Digital Storytelling


I have been meaning to give digital storytelling a try, in spite of the fact that I am still very much a novice at most things techy.  My daughter made her first imovie in her seventh grade class – and each successive project became so elaborate that I was blown away… and terrified.  There were so many layers: artwork, sound, the narrative – how to get it all together to teach a class of 25?  As we made our way to the last week of my a.m. class’ Writing Workshop semester, I realized that I had let my nerves get the better of me, and that I’d better act fast so that these kids would have had at least one digital storytelling experience to remember.
Our final writing project has been writing a profile of a family member.  We’ve interviewed, drafted, revised and completed these…tomorrow we begin to use our profiles to tell a story digitally.  I’ve read and re-read this marvelous book in preparation:

Lisa Miller provides a clear framework for beginning to think about moving our kids’ writing off the page and onto a visual platform.  Her directions are easy to understand and implement, and the book is filled with resources and examples to refer to.  The last chapter is a step by step guide to using Photostory 3 – which I wish my school had as a program to work with.
Her chapters on storyboarding and planning were reassuring – I feel I can actually do this!  So, we walked through the process of using our profiles to plan our storytelling.  Since we will be recording my students presenting their profiles on my Macbook, we spent writing workshop marking up copies of these profiles as though they were scripts.  We used post its to plan the flow and the insertion of photographs and other visuals (an idea from Miller’s book) and mounted these on construction paper:

 The kids became really keen on making sure their transitions made sense, and that their presentations had flow (isn’t this what we’ve been working on all semester – making sure of the “so what?” and the natural movement of good writing? It was wonderful to see those skills being put to use in a  different format.  The postits made it easy to manipulate and add details/visuals/music/direction.  Tomorrow, will will break into small groups to peer edit and collaborate on the final planning sheets.  I will be armed with my flip camera and my digital camera to fet extra footage and shots, and then we’ll use my Macbook to create the final presentations.

I’ve been really honest about how unfamiliar I am with this whole process, but that seemed to motivate the kids all the more. “It’ll be cool..we’ll work together and figure it out!” one reassured me.  I have a feeling it will be cool…I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Elements of Digital Storytelling (adapted from “Make Me A Story”

3 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling

  1. How Cool! I look forward to your other posts about this project. I've had some students do work with iMovie for social studies projects but nothing to do with writing. I was thinking of doing some digital storytelling for our Explore More fest this year, so I will have to grab that book. Best of luck, I bet your kids will be amazing!

  2. I am so impressed with your passion for innovative and interesting projects. I am loving your blog – thank you for all of the concrete ideas and instructions!

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