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Showing posts from June, 2010

The Potential of Digital Storytelling

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Some of my recent conversations with teachers regarding publishing have raised the possibility of incorporating digital storytelling into the publishing frame...Somewhat fortuitously, Stenhouse Publishers announce the imminent release of Lisa Miller's book 'Make Me a Story- Teaching Writing Through Digital Storytelling'!So I present the following as something to consider.
The writing process and digital storytelling go together naturally. Just as writing can be a process of discovery, so can digital storytelling, where images, words, and music all work together to create meaning.
In her new book, Make Me a Story, Lisa Miller describes the power of digital storytelling as a tool for teaching writing and engaging elementary students. She walks teachers step-by-step through the elements of a digital story project, from prewriting and research through putting the story together in the computer using photos, drawings, paintings, video, narration, and music. Readers will also fin…

Understanding Writers With Output Issues

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Kid blamers exist in most schools. They rationalize the events in their classrooms by informing everyone that certain students are lazy, unmotivated, disengaged. While that may be the individual's perception, the critical question that begs answering is ‘why?’ If a student appears reluctant to write, to read, to participate in general classroom activities- that needs to be explored. It may be an issue external to the classroom, It may also be an issue related to the classroom or teaching style. Either way, to simply blame the student falls well short of professional responsibility. This issue of output failure is explored in “The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine. Levine argues the desire to be productive is universal but that drive can be frustrated by dysfunction that inhibits optimal output or productivity. Levine explains that difficulties associated with writing are far and away the most telling sign of output failure during childhood and teenage years. Output failure results in…

Experience Stillpoints

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Today I learnt the term ‘stillpoints’ I read about stillpoints in a book titled ‘Write Starts – Prompts, Quotes and Exercise to Jumpstart Your Creativity’ by Hal Zina Bennett. It’s Bennett’s word for those moments in our lives when we are totally at one with the now; we are so with what ever we are doing or feeling or thinking that everything else seems to stop.

In writing, Bennett sees stillpoints as aha! Moments created when our words strike a special chord, It occurs when we express something clearly, authentically and beautifully. It resonates as clearly as the ringing of a fine crystal bell

The closer a writer comes to describing anything as it really is, be it gruesome, embarrassing, uplifting, unconscionable, puzzling or loving that becomes a stillpoint that reminds us of our own humanity. They are those moments in writing that tell the truth as it is. When you read try to notice the stillpoints. Share those moments with your students.

PUBLISHING – A plethora of possibilities

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  I have to state from the beginning that I am greatly concerned by what has happened to the publishing of student writing in many schools. Like fast food it has become standardized. A one size fits all mentality often applies to the publishing phase of the writing process. Yes, it is time consuming, but publishing presents a powerful mechanism for motivating students to continue reading and writing.Publishing should not be every student publishing their writing at the same time in exactly the same way. Publishing should allow students a strong sense of ownership over a host of decisions regarding the shape and form of the final product of their writing efforts. I think that for some teachers 'publishing' becomes a beast that needs to be controlled. This need to control is what ultimately stifles creativity and results in a pie factory outcome. Lets get back to giving our writers some options and a sense of ownership about publishing. Running concurrently with these options we…