It is unreasonable to expect students to create a digital story with no experience. In MDL4000 we learned some great activities that can be done in the classroom to prepare students before they create their own digital stories. These fun-filled and creative tasks allow for students to experiment with digital storytelling and share their ideas with their peers. Along the way, they will begin to practice the techniques and elements of digital storytelling that they can apply to their own personal digital story.
Write About It: 5-Sentence Story
The first activity that the class did was create a 5-sentence story using one of the inspirational pictures on Write About It. This website provides multiple pictures and writing prompts to go along with the pictures to inspire writers. I chose the picture of the green toy dinosaur. Instead of using the writing prompt, I decided to become a little more creative and come up with my own story idea. Here is a sample of it to your left. Creating this story was a great warm up activity as it allowed me to get my creative juices flowing and start considering the elements of storytelling. The 5-sentence restriction was a challenge as it encouraged writers to be succinct and to the point.
Write About It: 6-Word Story
The second activity was even more challenging! Using one of the pictures on Write About It, we had to create a 6-word story to go along with it. This challenge encouraged writers to be very mindful of their word choice to ensure that the message comes across in a simple phrase. I found that using vivid and descriptive words was key so that the reader could envision the sequence of events and understand the meaning.
Both of these activities were a great warm-up to get writers in the hand of writing stories. It is also a chance for writers to get creative and receive inspiration from their own work and the work of their peers for when they have to create a digital story production on their own. I would most definitely do these activities in the classroom as it combines both media literacy and writing into one activity. This activity will also allow students to experience the joys of experimental writing and sharing their work with their peers for feedback and inspiration.
Make your own 5-sentence or 6-word story on Write About It! Or receive inspiration from one of the pictures on their site below!
On a different day, we played a game our professor called “Creativity within the Random” (MDL4000 - Media and Digital Literacy). We all folded a piece of paper into three columns and listed up to ten topics, genres, and themes we thought were interesting on each page. Then, we asked a partner to pick a number from one to ten and we circled the topic, genre, and theme that was that number on the line. The result, a ridiculous mash-up of contrasting genre, topics, and themes. With our partner, we chose whose piece of paper had a topic, theme, and genre circled that we would like to create a story with. We decided on my partner’s sheet who has Mystery Fiction, My Favourite Teacher, and Fear written circled. We collaborated together to come up with a ten-sentence story. The story that we came up with odd and ridiculous, however, these aspects made the story very entertaining and hilarious to read.
Doing this activity made me realize that creating stories can be fun when created with a partner as you will get to experience ideas you would not have thought of yourself. Also, I learned that random stories can create the best results when it comes to creative and interesting story writing. I would do this activity in my classroom as a collaborative challenge. It allows students to experience the many different types of topics, genres, and themes they can choose to create their story and that any combination of the three may turn out to be a silly masterpiece.
Create your own 10-sentence random story using the links below to access a random topic, theme, and genre!
One of the last random stories we created was called, “Remix, Mashup, and Repurpose” (MDL4000 - Media and Digital Literacy). For this activity, each student had to name off various names of their favourite things such as: favourite food, favourite place, favourite book, etc. After doing so, we had to share these things with the people at our table group. Next, we had to choose, one of each topic from every person in the group to create a group list of things. Then, we had to create a story using every element of this list in it. The result of this was hilarious! Every person in the group had a funny or interesting idea for the story and the result was a rib-tickling short story that was original, yet contained characters, themes, and items that the class was familiar with.
I would definitely use this activity in a classroom! It is amazing what stories can be created when there is a group of people helping to create the ideas. This activity will likely inspire students to ask peers for ideas and advice when creating their own short story to expand on their own ideas and make their story more dynamic.
Create your own mashup by accessing the MDL 4000 course website!
Doing these creative and challenging mini stories was of great benefit for me. After becoming familiar with the story telling techniques I learned, I now feel more confident in how to create my final digital story production. Stories are what you make them to be and you can create a story out of anything if you put to your mind to it. Doing these activities collaboratively made me realize that i am not alone in creating my digital story as i can bounce ideas off my peers and receive feedback or new ideas that can help me expand and strengthen my story. Wish me luck!