I’m back home after two days away, washing clothes and sharing downtime with Tuvia before I’m back on the road to DC.
Sounds exciting and it is, but before I move on to the next event, I need to take this writing time to remember the Dover DS project that is moving along, thanks to the work of our team and their kids.
So what happened?
On Sunday night Mike and I spoke about what has happened in my absence. Mike met with the kids one-on-one and the drafts were now moving from biographical notes to a story chart and to a story draft. Of course Mike is organized and keeps great records on where each kid stands.
For my visit we considered working with Will’s text. They had all seen his DS and then I had shared his text with them to visually share DS writing and identify the elements needed for shaping a story.
Now, as they were ready to move even deeper into their own stories we agreed that it might be good to return to Will’s piece, this time for them to have a copy of it, to see what 230 strong words looked like and to get them moving to work from a format of the text that looked more like a voice over script that would help all of us to tighten the pieces. Then we could send the kids off to computers and work their pieces into a 3rd draft, in this new format as they considered what they might use for images by creating a storyboard that allowed them to draw images that they didn’t have photos for.
The key to this process remains the story and how to get them to tell it powerfully.
I was excited and confident that we would move the kids to quality pieces. There is something very exciting about this process. Even though kids are in various places in their own progress, the project is moving everyone along and the story is still in the center.
Before I called it a night I got to speak with Tom, to run the process by him for more suggestions. He suggested a swollen model to get them to see how they could tighten their pieces. I wasn’t sure how that might happen until we met at the end of first day with Lorraine, who had been working on her own ds she was creating and sharing with the kids.
She read her piece to us and we offered suggestions. It hit me that it would be ideal for Lorraine, who teaches the same kids, to use her own piece made more “swollen”, to model the idea of tightening and shaping their stories, moving them away from the unnecessary details from their biographical interview pieces.
Lorraine loved the challenge, although she was not thrilled about my visit, but this would be perfect.
Even though we were not able to get other HVWP TC’s to visit Dover and work with the team, I was able to meet to Trace Schillinger and pick her brain as she works with her 7thgraders creating digital stories. There are many ways to move kids from draft to draft and storyboard is a very powerful technique to visualize the pieces as they prepare to add visuals to the text. Trace has her kids move the text from paragraphs to lines that will correspond to images. So we had the kids consider lines and then while I’m away the kids will go low tech and create their own storyboards, drawing boxes and drawing images inside that might work with their lines of text. I usually use the storyboard created by computers. I think this might be a better way to get kids thinking beyond the literal pictures that they don’t have, to the abstract.
So I worked with Mike in his two afternoon classes. First a small one where some kids were really moving forward. Then a large one where again, some kids were moving ahead. But the next morning, in his first class a quiet boy, who hasn’t been doing well, came in with his piece on its way to completion. It was wonderful to see him in two classes and to lavish praise on his efforts. He stepped up to support some of hs friends. What a perfect place for him.
It was great to watch Lorraine in action with her kids and in her very unique classroom. Her modeling was powerful and effective with the kids. She is open to their suggestions and she is in it with them and I was able to step back, watch, share a bit and tape away.
It was great working with both Mike and Lorraine this week and Ed is lurking, ready to jump in as we move soon, to the voice over/photo phase. He was already been the one to help kids scan their family photos. When I return as they return from vacation, we will be in voice over mode. How exciting.