This is another digital story created by a student for our Dream Scenes Project. They really impressed me with their visions and their digital stories.
Peace (in the future),
Most teachers have a Dream Project for their students at the start of the year. It can be a valuable way to work closely with our new students and get to know them better. We find out a lot about a young person by their aspirations. Mine is a digital story called Dream Scenes and we finally … finally finished the digital stories up yesterday.
They are fantastic stories and I am impressed by not only the dreams, but also the way they quickly adapted to technology they have never used before — Photostory. And most have never used Paint for a real art project. Only a handful have ever recorded their voice.
There were many mini-lessons along the way but also, I actively encouraged students helping each other and once again, I am always moved by how much they are willing to share what they have discovered, even to people outside of their friend networks.
I’m going to share a few Dream Scenes over the next few days. Enjoy!
Peace (in the dream),
As part of a new network adventure called iAnthology (for National Writing Project teachers in the New England/New York area), we are hoping that teachers will share their writing. Of all forms. Including digital compositions.
This morning, I tried my hand at using some photos of a tree at our school as a metaphor for watching my students grow and change over the course of the year.
Does the metaphor work?
Peace (in the leaves of time),
Here is the first of three songs that my friend, John, and I have been practicing for a local open mic night. This one — called Katrina Blows In — was written in the aftermath of the hurricane and I performed it at huge fundraising concert that my school put on to support survivors. I was trying to get at a first-person narrative of someone stuck up on the roof.
I’ll share the other two videos in the coming days.
Peace (in songs),
Mark Twain arrived home this week, safe and sound inside an envelope. He is part of a group of Writer figurines making their way around the country by visiting various Summer Institutes of the National Writing Project. We’ve packaged the concept as a spy story, in which The Writers have been instructed by President Obama to investigate the National Writing Project and report back. The reporting has been done at a Ning site for technology-minded folks within the NWP.
What I’ve been doing, other than overseeing The Writers’ various journeys, is creating little stopmotion movies to keep the concept fresh and to poke fun at The Writers. Yesterday, I gave Twain his own feature, arriving home in one of my son’s Pirate Ships, floating along the blue waters of one of our futon couches. Meanwhile, we still have no word on the whereabouts of Edgar Allen Poe, who seems to have disappeared in the US Mail system.
I decided to try something a little different with this movie, using ComicLife to create the dialogue on images and then mixing up images and video. It was tricky and I am not sure I kept enough time for the reading of the lines. Let me know. I can always go back and re-edit, if necessary.
If you want to see the other segments of The Writers, go: First here and then here and then here. That should bring you up to speed.
Peace (in the fun),
One of my neighbors — a high school student who sometimes babysits for us — and his friends recently won a top prize in a competition with the National Math and Science Initiative for the music video they created that celebrates math and science, in a goofy geeky way. I get a kick out it, and they did a fine job with the production.
Check it out:
Peace (in numbers),
(This is part of the Slice of Life project)
This is a slice, a few days removed, as I have finished up the Quidditch video project that we shot with kids last week. The idea here is to begin to share our game of Quidditch with other schools and to celebrate playing the game for 10 years at our school. This project was fun to edit, if a bit time-consuming, but I like the final product. I realized early on that the video footage of the kids playing the game was too hectic to really understand from an outsider’s standpoint, so I moved to use still shots with the voice-over from the book.
Eventually, this will find a home at our school website, with written explanations to go along with the video.
Peace (in golden snitches),
(This is part of the Slice of Life project)
Next week, in our final lessons around paragraph writing, my students are going to be creating short digital stories around narrative paragraph writing. Their aim is to find a physical object, and write about the strong memories attached with that object. It could be a souvenir from a vacation, something handed down from a family member, a trophy or medal from a competition, etc.
Yesterday, I began by reading Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partidge by Mem Fox, a wonderful picture book about a little child who helps an eldery friend “find” her memories by giving her a series of objects. OK, the book is for younger kids, but mine were quiet and interested and attentive as I read this one aloud to them, and talked about our own relatives who have lost their memories over time.
This led to me sharing my own narrative paragraph story about a tea cup that used to be my great-grandmother’s. It reminds me still of her, many years later. This was first a podcast from last year, but I merged that old audio with some pictures. My students loved it and I hope it moves them to create their own wonderful narratives.
Next week, we move into Photostory for creation. This week, they find their objects, and their memories.
Here is my story:
Peace (in memories),
I am experimenting with a site called Xtranormal to see what it is all about. It’s a movie-making site in which you choose a character, type the dialogue and then have some controls over the movie screen, including the scenery, music and movements of characters. Essentially, though, the site takes your words and puts them into the mouth of one or two avatars that you choose.
It’s a bit disorientating, to be honest, but neat fun. You can then export the movie into YouTube or keep it at the site. It seems like it is all free for now, but there are hints that they will move to a pay-per-movie model at some point, so I am not sure if it is viable for the classroom.
I am working on one for the call for Year in a Sentence, just for something different.
Here is a short movie I made this afternoon called “The Poem in your Head.”
Peace (by putting words into the mouths of others),