Drawing from the Well

Chapter Five Transporting the Water
Lesson 2: The Creation of the Final Product and Presentation

Setting the Stage:

The process of putting together a creative expression is often dynamic. We do what we can to plan and to organize, yet often projects have a life of their own and it is best to welcome the serendipitous nature of creating. As students assemble their final product they will realize that some of the pieces may not fit, that there is a redundancy, or an absence of material, that what they had planned didn't exactly work out, and a variety of other reasons to adapt will surface. This is why doing product-oriented work is so satisfying because ultimately there is something to show for one's labor and it reflects many creative decision-making steps along the way. In addition to students pulling their final product together they will need to consider how they will present their work at the culminating celebration. From the years of conducting Drawing from the Well programs, it is evident that requiring students to produce a final product and an oral presentation to the community is a powerful experience. Ultimately students, families, friends and educators respond with great pride at the end of this completed project.

Goals:
In this lesson each group will put together their final project and prepare for their culminating celebration. At this point students need to proceed with what they have designed and prepare to talk about the work they have done. At the end of this lesson students will be ready to plan a celebration and community event.

Objectives:

  • The students will write a narration that will tie various bits of information together into one cohesive product to communicate information in a new way.
  • The students will present information orally.
  • The students will organize and prepare a public exhibition of their learning.

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

Materials and Supplies:

  • Project outlines, index cards, and/or all visual, audio, narrative content
  • For performers: a place to rehearse
  • For displays: a place to set up

Duration:
This process is dependent upon student motivation, commitment and drive as well as the teacher's scheduling. Ideally students should have at least one to two weeks to work on both the final products and their ideas for presentation. More time, of course, will be needed if students are producing a video, radio show or web site.

Activities:

  1. Finalizing the product
    1. If you have not already done so, record, format or print out the narration text for the final project. In the case of a photographic essay or a museumlike exhibit, the narration can be printed on display boards. Sometimes expository writing or statements can diminish the emotional content of the work. Part of the skill in designing a final project is the ability to blend content and form.
    2. Determine the space and place that student groups can work together to assemble their final projects. Often students have chosen to put together a display board or have used cardboard to create a shape reflective of their project. For example, one year a group studying the acequias (traditional irrigation systems) made a backdrop of the community landscape and then made miniature trees, fields, corn plants and waterways. They posted their writings on the boards. Another year a group studied remedios (herbal cures) and made a cardboard cabinet where the herbs and the description of their uses, along with stories, were displayed.
    3. For those students who are producing a video, audio program or website the process of editing can be much more time consuming. We trust if students and teachers have decided to do these kind of final products, the students have been trained in the use of the appropriate software (or analog editing) and time has been allocated accordingly.
  2. Preparing for the exhibition
    1. In addition to groups finalizing their products, they will also be responsible for publicly presenting their work. Each year this has taken the form of a Community Celebration where the students' families, the interviewees, the educators and invited guests congregate. Each group is responsible for not only presenting or talking about their projects, but they are also assigned to explain a portion of the Drawing from the Well program. You may ask each group to work on this as a whole or divide up the responsibilities of finishing their projects and preparing for the oral presentation.
    2. How you have used this curriculum will determine what stories your students will have to tell. Here's an example of group presentations according to what different groups have told the audience about their activities:
    Group One: talked about choosing the essential question, questionnaires and webbing exercises
    Group Two: talked about the metaphor of Drawing from the Well, the writing exercises, evaluating their work and the use of technology
    Group Three: talked about researching and developing interview questions
    Group Four: talked about conducting interviews
    Group Five: talked about field trips and guest speakers/trainers
    Group Six: talked about logging footage and choosing highlights for radio
    Group Seven: talked about writing narration and putting their project together
    Group Eight: talked about the working portfolio and the exhibition portfolio
    Group Nine: talked about any presentations the students may have made to school groups, senior centers, hospitals and/or broadcast venues
    Group Ten: talked about learning through community research, creating final projects and using portfolios
    Group Eleven: thanked all who have contributed to the year's work

    During the years when radio documentaries were the end products, we invited the audience to join us in our "living room" where students had decorated a portion of the stage as a 1940's living room, with a rag rug, a papier maché large radio console, table and chairs filled with Scrabble, Checkers and other board games. Some students drew pictures while the radio shows played, some darned socks, crocheted or rocked in a rocking chair.

    Another form of presentation was a group reading their "Where I'm from" poem, (See Appendix/Samples and Activities) pulling the best lines from their individual poems and reading it as one. We believe it is important for every participating student to have the opportunity to talk in front of the audience. Great growth comes from these public speaking experiences.

Assessment:
Make sure the students are aware of the expectations for all components of the final exhibition: the portfolio, the product, the display, the oral presentation, and each student's responsibility for the celebration (both preparation and event.) Use the Rubrics to adapt for your own class's achievements and plans. Clear expectations greatly influence the quality and contributions of the students. Parents can contribute by assessing student's practice sessions at home.