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From photo to printed word: Getting second-graders to write!

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Keywords: digital storytelling, photography, writing
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Writing
Grades K through 2
School: Burlington High School, Burlington, VT
Planned By: Elizabeth Evans
Original Author: Elizabeth Evans, Burlington
1. Do a guided discovery of a camera.
* Where is the on button? How do we take a picture? Why do we use the wrist band?
* Talk about the basics of pictures. We can say a lot about an action shot (somebody doing something), but we can't really say much about our friend's smiling face. So look for the unusual or action.
* Send the students out in groups with cameras (without memory cards works best, so they can only take one or two photos apiece!!!) for 10 minutes to get photos on the playground.

2. Print photos and talk about how sentences have CAPITAL LETTERS and PERIODS!

3. Ask students to write a sentence to describe the photo.

This all seems really basic, but this is the warm-up to a class digital story-telling adventure. The next day, we sent the kids with cameras on a field trip, repeating the same directions. We also talked a little about PERSPECTIVE: Taking a picture of something from down low makes it look taller than it is; taking a picture from above makes it look smaller.

4. After photos are taken and sentences are written, children read their sentence and recordings are pieced together to make a digital story.

BE SURE to take pictures of the PROCESS! It will help parents understand all the learning their children have done and impress the rest of your colleagues when you post them on the bulletin board!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The field trip could go in any direction, such as a trip to a local wild-life preserve or to a bakery. The project is quite adaptable.
Our students are going to be writing narratives next. In the next few months, we will ask them to write, then illustrate stories. We will scan in illustrations of each student's favorite story and do digital storytelling through a narrative. The photos also can be used for slideshows alongside student writing--which we plan to do for open house--to show parents what their children are learning. We used ANIMOTO to do ours.
Links: Link to Animoto
Materials: Digital Voice Recorders, Point and Shoot, Digital Cameras, Mobile Labs, Video Tools, Batteries, Slideshow