Unraveling Literacy – A Triptych of Short Digital Stories about …Writing
Language Arts Challenge
Due: April 7, 2023
Designed for Middle and High School Students
|Table of Contents
· The Challenge
· Assumptions and Logistics
· Meridian Support Resources
· Presentation of Learning
· Evaluation Rubric
· Essential Questions
· Student Proficiencies
· Curricular Correlations (RL4, W2, W3, W6, W9, SL2, SL5, SL6)
|Range of Activities
· Literary Text Analysis and Interpretation
· Argument and Reasoning
· Multiple Literacies Exploration and Story Creation
· Presentational Skills
· Digital Literacy Skills – Video – Pre-production, Production and Post-production
· Human Skills: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Presentational Skills
The world has shifted from a mostly singular, text-based literacy that demands an educated command of its structures and intricacies, to a wide ranging set of literacies that bring imagery, symbols, sound and music to the fore, along with text; that jettison long-established text-based structures; that often live in the immediacy of now; and that on the one hand, require a host of complex skill sets to master, and on the other, address educational equity issues by not being solely language based.
This is a challenge that asks you to play with our ever-emerging understanding of ‘writing.’ There are numerous new literacies out there – ways of communicating that are mainstream. Texting. TikToks. Instagram Stories. Photographic Essays. Vlogs. Stop Motion. Twitter Debates. YouTube videos. The list goes on. In this Challenge you are going to pick three different literacies and tell three 30 to 60 second stories about the same idea. What are these stories about? Why, writing itself! Your choices are: Literary Devices (for example, Foreshadowing, Irony, or Metaphor), Archetypal Characters (for example, the hero, the outlaw, or the ruler) and Literary Genres (for example, comedy, tragedy, or mythology). Pick one of these categories (Literary Devices, Archetypal Characters, or Literary Genres); choose one element from your select category; and finally pick three literacies. Then explore how each literacy allows you to discover new ways to express different facets of the same idea.
- Triptych of Stories (this is the only Meridian Stories Deliverable)
- Summary Outline (at teacher’s discretion)
- Draft Shooting Script/Storyboard (at teacher’s discretion)
Assumptions and Logistics
Time Frame – We recommend that this digital storytelling project takes place inside of a three to four-week time frame.
Length – All Meridian Stories submissions should be under 4 minutes in length, unless otherwise specified.
- Slate – All digital storytelling projects must begin with a slate that provides:
- the title of the piece;
- the name of the school submitting;
- the wording ‘Permission Granted’ which gives Meridian Stories the right to a) publicly display the submission in question on, as linked from, related to or in support of Meridian Stories digital media; and b) use or reference it for educational purposes only, in any and all media; and
- We strongly recommend that students do not put their last names on the piece either at the start or finish, during the credits.
- Submissions – Keep in mind that each school can only submit three submissions per Competition (so while the entire class can participate in any given Challenge, only three can be submitted to Meridian Stories for Mentor review and scoring).
- Teacher Reviews – All reviews by the teacher are at the discretion of the teacher and all suggested paper deliverables are due only to the teacher. The only deliverable to Meridian Stories is the digital storytelling project.
Teacher’s Role and Technology Integrator – While it is helpful to have a Technology Integrator involved, they are not usually necessary: the students already know how to produce the digital storytelling project. And if they don’t, part of their challenge is to figure it out. They will! The teacher’s primary function in these Challenges is to guide the students as they engage with the content. You don’t need to know editing, sound design, shooting or storyboarding: you just need to know your content area, while assisting them with time management issues. See the Teachers Rolesection of the site for further ideas about classroom guidance.
Digital Rules/Literacy – We strongly recommend that all students follow the rules of Digital Citizenry in their proper usage and/or citation of images, music and text taken from other sources. This recommendation includes producing a citations page at the end of your entry, if applicable. See the Digital Rules area in the Meridian Stories Digital Resource Center section of the site for guidance.
- Location – Try not to shoot in a classroom at your school. The classroom, no matter how you dress it up, looks like a classroom and can negatively impact the digital story you are trying to tell.
- Collaboration – We strongly recommend that students work in teams of 3-4: part of the educational value is around building collaborative skill sets. But students may work individually.
|The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age
‘Literacy has always been a collection of communicative and sociocultural practices shared among communities. As society and technology change, so does literacy. The world demands that a literate person possess and intentionally apply a wide range of skills, competencies, and dispositions. These literacies are interconnected, dynamic, and malleable. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with histories, narratives, life possibilities, and social trajectories of all individuals and groups.”
Below is a suggested breakdown for the students’ work.
- During Phase I, student teams will:
- The starting line for the Challenge is with your subject: what literary element are you going to explore? This could be assigned or selected by each team, depending on the teacher.
- Research your select literary element. Now, having said that, the first question that may arise is: how do I “research” metaphor? Or “foreshadowing?” Or “tragedy?” As a team, you can define them. But what is meant by “research” in this particular case? Here are some questions to help guide you in this critical step.
- What is the purpose of your select literary element in storytelling, or your select literary genre in the larger library of books? What is its function?
- What are some classic examples of your select literary element/genre and what makes that example compelling?
- What are the universal qualities of your select literary element/genre that contribute to this sense of a shared humanity across cultures? The reference to ‘shared humanity’ is meant to indicate one of the powers of good literature: the power of creating a story that will be universally appreciated.
- Why and how would you use your select literary element/genre in the creation of your own story?
- What do you find particularly interesting, fun, powerful and/or expansive about your select literary element/genre? In other words: what’s its superpower?
- The research referenced above is a mix of team discussion and formal research: discovering what authors, editors, and scholars say about the significance of your choice in the evolution of storytelling and literature. It may be helpful to create a chart or bulleted list that catalogues all that you have discovered about your select literary element/genre.
- To complete the research, create your own original example of this element/genre in action. Own it. Showcase it.
- Teacher’s Option: Summary Outline – Teacher’s may require that student teams hand in a one-page summary of their exploration of their literary choice.
- By the end of Phase I, your team should have a strong sense of all the component parts of your select literary element/genre and, perhaps, have begun to consider ways that you may craft short stories about those component parts.
During Phase II, student teams will:
- Investigate what is meant by the term ‘literacy.’ Here is how one eminent scholar, Henry Jenkins, defined what he called the ‘new media literacies,’ just as they were in their infancy:“…the new media literacies should be seen as social skills, as ways of interacting within a larger community, and not simply an individualized skill to be used for personal.” (Jenkins, 2006).
One of the things that characterizes the new literacies out there is this idea that they are social; they exist to amplify dialogue and not to showcase command of the written English language. Keep this in mind as you begin to craft your stories.
- Pick your literacies. See the box below for some, but not all, examples of digital literacies – mixing both formats and platforms – from which to choose.
o Voice Memos, Podcasts, Songs
- Pick your three literacies and brainstorm short stories around the content that you have outlined in Phase I. As you do this, be sure to discuss the storytelling strengths of each literacy. What can you do in a text message-driven dialogue that you can’t effectively communicate in a TikTok, for example? The goal of your triptych is to highlight the communicative strength of your chosen literacy.
- Keep in mind that these are short stories. Each story should focus on one, no more than two elements, of your select literary element/genre.
- Draft your first drafts. Since many of these literacies are more visually driven than word driven, storyboarding may be a useful tool for planning and designing your triptych of stories.
- Teacher’s Option: Draft Shooting Script/Storyboards – Teachers may require that student teams hand in their first draft shooting scripts and storyboards for review and feedback.
- Finalize your three scripts.
During Phase III, student teams will:
- Rehearse and pre-produce the video, paying attention to costuming, location, lighting, and blocking.
- Shoot the video and/or create the graphics.
- Pay extra close attention to the pacing of each story. Each literacy has its own sense of timing, and your team will want to tap into pacing as a way to deliver an impactful story.
- Edit the videos (and/or audio story), separately. Then brainstorm how you want to connect these three stories into a singular narrative.
- Sound design – Sound design can help distinguish the different strengths of the various literacies, as well as bring to life your content. Be sure to pay attention to the audio qualities of your select literacies.
Meridian Support Resources
|Meridian Stories provides two forms of support for the student teams:
1. Media Innovators and Artists – This is a series of three-to-four-minute videos featuring artists and innovative professionals who offer important advice, specifically for Meridian Stories, in the areas of creativity and production.
2. Meridian Resources – These are short documents that offer student teams key tips in the areas of creativity and production.
Recommended review, as a team, for this Challenge include:
|Media Innovators and Artists||Meridian Resources|
|Character Design – Scott Nash
Fiction Writing – Lily King
Sound Design – Chris Watkinson
Radio Plays – Margaret Heffernan
|Creating Storyboards, Framing a Shot
Digital Rules – The Starting Line
Creative Brainstorming Techniques
Guide to Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects
Presentation of Learning
Meridian Stories is a proud partner of the non-profit Share Your Learning, which is spearheading the movement of over five million students to publicly share their work as a meaningful part of their educational experience.
The workforce considers Presentational Skills to be a key asset and we encourage you to allow students to practice this skill set as often as possible. These digital storytelling projects provide a great opportunity for kids to practice their public presentational skills. This can be achieved in a remote learning environment by inviting parents to a Zoom/Google/Skype screening of the student’s digital stories.
According to Share Your Learning, Presentations of Learning (POL) promote…
- Student Ownership, Responsibility & Engagement. POLs can serve as a powerful rite of passage at the end of [a project]. By reflecting on their growth over time in relation to academic and character goals, grounded in evidence from their work, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Just as an artist wants their portfolio to represent their best work, POLs encourage students to care deeply about the work they will share.
- Community Pride & Involvement. When peers, teachers and community members come together to engage with student work and provide authentic feedback, they become invested in students’ growth and serve as active contributors to the school community.
- Equity. POLs ensure that all students are seen and provide insight into what learning experiences students find most meaningful and relevant to their lives.
Meridian Stories’ own research indicates this to be a really useful exercise for one additional reason: Students actually learn from their peers’ presentations – it is useful to hear a perspective that is not just the teacher’s.
It is with this in mind that we you encourage you to plan an event – it could be just an end-of-the-week class or an event where parents, teachers and student peers are invited – to allow the students to showcase their Meridian Stories’ digital storytelling projects. For more free resources that will support this planning, visit Share Your Learning.
Evaluation Rubric – Unraveling Literacy – A Triptych of Short Digital Stories about …Writing
|The Element/Genre||The select literary element or genre is presented in illuminating ways, revealing a command of the topic|
|Multiple Literacies||The communicative strength of each select literacy is magnified in your storytelling|
|Story #1||The first story is engaging, effective, and informative, utilizing the short format and select literacy to maximized effect.|
|Story #2||The second story is engaging, effective, and informative, utilizing the short format and select literacy to maximized effect.|
|Story #3||The third story is engaging, effective, and informative, utilizing the short format and select literacy to maximized effect.|
|The Whole Digital Story||The triptych as a whole presents your content in ways that distinguish the different storytelling literacies while functioning as a cohesive narrative.|
|Visualization||The artistic choices are visually arresting and bring new meaning to the content|
|Sound Design||Sound effects and music are used (or not) to create an engaging listening experience and enhance the tone and nature of the stories|
|Editing and Pacing||The video is edited cleanly and effectively, bringing the three different communicative styles into a tight, singular narrative|
HUMAN SKILLS COMMAND (teachers only)
|Collaborative Thinking||The group demonstrated flexibility in making compromises and valued the contributions of each group member.|
|Creativity and Innovation||The group brainstormed many inventive ideas and was able to evaluate, refine and implement them effectively.|
|Initiative and Self-Direction||The group set attainable goals, worked independently, and managed their time effectively, demonstrating a disciplined commitment to the project.|
- What are some principle literary elements and genres, how do they function and why are they important to narrative development?
- What is meant by the phrase, “multiple literacies”?
- What are the distinct qualities that define these multiple literacies and why are they important to understand?
- How do you tell an engaging and substantive story inside of these multiple literacies?
- How has immersion in the creation of original content and the production of digital media – exercising one’s creativity, critical thinking, and digital literacy skills – deepened the overall educational experience?
- How has working on a team – practicing one’s collaborative skills – changed the learning experience?
- The student will explore a variety of primary literary elements or genres, select one and research its value, use and function inside of a broad literary context.
- The student will understand that the word ‘literacy’ does not just mean written text but has been expanded to include multiple literacies that are inclusive of communications that integrate imagery, sound, music, and text into the communication.
- The student will analyze the unique communicative strengths of three literacies that are relevant to their lives, present and future.
- The student will practice meaningful storytelling about the nature of writing itself, utilizing their evolving digital literacy skills.
- The student will utilize key Human Skills, with a focus on creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy, in their process of translating literary content into new narrative forms.
- The student will have an increased awareness of the challenges and rewards of team collaboration. Collaboration – the ability to work with others – is considered one of the most important 21st century skills to develop in students as they prepare for life after secondary school.
The A Triptych of Short Digital Stories about …Writing Challenge addresses a range of curricular objectives that have been articulated by the Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts. Below please find the standards that are addressed, either wholly or in part.
Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts Standards
|5th Grade||8th Grade||9th – 10th Grade||11th – 12th Grade|
|RL4||Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
|Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
|Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
|Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)|
|W2||Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
|Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.||Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.|
|W3||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.|
|W6||With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.||Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
|Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
|Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
|W9||Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
|Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
|Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
|Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
|SL2||Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
|Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
|Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
|Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.|
|SL5||Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
|Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
|Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.|
|SL6||Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
|Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.||Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.|