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Croton Teachers Use Jacob Burns Film Center Training As Part Of Curriculum

Pierre Van Cortlandt media literacy teacher Johanna Mustacchi works with Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School seventh-graders to brainstorm ideas about respect as they prepare storyboards about Langston Hughes’ short story, “Thank You, Ma’Am.”
Pierre Van Cortlandt media literacy teacher Johanna Mustacchi works with Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School seventh-graders to brainstorm ideas about respect as they prepare storyboards about Langston Hughes’ short story, “Thank You, Ma’Am.” Photo Credit: Contributed

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School media literacy teacher Johanna Mustacchi and English language arts teacher Matthew Zinman are taking lessons learned in the Summer Teachers Institute at Pleasantville's Jacob Burns Film Center’s into their classrooms this year. 

The two worked with a small group of teachers from other Westchester County schools to pilot a new curriculum titled “Image, Sound and Story.”

“It’s a great way to ignite kids’ interest in our Advisory Program,” said Mustacchi. “I am super excited to be able to apply the Jacob Burns Film Center curriculum into both media and advisory.”

The teachers have been incorporating the curriculum into their classes this year and took a special opportunity to bring in a storytelling element during the Nov. 7 Advisory Program meeting with their two seventh-grade classes. The day’s theme was respect, which Zinman tied into the students’ earlier reading of Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, Ma’am.”

“Students are using the visual storytelling technique,” said Zinman, saying the story’s theme “interrelates with the Advisory theme of ‘respect.’”

Students began by writing down their definitions of respect. Examples included, “acknowledging other peoples’ boundaries,” “keeping our eyes on the speaker” and “realizing our actions affect other people.”

After discussing the story elements – setting, climax, conflict, etc. – students drafted five-image storyboards to tell their stories.

 

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