Searching for an Exploding Moment in Narrative Writing

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Objective

SWBAT write a developed narrative of real events using well-structured event sequences by creating storyboards for their own videos and developing narrative about the video.

Big Idea

Students find the most fascinating part of themselves and blow it up!

Let's Get Started: Brainstorming Topics for Narratives

10 minutes

At the beginning of class, students make a list of their five favorite things to do.  The goal is to pick up from the last class and brainstorm some potential topics for their narrative (W 9-10. 5). After they have completed the list, they share with their table mates their five favorites and why they enjoy doing them (SL 9-10.1).  

I call on one student from each table to share their favorite. Next I ask who else in the class enjoys that activity.  Once I ask a representative from each table I take a couple of volunteers, to report on their favorite activity especially if no one has shared that topic yet. This activity is simple however it gets kids thinking about things they enjoy and allows them to see what they have in common with their classmates and perhaps learn some interesting information about their peers. 

Building Knowledge: Pre-Writing is fun!

40 minutes

I emphasize the necessity of following the writing process to develop ideas. Many of these students are used to writing something the night before it is due.  I want to break them of that habit. They need to see how their ideas develop and their writing becomes stronger if they take the time to plan it out and get feedback before they turn it in. So, first I ask the groups to write the steps the the writing process as they understand it on the board.  I let them talk it out as a group before they put it on the board because not all of the students have had the same exposure to the writing process. Each group selects a member to go to the white board and write their steps.  Next we report out the steps and create a master list.

The master list should contain:

1. Pre-writing

2. Drafting (the claim and the body)

3. Revision (self and peer)

4. Editing (put on the final polish)

5. Publication (Best effort presented in the appropriate format for the assignment) 

Once we have our steps, I tell them to get out their vine project directions.  The second page is the pre-writing sheet for their narrative and the rubric is the third page if students want to reference it.  The sheet asks them to list their top 10 aspects of themselves in five categories:  personality, beliefs and values, interests, activities, and not sure of the category however it is a part of me.  After listing their top 10s, they narrow it to the top five.  For each of the top five, they have to explain how they can explode that moment into a VINE narrative. Eventually, they will write a narrative and create a digital media video illustration of that narrative.  I call the video the exploding moment. 

As students are working on their pre-writing, I circulate around the room answering questions, giving unsolicited feedback and redirecting distracted students. I allow them to bounce ideas off each other (SL.9-10.1). These digital natives like instant feedback especially from their peers. The trick is to keep them on task and not allow the discussion to turn into reminiscing about days gone by (W 9-10. 5).

I like to look closely at my student's pre-writing.  I can also learn much about them from what they do not choose. 

 

Building Knowledge: Blow it up: storyboarding for the digital native

30 minutes

I really try to emphasize the importance of planning.  When we get to research, students need to know that assumptions hinder development of paths of inquiry.  By forcing them to write down all of their options, I may not change their mind, but it does create a opportunity for them to see their options. Once they have chosen a topic for the narrative, it is time to sketch out their exploding moment. 

The next step in the process if for students to explode their topic.  I want students to create a VINE or Instagram video that tells a story.  VINE is limited to six seconds and instagram goes up to 15 seconds.  I told the students six to ten seconds.  The goal is for students to hyper-focus on a specific aspect of themselves and create a short video narrative of that moment; thus the exploding moment(W 9-10. 6). 

They have to fold a piece of paper to form six to eight blocks.  Each block of the storyboard represents a second of their video. This activity will help them plan their video as will as continue to develop their narrative (W 9-10. 5).

For this generation, social media functions as an on-going narrative.  Each individual student decides how much information to share as part of their narrative. They also let other perspectives chime in on their digital narratives as friends and family post additional pictures and make comments on their posts.  

I don't want them to just film six seconds.  I want them to think through how to tell a story.  They have to create a storyboard that maps out each second of their video.  Then when they write their essay they can fill in the details around the moment from their video in a way that will unfold the events to their audience (W 9-10. 3).

 

Closing Accomplishments

10 minutes

The last 10 minutes of class is for clean up and organization.  It takes 35 students a long time to clean up and organize.  As the students are putting away the color pencils and makers, I ask them what did you accomplish today and what do you need to do for the next class.

I make sure I check in with every student. Many kids have questions they want to ask but don't. When they have to tell me what they accomplished, it gives them the opportunity to ask questions. Some examples of questions are:  Can the video be more than 10 seconds? Do I have to be in my video?  How long does the essay have to be? Nothing shocking, however with a class this big a 10 second check in can accomplish a lot.