Make Me a Story

You know if you read a professional book during your summer break, it better be good!  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read Make Me a Story: Teaching Writing Through Digital Storytelling by: Lisa C. Miller.   This book met me right where I needed some help.

I have been very familiar with digital storytelling and have toyed with it in my work the last two years, but never felt like I could use it meaningfully with students.  I have used and enjoyed Photostory, Voicethread, Windows Movie Maker and imovie but trying to get students to really use digital storytelling has been a challenge due to the lack of computers for student use.

This year, we have the exciting prospect of three laptop carts to be used in classrooms and I'm looking forward to supporting some deep and meaningful instruction with theses new tools.  Lisa's book, Make Me a Story, was a great refresher for me on Photostory.  She gives step by step instructions with screenshots.  Perfect for the digital storytelling newbie or for a teacher to share with her students. The book also includes a CD with student examples of completed projects.  A great tool for your instruction!

Finding a way to use digital storytelling in a Reading/Writing/ Language Arts class is a natural fit for me.  In planning for other content areas, such as Science, Social Studies and Math, I have been floundering for purpose.  Everytime I think of a project it seems like an unecessary "addition" to the work that is already being done by the teacher.  In Make Me a Story, Lisa used a list provided by The Center for Digital Storytelling in California to state the elements that can make up a good digital story.

* an interesting question to answer
* impact
* a clear point of view
* economy
* the power of a student's voice
* art that helps tell the story
* the sound track

She has adapted this list to fit elementary students, with explanations of each point in her book.  This is the road map I needed for content area digital storytelling!  I can see using these elements to do a story explaining a math problem, explain a clear point of view on an event from history or use impact to demonstrate understanding of a science experiment or concept.  I can't wait to dive in and give it a try!

I had the pleasure to speak with Lisa Miller about her new book, so I took that opportunity to record a podcast (I've been wanting to try one for a while!)   We had a great conversation about meeting the needs of diverse learners while doing digital storytelling, class management and why you should give digital storytelling a try.  I hope you'll give it a listen and I hope you'll order a copy Make Me a Story to use with your lesson plans this year.  It's a great guide for all levels of digital storytelling learners!


Chris Smith said...

Nice Blog post and congrats on your first Podcast ...

I added a link to your page on the "Shambles" Digital Storytelling page ...

That's awesome, Chris! Thanks :)