MAM:LAB Media Arts Integrated lessons for Engagement and Community



MAM:LAB provides easy-to-follow arts integration lesson plans and the support of remote teaching artists to promote classroom community-building, teacher satisfaction and student engagement.

Our road tested media arts lessons are grounded in universal themes that affirm student identity, build community and promote interest in the academic content. Our goal is to disseminate replicable, theme based media arts lessons for classroom teachers that are easily integrated into classroom content and meet the SEL needs of their learners.

The two major components of MAM:LAB are (1) an online library of lesson plans that integrate media arts and (2) implementation support from a teaching artist.

Online Library

Our website will host two units of instruction, each of which can be implemented within one week and integrated into classroom content. The units are Exploring Identity through Photography and Representing Change with GIFs.

Teaching Artists

Recognizing the artistic competencies needed to implement each unit, MAM:LAB offers pre-recorded demonstrations of the media arts skills for each lesson that can be used for teacher training or to support student learning.  Alternatively, in-person artists can be hired or can volunteer at schools in their local communities.

Artsmatter student artwork and classroom resources:

Please visit the Artsmatter website to view our photography and animation classroom materials and student artwork: 

Student Artwork Identity Photo Essay:

Expected Impact

Evidence of Successful Implementation: Pilot Year 2020-2021

MAM:LAB’s media arts integrated lessons increase student and teacher engagement and promote community building in the classroom. Our first MAM:LAB classroom teacher successfully integrated an “Identity” themed photography lesson into her 6th grade English Language Arts curriculum. Students learned that light can create emphasis in a photo and used their LAUSD Chromebook cameras to produce and share photos of objects that represent their identity. We saw a marked increase in participation when students were learning through photography and plan to add an animation project to the module.


Our classroom teacher said, “MAM:LAB can be a way to engage students on complex concepts, it provides opportunities for students to collaborate and discuss and share ideas, it encourages students to feel free with sharing creativity which allows students to build community and a safe learning space. I also think it helps to build students oral communication skills and vocabulary.” Students also responded enthusiastically. When asked what they liked about the program, one student said, “I will tell my friends it is fun and you could do all sorts of things [with photography] like play like having to choose your position and camera angle to take the picture, and what kind of objects you want to show.” Another student said, “We got to do art in our class, who doesn’t like art?” Teachers report the media arts curriculum motivates students to attend and participate in class, and that making art together is fun!

Commitment to Equity

MAM:LAB lessons are grounded in themes that affirm student identity and build empathy and connections with classmates. Students will understand that each persons’ story and perspectives are valuable, and we can connect through our emotions, art, and experiences. MAM:LAB units are designed with student technology needs in mind, lessons are built to work on school issued devices so that every student can engage and build media arts skills.


In distance learning, the biggest challenge reported by classroom teachers was a lack of student engagement through the screen. Media Arts is a perfect solution because the art is being made digitally, students are creating in the same medium they’re learning in. When we’re back in the physical classroom, MAM:LAB will offer pre-recorded demonstrations by teaching artists that classroom teachers can plug in to teach media arts skills and draw on and extend the impressive tech skills students have developed through distance learning.

Adopt & Adapt

Any teacher can download MAM:LAB Lessons from the Artsmatter website and adapt to fit their classroom content. We understand that media arts training is a critical component of successful arts integration. Classroom teachers who have photography and GIF making skills can apply their knowledge. Teachers who need support building their photography and animation capacity can learn from pre-recorded demonstration videos created by MAM:LAB Teaching Artists, share these videos with their students or turn to Teaching Artists in their community and invite them in to model art/tech skills and facilitate artmaking and critique.

Resource Requirements:

MAM:LAB lessons are student tested and designed to work on low tech, school issued devices. The only resource investment would be teacher’s expanding their media arts skills in a specialized way, either independently, with support from MAM:LAB teaching artist videos, or by hiring a local teaching artist to support the project.

School Implementation

School communities can engage their local population to draw out hobbyists and experts who could model media arts skills for students.. Parents, coaches, and other community members might enjoy contributing their photography/ animation skills to the school community. MAM:LAB projects require only the basics of photography and GIF making which are easily “trainable.”

Inspiring Learning Communities

Students are bombarded with visual culture, especially photography and animation. The opportunity to see their own lives represented in these artforms through anchor artwork and to tell their own stories through media arts skills is powerful. MAM:LAB provides an opportunity for students to show their knowledge and creativity in a dynamic way. Students enjoy connecting with each other through their artwork and by building genuine trust and empathy, classroom culture is deepened and enriched. A healthy classroom culture benefits all members. Teachers report increased job satisfaction when their expertise and creativity is engaged through facilitating arts integrated lessons and connecting with their students

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