish I had planned for more time in the unit--ideally, if done again, this would be a 2 week unit instead of one."

"This was great--I truly enjoyed the planning and execution of this project! To do this again, I would need to budget for additional purchase of blocks and tools--we purchased some, but Abrons provided enough tools for all students to be able to create at the same time--with the purchased materials that is not currently possible.

Textile Design & Weaving for Fashion

Teacher: Gary Osborne, fashion design

School: High School of Art & Design

Project Goal(s): Senior fashion students will weave a textile in order to construct a simple garment for the Spring Fashion Show and to understand the evolution of weaving textiles for garments in history.

Description of Activities

Through a 6 week residency with Textile Arts Center, the students analyzed different fibers, studied the process of how a textile is produced, created a concept and design, and finally produced a textile through tapestry weaving and on a backstrap loom in the classroom. They also had the opportunity to visit the 3200 sq ft Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn with state of the art equipment and resource library. Two visiting professionals, a print textile artist and a weaving artist for NYC, came to speak to the students.

ETA funds were used for teaching artist fees.

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Pratt_fashion_show_Elena_H (166 of 225).jpg

Arts Partner(s)

Joey Casey, Youth Programs Instructor at Textile Arts Center


"Students worked with the Textile Arts Center to create and design an original woven textile and resistant dyed knit. The students constructed a loom, created designs from concept to final garment and then showcased these garments on the runway with a live model. This process took perseverance, innovation and commitment. The outcome for the design students was that the showcase built confidence and provided them with a professional skill set that they will take to college or career."

The Role of the Costume Designer

Teacher: Gary Osborne, fashion design

School: High School of Art & Design

Project Goal(s): Students will understand the process of a Theatrical Costume Designer from concept, construction, design & opening night of show.

Description of Activities

The class had 10 two hour mentoring sessions with a costume design teaching artist from the education department at Roundabout Theatre Company, one pre-show workshop and tickets to see Into the Woods at Roundabout. During the mentoring sessions the students analyzed the script and realized the design of Into the Woods through concept boards and creative collaboration. The final product was the original costume designs for the characters of the play with fabric swatches.

ETA funds were used for artist in residence fees and planning time as well as show tickets.

Arts Partner(s)

Roundabout Theatre Company


"The students were able to understand the role of a costume designer working on Broadway and Off-Broadway. The students designed a musical and were able to go through the process that a professional costume designer goes through. Swatching at fabric stores, Meetings with Design / Director team, Script analysis, visit to costume shop (Eric Winterling Studio). This all culminated with actually seeing the show that the students designed with a Q&A from the actual costume designer.

"The students were able to experience the variety of careers in the apparel industry outside of fashion."