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Using VoiceThread for digital storytelling in schools
Teacher Conultant for Professional Development, Central California Writing Project, UCSC; teaching artist, digital and string storyteller; creative computing coach
Central California Writing Project, UCSC
While any use of a computer to help present a story could be called digital storytelling, it’s now a term of art for a presentation with a scripted voice-over narration which is illustrated by a series of mostly still images , sometimes with brief video clips, often with a musical background added
The Things They Carried is a collection of related stories by Tim O’Brien about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. While some of these stories are based on O’Brien’s own experiences, the book is considered a work of fiction.
The following excerpts list some of the things the soldiers carried.
Consider this question while we read: In addition to the necessities, what are some of the non-material things these soldiers carried?
The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between 15 and 20 pounds, depending upon a man's habits or rate of metabolism.
First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack. In the late afternoon, after a day's march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending.
Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a hedge against bad times, however, Kiowa also carried his grandmother's distrust of the white man, his grandfather's old hunting hatchet.
Your Turn: Write down a quick inventory of some (probably not all!) of the contents of your briefcase, bag, backpack, purse, wallet or pockets. Try using some of the senses (sight, sound, scent, taste, touch) and concrete details. (5 min)
Our students: wrote half page rough drafts based on one topic.
You: Write a short rough draft—about a paragraph--about one thing you carry. What special meaning does this thing have?
Consider how this will sound when read out loud—make it expressive, watch for flow and rhythm. Try to come up with a “ hook ,” a way to grab audience attention with a question or something unexpected. (10 min)