What’s the Story Here?

Photo Credit: stumayhew via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: stumayhew via Compfight cc

Going through course 3 has changed the way I look at images. It has changed the way I search for images for my blog posts and presentations. It is changed the way I interpret them. I am not as literal when looking at or for images. I ask more questions about what the images could mean. For example, the image above caught my eye because the photographer very obviously has pieced together a story for us. What exactly each image means in the story is open to interpretation from each of its viewers. There are obviousl parts to the story, they’re obviously catching a train, probably on a trip somewhere. The part I love best about this whole thing though is that images are never exact or precise, they could hold multiple meanings and emotions all at once with no right or wrong answer. How about the feature image for this post, what do you think the gummy bears are up to? ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s Only Natural

Photo Credit: "The Wanderer's Eye Photography" via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: “The Wanderer’s Eye Photography” via Compfight cc

Like the wonderful workings of mother nature, storytelling probably is one of the most natural things to happen in a classroom. We’re always telling stories to our students, and asking them to tell us stories. Sure they tell stories in literacy, but they tell math stories too. They tell science stories whenever they record their findings and draw conclusions, and the same goes for social studies. Stories are an inevitable part of education, it is just the form that they come in has evolved through time. Digital storytelling is our 21st Century way of sharing stories with the world. I probably incorporate digital storytelling into my classes more than anything else because it integrates so naturally into almost every curriculum area!

Here is a recent example of a project that I’ve done in class. The first graders at our school were studying ‘Families’ in social studies and one of their objectives was to sequence major family events in their lives. The students created simple timelines in class sequencing four major family events, then during their session with me, we turned it into a movie so that they could narrate these events and share it on their blogs with friends and family around the world.

One of my favorite projects last year when I was teaching Kindergarten was having the kids create a stop-motion animation to illustrate simple past-tense. They worked in groups to illustrate the action verb, had to figure out a way to show that time had passed and then show the word again in past tense. I loved it mainly because of the all the collaboration that happened in each group but also because each group came up with different ways to illustrate time passing. Here are a few examples:

This didn’t quite happen in one of my classes but as a part of the Traveling Teddy Bears Project that I run. Two classes at my school participated in the project and I used a combination of Explain Everything and iMovie to create movies to share with the classes participating in the project. This summarizes some of the things the bears learned in their respective classes while they were at our school. Here is one of the videos.

It isn’t seamless, I was in a rush to ship these bears off to their next locations! But I do love the options that Explain Everything has to offer, I’ve used it before to put class books together as well. The students add their voices/video and it all then goes up on our class blog. Here is an example of a class book. Please note that there is a spelling mistake on one of the pages (see if you can catch it!). It was corrected in the actual class book ๐Ÿ˜‰

I could go on and on with other examples. I love digital storytelling because it has given younger students a voice and a way to share what they are learning before they can even read or write!

A Future Project…

An up and coming project is with the second graders, they are studying Pebbles, Sand and Rocks in science. They are coming to the end of their unit and will tell the story of sand using ThinkLink. They will layer videos of themselves explaining the different parts to the story of sand onto a still image. This will be a project they work on in pairs so they also develop the skills of video recording others.

4 Responses

  1. Pana, I love your ideas here for Elementary students. It is always so interesting when students are given the opportunity to collaborate and figure things out on their own. They are so incredibly creative.
    I especially liked your mention here of the use of “Whats the story here”. I have been using imagery for quite some time in class for writing prompts. However, I have not thought to use multiple pictures in one assignment. I think this is such a great idea. I think it provides some sort of structure to follow for the students, but remains open to imagination and interpretation. I am definitely going to use this in class!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad that you found my post useful! I’ve definitely changed the way I look at visuals after this course and will definitely be more aware of it in my teaching from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I fully agree that course 3 totally changes the way we look at images. I have started using more and more explain everything with my primary classes and I loved how easy it is to turn the projects into videos that they can upload in their blog postsยก

    1. Isn’t it wonderful how technology allows the work students do to be taken to that next level and shared with the world?! It was great to meet you at L2!

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