Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:35
By Sox Sperry
On February 18, during a community discussion at the library on the enduring importance of Black History Month, someone asked about how educators can most effectively engage student dialogue in a society shaped by institutions of racial entitlement and oppression. Dr. Margaret Washington and Dr. Robert Harris both said that it was through the use of contemporary media, especially film, that students can be stimulated to look more deeply into the critical questions about justice and resistance. Project Look Sharp, an educational initiative of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College, develops awareness of the primacy of media in our children's world as the basis for developing an innovative approach to media literacy education.
Fifteen years ago, Look Sharp's founders, IC professor Cyndy Scheibe and LACS teacher Chris Sperry, asked teachers what they needed to help their students to become effective media critics. Teachers responded that they needed tools that would allow them to incorporate media questions into the teaching of core content. Who made this message and for what purpose? Is this information credible? How do you know? Who might benefit from the message and who might be harmed by it? With this teacher mandate, Project Look Sharp offers trainings in the integration of critical-thinking media literacy into classroom curricula at all education levels. In 2012 we were invited to provide staff development experiences close to home for ICSD and at New Roots, and far away, in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
We have created eighteen curriculum kits with hundreds of lessons using media document analysis as the basis for teaching within a wide range of subject and grade levels. All of these are available for free on our website, www.ithaca.edu/looksharp. "Critical Thinking and Health," a first-grade curriculum, uses children's TV commercials to help students focus on food groups and nutritional messages in advertising. "Economics in U.S. History," a middle-school curriculum, uses World War I posters to explore the role of food production in wartime. A high-school curriculum, "Media Construction of Chemicals in the Environment," uses posters, book covers, and web pages on food additives to ask questions about worker and consumer health and about the intent of messages and credibility of sources. "Global Media Perspectives," a ninth-grade global studies curriculum, uses film clips to explore the 2008 food crisis in Africa and the cultural lens of its media construction.
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 23:15
Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
— Joseph Gallivan
By Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
In the late sixties and early 1970s when GreenStar was founded, hippies ruled the world. Oh yeah, man, there were straight-looking presidents and bankers; cops and crossing guards played their parts so they wouldn't wig-out the "straights," but the hippies were really running things. Most of the stuff we hold near and dear now was either created by hippies or it was stuff hippies let slide on through. Everything else is pretty much conservative conspiracy theory, like Skull and Bones, television, etiquette, and the World Bank. Seriously, though, by the sixties, the foundations for the world as we now know it had already been laid thanks to proto-hippies like Einstein and Jesus.
Einstein's theories had led to quantum mechanics, and in order for that to jibe with his theory of relativity, Einstein noted uncomfortably that some "spooky action at a distance" had to be taking place in the midst of our everyday reality. In other words, according to the quantum theories being proposed, events taking place here could have an instantaneous, simultaneous effect on events taking place elsewhere. This concept was too much even for Einstein, who ultimately rejected quantum physics because he did not believe that locality could be fluid in this way, and when he jumped ship, it cast a pall over all of quantum mechanics and its freaky theories.
So, while a bunch of hippies were buying grain and founding the awesome institution and co-op we call GreenStar, another group of underemployed hippie quantum physicists calling themselves the "Fundamental Fysiks Group" met in coffee shops near the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Northern California, to talk about a subject so crazy nobody else in mainstream science really wanted to touch it: the idea of entanglement, that things were connected in ways we could not easily perceive, leading perhaps to psychic and even paranormal phenomena. They were asking questions like: "Do subatomic particles influence each other from a distance?" and if so, "What are the implications?"
Friday, 08 February 2013 15:12
On Wednesday, Jan. 9., four busloads of people from the Ithaca area traveled to Albany to join in a protest against hydrofracking at Governor Andrew Cuomo's annual State of the State speech. GreenStar, which has taken an official anti-fracking position, contributed funding to offset the ticket prices for the buses. We invited some of those who went to tell us about what they saw, heard, and felt while they were there.
Inspired Youth Lift Their Voices
By Anna Kucher,
Ithaca High School student
One of the four buses that traveled from Ithaca to Albany was filled with over 40 youth, traveling to rally for a ban on fracking, move toward clean energy, and create a better future for themselves. While the sun rose on the horizon, some students slept while others chatted excitedly about what the day would hold. For some, it was their first time going to a rally, while for others it was their first time in the state capital.
The bus captain Ren Ostry, along with Ariana Shapiro, began leading chants, and then asked the youth to create their own. The entire bus practiced the chants together, and eventually started them later that day among the 1,000+ crowd.
Once in Albany, we had a large presence. Both the New Roots and LACS students held banners representing Ithaca and their coalitions of young people, such as the group started by LACS students, "NY Youth Against Fracking." Many people approaching the State of the State address were forced to walk past our banners, while in the capitol building, many also wrote comments to the DEC that were delivered by Ren Ostry alongside Sandra Steingraber and Yoko Ono on Jan. 11.
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By Alexis Alexander,
I'm thrilled to announce that Blue Sky Mission Club will perform at our annual Springtime Dance Party in the Parking Lot on Thursday, May 21. As every Ithaca dance-lover knows, May is the month when the outdoor music-and-dance season begins in earnest, brightening our lives as the rich bounty of local talent fills the streets and parks throughout the region. What...