Break-a-thon in a Box

Learning to dissect media messaging and scale curriculum

Students show off movie tickets won during Break the Super Bowl 2016

During its annual “Break the Super Bowl” event, The LAMP brings teens together to think critically about messages presented in Super Bowl commercials by remixing–or “breaking”–the ads in real time.  From the summer of 2015 through the early months of 2016, The LAMP decided to partner with the YMCA to experiment with expanding this event. These two organizations worked together to replicate and apply Break the Super Bowl activities during another major media event, the MTV Video Music Awards, with young people in Queens and Manhattan, and found that the media “break-a-thon” model that The LAMP had developed had a lot more potential than they originally imagined.  Rather than being limited to just one event or form of media, The LAMP saw that break-a-thons could easily adapt to both multi-day or one-day programs, and could be applied to a number of themes and media events.

Learning from their partnership with YMCA, The LAMP decided to publish their model, and created a free, online event toolkit called “Break-a-thon in a Box”.  This toolkit includes a robust set of best practices, templates, and resources for anyone anywhere to host their own break-a-thon.  The process of creating the toolkit challenged The LAMP to document their internal tools and practices for greater public consumption, which required that they find ways to explain their work so that it would make sense to those who are new to the concepts of breaking media and organizing events around it. This process also helped the organization narrow down its break-a-thon model to its core purpose: to talk back–or respond–to the stereotypes, misinformation, and hype that is presented in media of all kinds.

Lead Organization:
The Lamp

Partner Organizations:
YMCA

Project Goal:
To expand and replicate The LAMP’s Break-a-thon curriculum, which encourages young people to critically analyze media by remixing movie trailers, commercials, music videos and other sources of media in their lives.

Project Tags:
Media Literacy & Production, Writing, Youth Development & Leadership

Project Portfolio