Tag Archives: digital storytelling

Gathering Digital Story Resources

After completing my digital storytelling project, I am gathering additional information and resources to use for creating a teacher resource wiki.  My goal is to create a resource sharing my experiences using digital stories in the classroom as well as to collect information from other educators who have used digital stories in their classrooms.  If you have created digital stories with your students, please take a few minutes to fill out this google form to share your thoughts and ideas.   Thanks for your help! 😀

Please fill out the form, then click submit so I can review your responses. Thanks again!

Digital Stories Questionnaire

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Storm Stories

laffy4k

Dark Clouds over Huntington, Indiana

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the grade four students while creating digital stories.  I will definitely use this project idea in my classroom.   This was a great learning opportunity for teaching with technology and I learned how to support my students interests and learning needs.  This project challenged my students to think creatively as well as to build on their problem solving abilities.   It is an engaging project for the students to teach others about their thoughts.  I know there are many possibilities for students to create these stories in various subjects in the Saskatchewan curriculum.

It was a wonderful to see the students engaging and learning to create their own stories.  I saw the confidence and pride in the students while they worked on their stories.  This project gave them a sense of ownership of their learning. They had to make choices to create their stories and decide on the text, pictures, fonts, and transitions  appropriate for their stories.  It took responsibility and co-operation to create the stories.  It was rewarding to see the happiness and excitement the students shared during the process of creating the stories.

I felt that my job moved from directly teaching the students in the lesson, to becoming a facilitator to their learning.  I took the role of supporting the students and offering suggestions rather than telling them what they should do.  The stories were solely their creations.   It was a great experience for me to learn how to let go and allow the students to explore and make their own decisions.  As well, it was rewarding to know I am helping them develop skills and tools they can use in the future.

Reflections from the students during our process:

“This is the best assignment ever, Miss Teale!”

“This is fun!”

“Cool!”

“I didn’t know I could do that.”

“Can we do this again?”

To wrap up our learning and exploration of digital stories, I am visiting the Grade Four students again before the end of April 2009 to have a celebration of learning.  We are going to invite the parents in for the afternoon and share all the stories the students created about storms.  It will be a great opportunity for parents to see what the students have been working on and for the students to share with their classmates the work they have completed.  I look forward to celebrating at the end of the month!  As well, I will be creating a CD of all the stories for each student to take home and share with their friends and family.

Here are a few examples of our storm stories:

The Tornado

The Crazy Storm

Blizzard

The Big Storm

The Hail Storm

Finishing Our Storm Stories

digital-story

On April 3, I was able to make a trip and visit the grade four’s to continue working on our digital stories.   I was a bit nervous starting the day because it had been a few weeks, since my last visit and we had a lot of work to do in order to get the stories completed.   After reflecting on my previous lesson, I decided that the best way to teach the students about creating digital stories using Photo Story 3 was to work with one group at a time.   Since I only had one day to finish the videos,  I felt that this was easier for me to monitor and help the students with questions during the process.  As well, I felt that I could focus on each group by helping them organize and arrange their stories.

I was fortunate to have help from @peglaws, who spent the day working on the stories with the students.  I took one partner group and she took the other group of students.  We worked in the same computer lab, so we were able to help each other and support the students together.   The day started off a little slow because it took time to get the students set up and ready for the process.  As we continued working, Peggy and I became more aware of how to support the students, as well the students became more confident with using the program.  It seemed that with each group, the time spent became shorter and shorter.

Here is an outline of the digital story making process:

Peggy and I each took a group of students to teach them the process for making digital stories.  Each group had one computer to share and work on creating their storm story.  The students had to take turns working on the stories and share responsibilities during the step-by- step process.

import-pics

Step One: Open Photo Story 3, create a new project and import the pictures we saved last day on the student’s account. This was very interesting process because some students had trouble saving their pictures properly to their account, so many pictures were lost.  We helped the students find any pictures saved in their file and import into the program. Then, if more pictures were needed, we searched on Flickr or Google Images and saved them in a digital story folder.  Peggy and I assisted the students to ensure this step went quickly, so not too much time was spent searching for pictures.

story-board

Step Two: When all the pictures were imported, the students worked putting the pictures in order by clicking and dragging them into place.  They used their story boards to help them place the pictures in the correct order.  During this step, the students deleted some pictures as well as decided to add a more pictures to complete their stories.

adding-title-page

Step Three: This step allowed the students to add titles to their pictures.  The students discussed the importance of titles and experimented with creating titles for various pictures in their stories.  The students were able to decide on font style, colour, size and positioned the text appropriately on the pictures. As well, at this time students added a title page for their story.  We retrieved a variety of coloured blank slides from Jakesonline.  The students decided on a title page colour, then added the story title and author names on it.  During this step a few students tried changing the effects of their pictures, but most preferred the original pictures with no effects.

voice-6

Step Four: The students had the most fun recording their narration for the stories.  Previously, I had explained to the students that they could decide on how to record the narration with their partners.  I challenged them to try and think of different ways to record their story.  Most groups took turns reading every second page and read the title page together.  Only one group choose to have one partner read the text while to the other partner made sound effects in the background.   It was very interesting to hear the students practice and record their voice narrations.  It was a neat partnership to see the students share responsibilities and help each other with the recording.  In pairs, the students decided who would record the voice and who would click the record button.  It was a valuable step for the students to be able to review their recording and choose to erase and re-record when necessary.  The erase option helped take the pressure off the students when recording their part of the story.

editing-voice

Step Five: The next step with using Photo Story 3 is to customize motion.  I allowed the students a few minutes to explore this option, but due to time constraints, many groups skipped over this step.  The students thoughts that the automatic transitions and motions looked good.  If I was to work with the students again, I would allow them more time to play and explore with picture motions and transitions because now they have an understanding of the program.

editing

Step Six: This step is for adding background music to the story. For my lesson, I decided that the students would not complete this step for this particular story because we did not have time to discuss or explore the options of adding background music.

Step Seven: The last step is saving the projects to a computer file.   Peggy and I helped the students saved the stories to each students account, by browsing through files and selecting the correct location.  We made sure to save it as a Window Media Video (.wmv) file.  Then, we had the students change the settings of the project because I planned on uploading their videos onto my You Tube account.  We rendered the movie as 320 X 240, which makes it easier to post on-line, rather than the normal 640X 480.

finished-story

Step Eight: Each group viewed their story 😀

Digital Stories About Storms

Prairie Storm

This week, I have been busy planning and preparing for my visit to Carlyle Elementary School.  I am going there on Friday to start our digital stories.  My cooperating teacher and I have decided to have the students create their stories about a personal experience with weather storms.  The students have already completed writing a short story about a storm, so the first step is to organize their ideas into a story board.  I have created a story board template for them to map out ideas for images and text.

I have sent a note home explaining our project and asking students to bring relevant pictures to scan for their stories.  As well, I plan to have the students search online for real images of storms.  I am a little nervous about the students searching for images, so I am going to find specific sites for them to find pictures on for the stories.  I have done a brief search on flickr and the storm photos are amazing!  If anyone knows of a great photo website the students can use, I would love to hear about it.

I have never created digital stories before, so this whole process is new and exciting for me and the students.  I am a bit nervous about the project and how everything will come together in the end.  I think my biggest struggle is that the students I am working with are two hours away from me, so I can not work on it whenever it is convenient for me.   It has taken some major planning and organizing schedules to finally get my first visit in to work with the students.  Also, I am not sure of how long it will take the students to create their digital stories.  I know that I will be making a few trips to the school in order to get the projects complete.

During my planning, I am definitely learning the importance of collaboration and support from others.  I am relying on support from my cooperating teacher to help me distribute notes and inform the students about the project.  As well, she is booking the computers and other equipment we need for the project.  The school division technology support teacher is helping me with gathering equipment and resources for this project.   Also, many people on twitter have sent their ideas and support for creating my project.  These ideas and resources have helped me develop a thorough lesson plan.  I definitely feel more confident about this project from all the support and guidance I have received over the past few weeks. Thanks everyone! I will keep you updated with my progress on creating digital stories with my students.

Getting Started

Finally, I have a few minutes to work on my final project for ECMP 455.  I decided earlier that I am going to create digital stories with my internship classroom in Carlyle, SK.   My plans are slowly coming together and I hope to make it to the school next week to work with my grade four students.  I am actually glad to have waited to work on this because the past three ECMP classes have been very beneficial to my project.  Dean Shareski presented and discussed with us the importance of visual design for creating videos as well as information about using flip video.  These presentations provided me with resources and ideas to get the students started on their stories.  As well,  Alec Couros provided us with a list of digital storytelling resources.

We had an amazing presentation from Alan Levine talking about 50+ ways to tell a story.  Allan talked about his experience in creating digital stories and shared many good resources to use for creating our own.  His wiki has an abundance of resources for digital storytelling, which many of them I had never heard of before.  During the presentation, he went through and highlighted a few of his favourites, which I thought was very beneficial for starting my own project.  Honestly when I saw the big list of resources, I panicked and thought how will I ever know where to start?  I am the type of learner that likes to have freedom of choice, but specific boundaries.   I feel that way especially working with technology because I do not feel confident enough to explore it solely on my own.  I like some direction to get me started.

From conferencing with teachers at the school and getting a better understanding of the resources available to me, I will start the students out with creating their stories on Photostory 3.  I know that there is so many other options and tools to use, but these students have very little experience with using technology.  In January, the school received all new computers, including laptop carts for transporting into the classroom.  All the computers have Photostory 3, so I think it will be easy for the students as well as the other teachers to use.  I hope to create a wiki about digital storytelling for the teachers at the school, so they can continue to create stories in their classrooms.  I only have a few more things to finish up before I introduce the lesson to my students.   I find the hardest part about planning for digital stories is finding a topic of interest.  I definitely want it to be a creative and fun project, yet I do think that the students need a general topic and guidelines to follow.  I want the students to experience the chance to share their own voice.  If anyone has some topic ideas or experiences they would like to share about digital stories, I would love to hear about them! 😀

I am ready to begin my process of creating digital stories with my students, which I will share my progress on this blog.  Thanks again to everyone who sent me resources and ideas about digital storytelling! If you are interested in learning more about this topic, a colleague of mine, Sarah Hill posted a wonderful explanation of three important steps for digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling

I have decided on doing my major project for ECMP 455 on creating a digital story.  I have never created one before and I am very excited to get started.  Last week,  several people sent me links and resources  on twitter to help me get started on the project. As well,  on Friday I made a visit to the school where I completed my internship and made arrangements to work with the grade four students on this project.

On my visit I met with my cooperating teacher to explain my goals and ideas, as well with the technology support teacher.  My cooperating teacher is very excited to get started and learn how to create the stories, so she can continue making them with her students.  The technology support teacher and I spent time discussing the programs to use and created an outline for my project.  We planned out the materials I would need to get started and any materials I will need while teaching the students.  It was very resourceful to hear her ideas and advice for my project.  She gave me some suggestions on where to get started and told me that she would help me along the way.

I left the meeting feeling really confident about my project and excited to get started.  Now, I have to start gathering my thoughts and creating a lesson plan to deliver to the students.  It is really comforting to know that I have a lot of support from everyone involved to get my project up and going.  I think that is a a major key for trying new things because that support  is what will help me through all the challenges and celebrate my success!  As well,  the students are really excited to get started on the project.  They do not know exactly what I will be teaching them, but they know that it includes them using the new computers.  In January, the school got all new computers, including laptops that can be moved into the classrooms, so the students are ready to try the computers.  I can already see the first step in my project is getting the students familiar with the laptops and developing rules/procedures for them to follow while using the computers.

I am truly looking forward to this project and I know this is an amazing learning experience for myself and the students.  As well,  I know it will be very rewarding to work with all these supportive people!