Drawing from the Well

Chapter Four Pulling Up the Bucket
Lesson 2 - Getting Organized - Planning the Final Project

Setting the Stage:

At this point, students will have participated in many information-gathering activities, writing exercises, technology exercises, at least one interview session, and will have had opportunities for assessment and reflection of their work. Students now need to map out their final projects in terms of medium, structure, content, information flow and style.

All of the students, regardless of their final project, will need to have accomplished the same step work up to this point. Student portfolios should reflect writing exercises, webbing, researching, interview questions, reflections about the interviews, checklists, logging and selection of highlights from the tape(s), and related rubrics and assessments. All of these elements are students' resource materials for composing their final project.

In this lesson, students will map out the elements that will comprise their final project. As groups organize, discuss and formulate their ideas and assemble the material it is important to keep the essential question in mind. It's also important to stay open to new combinations and connections. Often, it is not until you become totally immersed in the material that you can see how to transform it into an artistic expression.


  • The students will synthesize information from a variety of sources to create their own communication of this material.
  • The students will contribute to decision making and composition of a product.

NM State Standards: Language Arts Benchmark I-A, B, C and Benchmark II-A

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Index cards, large paper, magic markers
  • Working portfolios, photos, recorded video and/or audio tape from interviews
  • Research notes and Interview questions
  • Evaluation for Student Project Plan (See Appendix/Samples and Activities #11)
  • Handout #10 - Project Components (See Appendix/Samples and Activities)

Step One: Starting with a large sheet of paper, or on the blackboard, have students develop an outline for their project. The final project will, in one form or another, answer the essential question you'll want students to introduce, or orient the viewer in some way to the overall theme of the work. This can start with an opening statement in a video or audio program, within a title of a book or exhibit, or the opening home page to a web site. Let the students decide. The technique of a "slow reveal" can also be effective.

Step Two: As a means to help students develop a general sense of structure and content for their project, pass out index cards. Written on each card can be the following:

  • piece of information from researching the topic
  • reference to interview footage (Instead of writing the highlights again, students can either use the index cards they assembled, or make reference to the "highlights log.")
  • music
  • artwork
  • images
  • narration, and/or text
  • poetry and/or prose piece
  • maps or diagrams
  • any other element for the final piece

Suggestion for video or audio project:
You may choose to have groups use different colors to represent different elements of their projects. Here is a possible way to identify and work with the elements:

  • a blue card for narration, reflections, research information and transition segments
  • a green card for an interview segment
  • a pink card for music, poetry or sound effects
  • a yellow card for an image, artwork, photograph or graphics
  • a white card for what may still need to be gathered (recorded, made, etc.)

What's helpful about the colored index cards is the chance to visually see the balance of elements incorporated into a group's final project. Once the groups have decided what elements they will use for their final project, they are ready to present their Evaluation for Student Project Plan to the entire class. (See Appendix/Samples and Activities, Handout #11) Here's a good opportunity for peer critique.

Components for the Final Projects
In previous Drawing from the Well programs we have specified the minimum amount that students are to include in their final projects. The following are suggestions of components to be included:

If producing a radio documentary:

  1. Narration or "Continuity"
  2. Selected interview footage or "Actualities"
  3. Interview logs
  4. Taped oral readings
  5. Music segues and "beds"/background music
  6. Sound Effects
If producing a video:
  1. Selected video footage
  2. Selected interview footage
  3. Log of footage
  4. Music
  5. Voice-over narration
  6. Graphics, stills and/or text
If producing a publication:
  1. Text
  2. Photos
  3. Artwork
  4. Poetry and prose
  5. Credits
If creating a website:
  1. Text
  2. Scanned-in images
  3. Streaming audio
  4. Streaming video
  5. Artwork
If producing a drama or storytelling presentation
  1. Script
  2. Costumes
  3. Set
  4. Lighting
  5. Sound system
  6. Rehearsals
If producing artwork
  1. Art materials
  2. Concept/li>

Scripting the work for video or audio productions:
As students assemble the elements it will become clear what elements may be missing. The following demonstrates ways to script the final project. You can choose to have your students hand in one of the following options.

Option #1: (Using a radio documentary as a model)

Source Description Role/Place
Hispanic Music CD - track 5 Instrumental at the beginning of track 5 opening
Narration tape Introduction to who we are and our essential question. After musical segue introduce our interviewee, Juan Ortega orientation
Tape 2 - 13:05 Juan Ortega: I remember on San Lorenzo Day ... ... and that's when we all played music together. Answers: When did your family get together?
Hispanic Music CD - track 2 Las Pastores as music "bed" under narration
Narration tape Explain historical ways families spent time together Note the significance of village fiestas bridge to 2nd sound bite

Option #2: Index Cards
This option is more flexible than Option #1 and allows for easy sorting and rearranging. This is the process described in the earlier part of this lesson under Step Two.

Option #3: Poster Boards, Flip Charts or a Roll of Paper
For students who like to work big and see all the elements in front of them at the same time, this method may be best. Similar to the webbing exercise, this is a way to see all the elements and make connections. Passing out numbers, with adhesive tape, may be a way to give order to the work, as well as see what needs to happen so one element flows to the next.

The next step:
Once students have determined the elements and general order of their final project they are ready to "tie" it together with narration or another form of continuity. This is analogous to working on a research paper where once all of the sources have been read, notes have been taken, and one's own thoughts have been jotted down, it's time to write the paper. Drawing from the Well final projects are, in a sense, research papers in the form of different mediums. Research and exploration come together in a form to be shared with the community.

Student work will vary depending on the product (media used and format.) Now is a critical time to analyze the scripts according to expectations given for the forms and content. Peer review and suggestions help students improve their communication, as well as increase the learning from one another.

As with any group task, the Teamwork Rubric can be used individually or as a group, and discussed or reflected upon.