Believe it or not: It’s a digital story

It’s nearing the end of the school year, and in grade five we are working on writing personal memoirs that span across the past 12 months. We’ve focused on different methods of autobiographical writing, such as personal narrative, vignettes, poems, and today we introduced snapshots.

A snapshot differs from a personal narrative or vignette in the fact that it is a micro-memoir, often just a few words or sentences, that captures the feel and events of a specific point in time. Cynthia Rylant’s book When I was Young in the Mountains and Ralph Fletcher’s book How to Write your Life Story served as our guides.

This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had the students reflecting not only on grade five, but on their entire time in elementary school at SSIS. ¬†Why not turn those snapshots into a living, breathing, digital story? From their brainstorming and writing they picked the most vivid snapshot they could remember, and we planned how to organize it into a digital story.

In a wikispaces page 50+ Web2.0 Ways to tell a digital story, it gives a pretty straight forward method of developing a digital story. 1: Outline a story idea. 2: Pick some media. 3: Find a tool to build your story. We had our story ideas, we just needed a way to share our stories. Some students suggested VoiceThread so we could incorporate both images and and voice recording, while others suggested that we create a video. I had my iPad at school today, and one student recommended we set up a “snapshot station” where students could go out and record their snapshot when they’re ready. We decided that to help the reader understand our stories, we would put the setting (more specifically the grade in which the snapshot took place) on a whiteboard in front of the speaker.

Each student shared their snapshot, while groups were in charge of the intro and the conclusion. The song, the theme from Greatest American Hero, is a class favorite and naturally found a place in our digital story. This was an excellent way to practice gathering snapshots for our writing, while creating something that can be used to share our stories. Enjoy the digital story we created today as a part of our memoir unit.

Rachel Gabbert


3 comments for “Believe it or not: It’s a digital story

  1. Avatar of Laura Paget Faulk
    May 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    This is such a great idea! I think I could totally pull this off with my 2nd graders. What a wonderful way to remember their time in elementary school :) My students are creating a memory book for our ABC countdown on Tuesday. I think I will have to set up my own “snapshot station” and get recording. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Avatar of Gary Bass
    May 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I like it! Your students will not forget you. So this is what a digital story telling project looks like.

  3. Avatar of jbass
    May 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I won’t forget them and I’m sure they won’t forget you or fifth grade fun!

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