My notes from the MACE 2007 presentation by Tonya Witherspoon.

Tonya’s wiki site:

Let kids pick pictures which inspire their words

Clay Animation to retell a novel or a story
– good b/c the set is very small: a shoe box size
– can be done with just a webcam
– costumes can be very small
– in 1 classroom can have 6 projects going
– when I give a kid a videocamera the set is automatically lots bigger

I love to watch kids create things with clay
– what can you do with clay animation?
– someone recently asked for a list of Kansas content standards that can be supported by clay animation stop motion movies
– they all can: all standards, all content areas
– you can retell anything, communicate anything
– example here is retelling a novel
– you can do anything!
– show how chemicals bond, show butterfly life cycle

Really like retelling a story or a novel: this is like summarizing a novel in a paragraph (that is often difficult to do with words)

Also virtual field trips
– ditching the fire station field trip and doing something new
– fire safety and fire prevention were still very important
– making a virtual field trip of this year’s trip, to use next year

Important part of the field trip was fireman putting on all his equipment, because when firemen come to save children in their burning houses they are often scared because they look like they’ve just come out of a UFO

Virtual Tour: Mueller Elementary, part of desegregation that kids are still bused into
– kids could take 12 pictures and caption them
– project was created so families that received the letter “your child is being bused” would be able to go online and see this tour
– big rule: you couldn’t say “This picture says” or “In this picture you can see…”
– kids wrote GREAT captions, revised these many times, because this was going out on the Internet to
– authentic audience, that STAGE caused the kids to do SO MUCH more writing

Wikis have really made a “create your own adventure” or “add on story” easier

The Adventure in the Haunted House
– worked out that students were in charge of 2 different segments
– very fun for the kids, they really felt like they owned this story
– teacher had been trying to teach point of view: 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person
– reading this completed story (which had multiple problems) immediately helped students see what the difficulties were with point of view (everything was told from the narrator’s view)
– there were lots of pronoun issues: who did the pronoun refer to
– so each time this led to re-writing
– teacher finally said we can probably go forward with spelling errors, and the kids said NO!

Wiki is a webpage that can be easily edited
– invitation to contribute to a collaborative story on a MACE wiki

Other tools
– PhotoStory3
BubbleShare – can also add notes and annotations to pictures
– Published a book called “Expressions… THe Written JOurney”

Comic Book Maker and Comic Life are comic book tools

Additional digital storytelling tools including eZedia
– KISS, focus on the story

Favorite books by Joe Lambert and Bernajean Porter – Literature for Your Eyes and Ears – National recitation project

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One Response to Digital Storytelling: Empowering The Student Writing Process

  1. Kevin H. says:

    Hi Wesley

    Tonya and I are friends through the National Writing Project, so it was nice to see her name pop up in my aggregator through your site. She and I talked a lot about claymation this past summer. We both have witnessed some different aspects of the creative process as students take control of the story in a production that is multi-modal in a variety of ways.
    I have done a collaborative claymaking story project that pairs my sixth graders up with second graders, but she gave me some new tools to try this year (starting next week .. gulp) for stop-motion animation.

    Here are some experiments with stop-motion that I have been attempting before I introduce it to my students. I invented a character called Thelonius and I have been using him in various ways. Plus, my own children were so enthralled with what I was doing that they decided to invent and film their own movie series:

    Sounds like a terrific workshop. I wish I could have been there.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Kevin H.

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