Drawing from the Well

Chapter Five - Transporting the Water
Lesson 1 - Crafting the Story Line and Writing Narration

Setting the Stage:

Now that students have a handle on their group projects, in regard to their chosen material (images, sound bites, text, research, etc.), it is time to shape this material so it will carry a powerful message. This will be a good time to refer back to Digging the Well - Lesson 9: Crafting the Story to go over the dynamics of telling a story. Whether the students' final project is a video, a radio show, a website, a book, a photographic essay or a live performance, it is important to establish a format that delivers the newly acquired knowledge in a compelling way.

Goals:
In this lesson students will develop "the glue" to their project by writing narration segments that will tie the work together. Since Drawing from the Well has traditionally focused on producing short radio documentaries, we will follow this step work since it is transferable to other final project ideas. At the end of this lesson students will essentially have all the elements for assembling the final project.

Objectives:

  • The students will write a narration that will tie lots of information together in one cohesive product to communicate the information in a new way.
  • The students will present their product to their peers.

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

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Outline or index cards of project elements
  • Access to computer lab (preferred.) This is an opportune time to have students use their
  • computer skills and knowledge of word processing software.
  • Handout #5 - Elements of Crafting a Story (See Appendix/Samples and Activities)
  • Handout #12 - Writing Narration (See Appendix/Samples and Activities)

Duration:
One to two class periods, plus homework. Use class time for the groups to discuss their material, choose their narration segments and choose which ones to apply to the final product. Use homework time for students to compose the storyline and narration.

Activities:

  1. Have students work within their groups to discuss and determine the following: What does it mean to deliver a compelling story? How can your project incorporate these elements? What is the anticipation or the set-up your project will pose and resolve? How can the story be told with intrigue, dynamism, and the element of surprise?
  2. You can choose to have each member of the group write the narration segments and then have the group choose which segments to include in the final product. This has worked successfully in the past, giving all members equal responsibility and opportunity to author portions of the final product. The purpose of the narration is to:
    1. orient the audience to the subject matter
    2. fluidly move the content from topic to topic or subject to subject
    3. provide a guide for the listener/ audience to know how to context and take in the information
    4. pose questions or state the intention of inquiry
    5. help the listeners/audience reflect and draw their own conclusions
    6. summarize and culminate the learning
  3. We produced a template for writing narration for radio documentaries. Have students use Handout #12 (Appendix/Samples and Activities) more as suggestions and to trigger their own ideas, rather than a prescription to follow. You may wish to go over the options for narration with the different mediums your students are employing. Narration can equate with posted text in a photo exhibit, or be the thread between the interview transcriptions in a book, or the text on a website, or the voice-over in a video. The writing of narration asks students to interpret, synthesize and compose in written or spoken form what they have learned.
  4. After the groups write up their narration segments, have them read them to one another and choose which ones they want to incorporate into their final product.
  5. Have each group assemble all materials and present to one another the details and the flow of their final product. These internal group presentations are valuable for the team to clarify their ideas and to critically evaluate their own projects. See Appendix/Methods of Evaluation for the Oral Presentation Rubric.

Assessment:
Using the rubrics, have the teams respond to the strengths of their projects. Then have the groups suggest ways to improve. An efficient strategy that helps move things along is to divide the group in half: one using the Oral Presentation Rubric and the other may design and put into use a Final Product Rubric. Switch the focus of the groups halfway through so that all students analyze each rubric. The teacher, or designated students can fill in one rubric from the responses to record.