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Stacy Bodin's "Digesting a Story" Unit

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Keywords: Digesting a Story, Project Based Learning, writing, production, filming, flip
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Reading, Writing, Video, Spelling, Grammar
Grades 1 through 5
School: Dozier Elementary School, Erath, LA
Planned By: Schuyler Poche
Original Author: Schuyler Poche, Erath
Digesting a Story (Written by Stacy Bodin, submitted by Schuyler Poche) Retired teacher (and current Dozier Tech Specialist/webmaster) Stacy Bodin wrote the and worked with this project several times during her teaching career. As librarian, I am submitting this with permission from Stacy Bodin.

This lesson plan is an original technology project I created in 2004 The "Digesting a Story" unit includes students building a physical (edible) setting, writing/typing original group stories. using graphic organizers, creating test questions and videotaping their stories. Read more on the link I created below titled "Digesting a Story" Unit (Project Based Learning)

I. Purpose:

The purpose is to help children think creatively and to teach them to use higher order thinking skills.

This second grade project will address these Louisiana Grade Level Expectations.

II. Goals:The students will decide on a central idea for a story. The story has to include a feasible plot, a descriptive setting, several characters, a problem and a resolution. Using edible props, the students assisted in creating their own settings and characters. Then using a standard four component map, they described the setting they were going to use. The next step was looking at gathered edible and non edible pieces that could be designated characters in their story. Finally as a group, they discussed and decided on a problem for their story and "how" they would choose to resolve it. The final result will be a video tape, CD or DVD of their original stories and created settings.

III. Objectives/Expectations:

By the end of this project:

•the students will have created original groups stories using the objects and items provided to them.
•the students will have created their own edible setting and have chosen the own story characters and named them.
•the students will work in peer groups with leaders guiding the students through the brainstorming, story mapping and the use of graphic organizers.
•the students will be able to identify the four story components (setting, characters, conflict and resolution).
•the students will create a story with a plot which involves a hand made setting, edible characters, a conflict and a resolution.
•the students will be able to write and produce a story to be video taped.
•the students will be able to create their own story questions using their original stories.
•the students will use the computers to type their stories.
•the students will use the writing process to produce a final draft to be shared with others.
•the students will read the other stories and be able to map the story using the four components (setting, characters, conflict and resolution.)
•the students will read all final reading stories completed and will complete the assessment questions created by each other.
•the students will use a variety of ways to check spelling.
•the students will be able to retell each story written.
•the students will use higher order thinking skills in producing a story conflict and the resolution to that problem.
•the students will be able to use digital photography to enhance the project.

IV. Time:

•One week (Reading, Language Arts Block) - Reading/Language Arts Block Time (165 minutes a day) Time divided by the teacher as to how and when to work through the process.

V. Set up:

•May be done as a whole class or divided into groups. Time management is crucial. Be prepared with a set goal in mind. Flexibility plays a part in this process.

VI. Preparations for this unit:

•Purchase or create edible items which could create a setting and characters. (Example: Setting-Gingerbread House Kits, powdered sugar and marshmallows (snow), trees (Little Debbie Brownie Trees) or Christmas Tree Cookies, Candy Canes or any other items that could create a scene for the stories. Use any "holiday themed treats."

•Optional: Have parents buy such treats or go to a local Wal Mart bakery. Another hint is to look at Little Debbie products and seasonal treats.

•Once all of your ingredients are in place, allow them to look at the items displayed. Then explain that the goal will be for them to write a story using the "Writing Process", create their own setting with their story, name their characters and for them to create a story problem and solution.

•Choose a "Photographer" each day to document with a digital camera.

VII. Pre requisites

•The students will have to be knowledgeable in completing story maps. A wonderful online "Story Mapping Site" if from the READ-WRITE-THINK Site http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/storymap/index.html . This interactive site can serve as a platform in helping the students understand the concept of story mapping and how to identify conflicts and resolutions quickly and confidently.

VIII. Lesson Plan

1. On the board or on a display area, write the words: "Setting ???"; Characters ???; Conflict ???; Solution ????
2. Ask why they think the question marks were placed there? Discuss their theories.
3. You will then ask and discuss these four components of a story:

•What is a setting?
•What are characters?
•What is a conflict or problem?
•What is a solution?

4. Now you will explain to them what the "goal" of this unit is.

•Then decide on how many stories you expect to come from the class.
•You may divide it or do as a whole class. I divided the class into three groups.
•You can show them an empty "journal" or book with blank sheets and a real book already written.
•Ask them to describe the difference between the two.
•Explain that the "goal" is for them to fill the empty pages and create a story which will have the four story components (setting, characters, conflict and resolution).
•Model a story that you have created or use one of the stories in this lesson.

5. Now you will work to create a setting using props that the children may use for each of their stories.

Example: If you are creating a house or village, etc. You build that with their help. This could be an excellent art project to get started.

6. You may find small Christmas trees that enhance the scenes. Once the setting is completed, have the students look at would could be characters. (Example: Gingerbread men, or other types of seasonal cookies). Other non edible characters may be included. (Small Santas, elves, etc.) Or they may draw and cut out characters. (Rudolph, etc.)

7. The next step involves their creativity and their ability to describe their group's setting, the characters they would like to see in the story, a unique problem and how to solve their problem. Hand out the "Digesting the Story" Map Sheet. Attached are Blacklines in MS Word .doc and a PDF file.

8. Allow the groups to work through their ideas and have them document it on the "Digesting the Story Map". Walk around and listen to the group share ideas. If needed probe them with questions to get them thinking. You may divide this into different sessions, depending on how well your child "map" stories. Suggestion: As a prerequisite for this have them work on the "Read Write and Think" Story Mapping site a few times to become familiar with story mapping on their own. Or have them create written story maps as often as they can before you start this. Place two children who are strong leaders in each group to guide the others. Explain to your leaders that they will not 'do" the work, but "guide" or "lead" the group to work as a team. Just as a teacher does with her students. Once they complete the four components of their story, the take the information and write a story.

Remind them of the Writing Process.

Stress they include a title, the author, an opening and closing sentence and the four components discussed in the story map.

The group can discuss how they want to write the story.

One person can write as they discuss it. It goes faster if one faster writer serves as the secretary.

9. Once the story is completed, the teacher will sit and discuss the story with them to see if all of the information is included. The teacher will allow one child to read it. If grammatical errors are heard, then the teacher can ask does that sound right? "Could it be stated differently", etc. Examples: If they wrote "is" and the appropriate term should be "are" talk them through it. Model what would be right if they don't know the answer. Use the words and phrases problem, conflict, resolution, solved and solution and fixed the problems, over and over again. The teacher should be probing constantly as each group continues to write as well as when they are done with the story.

10. Now the group will go to a computer and take turns typing the story. Each student may type 2 or 3 sentences. (Each child should sit at the computer to assist. Again it is important to stress the importance of working as a group). The teacher should be walking around monitoring these activities.

11. The students will type and proofread and edit, then the teacher will conference with the group to edit the final copy.

12. Once the writing process is done, filming will take place. A digital video footage may be transferred into a program on the computer and a CD or DVD may be created. Students will have to work through the movements of their scenes using the characters.

NOTE: Flip cameras would be easier to purchase and easy for all students to handle!

13. Students will be told about assessment of grades. Rubric is included. After the filming takes place, the teacher will make copies of each story to give to the students. Each story will have a blank story map sheet.

14. Once modeled by the teacher, the students will create five questions about their own stories to be placed on a final test. The group will create and type the questions. The teacher will help guide the students with trouble. Then the teacher will combine the student questions and create an "Assessment Document".

15. Now the students "Digest their Story" setting. Discuss how they can digest it mentally and physically. (This will take a few days, so cover the settings each evening). The children should wash their hands each time they will touch the setting, etc. Don't unwrap all items. The unwrapped gingerbread cookies, marshmallows, and items that you know are sanitary may be eaten. Each night carefully store and wrap the food carefully.

16. Optional: Creating a CD or DVD: Movie Maker on XP machines allow for the video to be "captured" from the video recorder. Once captured, the footage may be edited and transitions may be added.

17. The filmed stories are now viewed. The teacher may show the video tape or transfer the video footage into a CD or DVD. The Adobe Premiere Series and "capturing" through a fire wire produces clear footage. Be aware of "capturing settings" during the process. See note and sites listed to assist you.

18. Send home the final Assessment Explanation and assignments. Explanation of project is attached to the Assessment Rubric. Also attached are the story maps completed after reading each group's story, as well as the final test created my the students.
All documents mentioned are in the web link below "Digesting a Story"

I actually did this with several different holidays and worked well. You can begin slowly and do a class poem and film the students. Then move to large groups, then smaller groups.

Parents often offer to help with buying edlible items. I sent a letter and got great " holiday cookies, cakes, etc.

I have since retired, but remained active wtih technology in my district. I used digital video cameras, but would recommend "flip cameras" for the lesson! I would imagine it would make the lesson much easier to work with.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Reading, writing, social studies (holidays)
Making DVD's for parents as gifts (Mother's Day and Father's Day) The parents LOVED having this memory from their child.
Links: Still photos taken by a student photographer
"Digesting a Story"Unit (Project Based Learning)
Actual Student Video Clips (WMV Files)
Materials: Computer Accessories, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Tripods, Flash/USB Drives, Camera Bags, PA Systems, Microphones, Projector Screens, Portable, Networked Projectors, Projectors, DVD Camcorder, Flip Video, Video Cameras, Mobile Labs, Power, Keyboards, Bags and Cases, Ports and Hubs, Mice