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Memoir - The Gift of Memories

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Keywords: gift, Windows Movie Maker, memoir, PowerPoint, personal writing
Subject(s): Photography, Writing, English/Language Arts
Grades 7 through 8
School: Walton Verona Jr Sr High Sch, Walton, KY
Planned By: Amy Cody
Original Author: Amy Cody, Walton
Objective: To create a picture of a favorite person or pet for our readers, as well as to help them understand the "essence" of this person/pet and why he/she is important to you.

Step one:
Students select a favorite person or pet in their lives.

Step Two:
Pre-Writing: Students collect pictures, talk to parents to collect memories, using digital cameras, students take photos that are re-creations of places/items that are/were dear to this person/pet. Students can also opt to utilize abstract thinking in taking photos of things that symbolize this person - his/her character or symbols that represent why he/she is so important to them.

Step Three:
Students brainstorm the following for this person/pet:
Physical characteristics, memories, sayings, habits, character, smell?, sound? what would you often find them doing and/or saying? Why is he/she so important to you?

Step Four:
Students choose the photos- scanned or those taken- that are most appropriate for their purpose of expressing the importance and character of this person/pet.

Step Five:
Students highlight important words, phrases, or ideas from previous pre-writing gathered, as well as from their own brainstorming. These highlighted words/phrases/ideas will become captions in their multi-media gift.

Step Six:
Depending on teacher know-how and software availability, students can create a PowerPoint- incorporating the pictures, words/phrases, as well as an opening dedication and purpose statement and closing slides. PowerPoint also affords the opportunity to add music and sound as well.

Another option is using Windows Movie Maker to create a movie- pictures again can be used, but students can add a song (I often allow students to select a song that goes with their poem, reading the poem in front of the class with the song going in the background, as extra credit option.) transitions, and a lot of cool options that actually runs like a music video!

Step Seven:
Either project can be burned to a CD and students create a disc cover. They are excited about giving this as a gift either to the person or in honor of this person/pet to those who also love or loved them.

Step Eight:
With all this thought- both verbal, mental, and visual, students begin the process of creating a 15 line poem or students can write a memoir. In either case, students are writing TO this person or pet. Students should express important memories, why they are important, and why this person/pet is so special to them. The poem can be part of the PowerPoint or Movie if the student wishes, or as my students do, typed and printed on decorative pre-printed border paper and given as a gift along with the CD.
Scanner is available to school- PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker is also available for student use in the classroom.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students can create movies or PowerPoints about any topic or in any curriculum
A Parents Night is a fun way to showcase what students have created- having multiple computers set up for students to show their projects as well as open mic- where students can read their poetry.
Materials: Slideshow, Mobile Labs, Digital Voice Recorders