Education Blog

Reflecting on Created Equal: Image, Sound, and Story

By Paige Grand Pré, Education Communications Associate 06.21.17

During the 2016-2017 school year, the JBFC and Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS)’s interdisciplinary curriculum Created Equal: Image, Sound, and Story was implemented in four Brooklyn schools with 14 teachers and reached over 200 students. Building on the JBFC’s pioneering media arts curriculum Image, Sound, and Story, the Created Equal curriculum uses media from both the 1960’s and today to draw connections between the Civil Rights movement and Black Lives Matter, helping students understand the ongoing struggle for equity and justice. 

By integrating media consumption into existing history, ELA, and arts curricula, Created Equal is designed to inspire young people to learn about the history of a seminal moment in the Civil Rights movement in America, understand the power of people and media to advance social change, and share their own stories about racial justice through the creation of multimedia arts projects. Students are empowered as historians, storytellers, media makers, and social activists as they grow to understand how the past and present are connected, shaped, and shared.

To celebrate the completion of the curriculum, the JBFC and BHS welcomed 100 participating 8th grade students from Ebbets Field Middle School, East Flatbush Community Research School and PS 165/Ida Posner School to BHS’s historical building on Wednesday, June 7 for a culminating event. All four schools are part of Turnaround Arts: New York City. The students shared photographs from their “Image” unit, protest songs from their “Sound” unit, and mini docs from their “Story” unit, all focused on the historical and contemporary issue of school segregation. 

The presented projects were stunning, and represented incredibly hard work on the part of dozens of students working collaboratively.

Teachers and students both completed reflections on the Created Equal curriculum for the JBFC, which will allow us to evaluate the curriculum’s successes and setbacks and enable us to strengthen the curriculum going forward. To gain a better understanding of the curriculum’s value in practice, we invite you to explore these highlights from teacher responses to our reflection prompts:

On what was most exciting about the Created Equal curriculum: 

  • “Seeing students excitedly engaged while studying topics that they generally find to be mundane, and constantly being surprised by their interest level and the quality of their work.”

On what students learned: 

  • “Ultimately, my students learned that Civil Rights is something we need to continue to fight for, and many of the strategies used in the past can still be effective today”
  • “Overall…students learned that subtle and overt racism still exists in New York City and the USA”

On how Created Equal will have a lasting impact on the way they teach:

  • “I will give my students more autonomy in expressing their learning and allow them to be creative.”

On the program in general:

  • “The program [Image, Sound, and Story] is fantastic and should be marketed on a grand scale”

We at the JBFC are thrilled to support these students as they critically engage with history through media, and look forward to the continued expansion of Created Equal next year.

Want to learn more about Image, Sound, and Story or bring the magic of media into your classroom, too? Registration for our Summer 2017 Professional Development is now open on our Schools & Teachers website HERE.