Monday, October 17, 2011

Storytelling Spirit

spirit - October, 2011
I am not a good flyer.  I trust my iPad to get me through a flight that rises above the clouds.  I dread the dragging, silent minutes when "all electronics must be turned off."  On a recent return trip from CO, I turned to the Southwest Airlines magazine - spirit - for comfort, having exhausted Sky Mall on the flight out.

What a shock and delight it was to find the October issue's cover story to be "The Art of Storytelling."  The article is really about new formats for telling short stories, most of which can be digitally supported or enhanced.

The article can be found online here.  The digital version contains short story videos that obviously did not appear in the print version.  Splitscreen, an award winning short, should be shown to all ELA classes, analyzed for parallel plots, contrast, use of light and shadow, mood and tone.  Students in middle and high school are capable of making their own imitations.  Copenhagen is similarly powerful; it invites thematic discussions and comparison to other works on topics of age, loss, artificiality, love...(see an idea for its use below)

QuickMark download
The remaining stories are all contained in a .pdf file that can be downloaded at the end of the online article, or by clicking this link.  The possibilities for class use are endless!  I am especially excited about:
  • Using Popplet to create a collaborative "mind-map" story like "Things People Say to My Dog"
  • Using Wallwisher to create a collaborative, illustrated story - including video and photo - that appears on the wall as it is written.  What a great way to demonstrate understanding of setting, parallel and intersecting plots, historical events and timelines...
  • Using QR code (generate them at Kaywa or QuickMark), paper, and video to create student versions of "Copenhagen" (the .pdf contains a QR code that links directly to the video - cool!) - this can be a poster + cell phone project!  Students will need a QR reader on phones or laptops.  I like QuickMark the best for this. This method can also be used as great book project assignment.
  • Using Comic Life or paper to create visual "flow stories" like "First Day of Fall."  Another great flow story - "The Hole" -  can be found at Grammarman.  If students scroll down to the yellow sketch pad, they will find a hidden page that shows how the story was created.  
  • Using Prezi (show on iPads with the free Prezi Viewer app) or edu.Glogster (alas,  it seems to no longer be free - in fact, it may have disappeared) to create an album story like "Is Dolly There?"
  • Using smart phones to text a plot, like "Star-x-ed Luvrs" - I love the idea of adding photos to the dialogue.  On my iPhone, screens can be captured by holding the power button and pressing Home.  I assume this is a feature on other phones as well.  
  • Using smart phones and giffer to create an animated story.  It's easy - I did one!  Claymation rises to a new digital level.
  • Analyzing book covers, particularly by genre.  Misrepresentations abound.  Certainly Little Bee has a cover that does not begin to convey its poignancy. 
Who would have thought that an hour in the sky could be so profitable?

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