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Oral Tradition-- digital storytelling

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Keywords: animation, digital storytelling, oral tradition, creative writing, character sketches
Subject(s): Writing, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 8
School: Kannapolis Middle School, Kannapolis, NC
Planned By: Karen Braswell
Original Author: Brandy Lockwood, Trafford
Following a unit on the oral tradition, students complete all prewriting for characters, setting, and plot. Once the detailed character sketches are written, and the plot and setting prewriting are completed, students should begin planning a digital storytelling of their original story using stop-action video.

The unit took about 8 weeks to complete. This is a culminating activity that we spent 2 weeks to complete. Students worked on Mac computers in our library's computer lab. Students created clay characters and original backgrounds then took digital photos. They uploaded photos and sound effects to iMovie to create original movies of stories.

Student Handout Packet:

Myths, Tall Tales and Legends
A creative writing assignment for digital story telling

Using your self-selected reading journals and writing assignments from your previous independent novel studies (and any knowledge of characters you have gathered over the year), you will write several character sketches and use them to build your own tall tale, urban legend or modernized myth! You will need to add secondary characters, decide on a setting(s), and include the other features of the particular type of story from the oral tradition you choose to create!

Required Assignments Write in the due dates as they are given

1. 1-page character sketch (main char.) 15 points Due: ________

This will be your main character in your original story, and will be based on characters from your past reading.

2. 1-paragraph character sketch (secondary char.) 10 points Due: ________

This will be your secondary character in your original story, and may or may not be based on characters from your reading—you may make this one up!

3. (1) page free-write to generate plot ideas 5 points Due: ________

You may do a web instead of a structured writing…this is to show me you did some “pre-writing”

4. (1) page description of your setting 5 points Due: ________

See above!

5. Oral Presentation—Stop Action Video 40 points Due: ________

6. Presentation—Authentic Story Telling
To be completed AFTER stop action video 15 points Due: ________
See specific requirements on the back of this page

Total Points Possible= 90

***All written assignments will be turned in together with your rubric—I will check to see that you are “on track” with your assignment by using the agreed upon due dates, but you will keep all items to turn in together!

Specific Requirements:

Visual Aide=Stop Action Project
To create an authentic story from the oral tradition, you will rely on your prewriting to share your story line. Basically, you should choose a song that represents the theme of your story, and you will turn your story (before it is formally written) into a music video. To be prepared for this portion of the project, you will also need to decide what materials you will use to represent your characters/setting—You may use legos, clay, stuffed animals, baby dolls, action figures, paper cut outs, etc.

Story Board—You will complete a storyboard for your stop action video project in order to share the basic details before you begin taking your photos. It should be colorful and neat.

Oral Presentation—You will share your story after your digital presentation. You will not recap, highlight, describe, or give details about your story; you will tell it as a storyteller would. You may use props, dress in part, etc. To increase authenticity! You are not responsible for turning in a “polished story”. Instead, write down as much as you need to write down for yourself so that you can practice telling your tale!

Helpful Hints:

1. Be creative.
2. Think your ideas through before you write them down.
3. Explain your story thoroughly.
4. Write about things you know about.
5. Be sure to think about the elements of stories from the Oral Tradition that we discussed.
6. Have fun with this assignment.
7. Do your BEST work!

Step 1: Character Sketch Brainstorming
For use with major & minor characters

Directions: Answer as many questions as you can on a separate sheet of paper for EACH of your characters. Use this sheet as a guideline for your minor character as well. You may not be able to answer all of these questions right away, but as your character is developing in your mind, you will be able to use this as a guide to write your character sketches.

Name ______________________ Period _____________

Full Name:
Nick Name(s):
Marital/Relationship Status:
Weight/Body Structure/Physical Faults:
Physical/Mental Health:
Religious Beliefs:
Career/Past Careers:
Dreams/Life Goals:
Dialect Examples/Frequently Used Phrases:
Quirks & Idiosyncrasies:
Good Qualities:
Bad Habits:
Pet Peeves:
Natural Talents:
General Temperament:
Background Information--
Character’s happiest and saddest moments:
What is this character's major goal?
Why is this goal so important to this character?
Are there any events in the character's past that affect the significance of this goal?
Describe your character’s life until now--motivations, family situation, and pet peeves--anything that comes to you:
Other questions you can try to answer to FULLY develop your character:
What is the one thing in the world your character would do anything to avoid? Why?
What has he already done to avoid this?
What do you see him doing in the future to avoid it?
What is the one thing in the world your character would do anything in the world to have? Why?
What has he already done to try to obtain it?
What does he hope to try in the future?
Remember—show don’t tell—give concrete evidence for a specific character trait you want to share with your audience

Grading sheet to be turned in with final project

1. 1-page character sketches (main char.) ______/15 points

2. 1-paragraph character sketches (secondary char.) ______/10 points

Character Sketch Grading Criteria: Character sketches must include a variety of details from planning sheets to give reader an accurate description of each character. You should include specific details and vivid examples to help the reader/audience formulate an image of your characters. Use handouts, class notes & online resources as models for these sketches.

3. (1) page free-write to generate plot ideas ______/5 points

4. (1) page description of your setting
______/5 points

Planning: Setting & Plot Grading Criteria—Through either a paragraph or a graphic organizer, you should include enough details to accurately and completely describe the time period, geographical region, basic story line, etc. of your story. This will serve as a planning tool for you and will ensure that the reader is able to capture the basic necessary information of your story.

5. Oral Presentation/Stop Action Project ______/40 points

Presentation: Short story & Oral Presentation Grading Criteria—Your short story should be original, creative, and full of imagery and should follow all criteria for a story from the oral tradition. Stories should be rich in cultural references & detail. Stories may entertain, persuade, or inform (based on the appropriate author’s purpose for the type of story you are writing). You will present your stop action video to the class. You will be critiqued on the quality and creativity exhibited in your final product—both written & multi-media portions.

6. Oral Presentation/Authentic Story Telling _______/15 points

Total _________/ 90

Name: ___________________________________
Period: _________

Story From the Oral Tradition—Telling of an Original Myth or Folktale

Name _________________________________

After completing your digital version of your story, you should be able to step into the shoes of a storyteller and share your story with the class. In lieu of a formally written piece, you will do whatever drafting you need to do to get your story in order for yourself. After presenting your digital story, you will then TELL your story. You will not summarize, recap, or describe your story; YOU MUST tell it.

We will begin sharing digital stories and oral presentations next week. Below is the rubric for your presentation. If you partnered with someone else, you will still tell YOUR OWN story (as planned from your sketches and other pre-writing information). I highly encourage choosing to use dress, props or dialect appropriate for your story! You may not READ your story.

Authenticity of Oral Presentation

3=excellent 2=average 1=needs work 0=not evident

_____ Oral Presentation is rehearsed but not memorized

_____ Storyteller is authentic & relaxed

_____ Visual Aide/props enhance oral presentation

_____ Storyteller is loud enough & addresses the audience

_____ Storyteller uses dialect or appropriate words to enhance authenticity

________/15 oral components
Materials: Video Tools, Computer Accessories, Animation