As of August 2018, Streetside Stories is now a program of Performing Arts Workshop!

Learn more HERE

21st Century Schools Project


Streetside Stories’ 21st Century Schools Project was designed to increase student proficiency in the arts, English language arts and 21st Century Skills. Funded by an Arts in Education, Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) Grant from the United States Department of Education, 21st Century Schools offered elementary and middle schools in three San Francisco Bay Area school districts an opportunity to support the development and implementation of Streetside’s media arts integration model. In collaboration with Hayward Unified School District (HUSD), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), 21st Century Schools integrated media arts and technology into core curricula in 4th and 5th grade classrooms and 6th, 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts and English Language Development classrooms.


The project focused on working with young people from underrepresented communities, where the majority of participating students identified as youth of color, and more than half were English language learners. All participating schools qualified for US Department of Education Title I funding. From the inception of the project in 2013 to the final year of programming in 2018, Streetside partnered with five elementary schools, three middle schools, 49 teachers and over 1,250 students in Alameda, San Francisco, and West Contra Costa Counties.

Each partnering school was provided with a mobile iPad lab and assigned a Streetside Stories Media Arts Integration Specialist. The Integration Specialists supported teachers’ integration of media arts through intensive professional development and co-teaching in the classroom over consecutive 10-week workshop cycles during a school year.


The goals of the 21st Century Schools project were to develop sustainable methods for media arts integration in the classroom that enhanced student learning and supported teachers in long-term implementation. This was accomplished through 1) increasing student connection to core material through projects based in identity exploration and personal narratives, and 2) increasing equitable access to technology by providing under-resourced schools with high quality tools, teacher support and training in media arts integration.


The following lessons were developed by Media Arts Integration Specialists Daven Gee and Van Nguyen-Stone and can be adapted for 4th-8th grade classes. Each lesson is focused on a generative topic and includes a lesson plan, slide decks, worksheets, a performance rubric and student art samples from the project. The lessons are designed to be taught in three to six hours, both during the school day and in after-school settings.

“I feel like this project is really more of a job than a project. You have to take care of your responsibilities, such as taking your props and finishing up your writing assignments. I believe that this project is one of the most complicated projects I have worked with.”
– 7th grade student
“The most meaningful aspects of this workshop were the academic standards that were tied into the art projects. It made me realize how much academic components can be tied into art projects.”
– 7th grade teacher

Lesson 1: Empathy & Awareness

Students increase their empathy and awareness as they produce found object photo stories by observing and discovering the material world, shooting  and editing stylized photos, and writing fiction in the first person.

Lesson 2: Identity & Perception

Students focus on identity and perception as they craft split self-portraits that represent their “true self” juxtaposed with a “perceived self,” combining writing, drawing and photo editing.

Lesson 3: Courage & Strength

Students reflect on their own courage and strength while designing storyboards and filming stop motion animations that bring their memories to life.

Lesson 4: Allies & Advocates

Students become allies and advocates for causes important to them as they create portraits with powerful campaign messages, combining portrait photography and writing.

Additional Resources

Here you will find additional teaching resources, some referenced in the lesson plans above, and some that can be used in other contexts.