Open to all Middle and High School Classes
Division I – 6th – 8th grade
Division II – 9th – 12th grade
Due: January 25, 2013
The Telling Room is a “nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine, dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. Focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, we seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for our students’ stories.” The Telling Room is offering a $50 discount to the first ten participating teachers who schedule a field trip. Information on Telling Room field trips can be found here.
Table of Contents
- The Challenge
- Range of Activities
- Essential Questions
- Student Outcomes
- Evaluation Rubric
- Curricular Goals
“The purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, race in the future years to come.”
Denis Diderot (1713 –1784) from Wikipedia
Meridian Stories and The Telling Room are collaborating on this Challenge that asks students to re-examine things and places around them through the dual lens of their imaginative minds and the encyclopedia.
Context: During the 2012-2013 school year, The Telling Room will tackle one of its most ambitious projects yet: The Encyclopedia Project. In this initiative, students will reexamine spaces and places that might seem common and explore dreams and ideas that push the limits of the imagination, creating a living archive of the world as seen through their eyes.
Loosely based on a traditional encyclopedia model, this project will put students at the helm as intrepid explorers and amateur anthropologists studying the people, places, objects and ideas that surround them, and investigating the intersections of creativity, imagination, media production, and writing. The Telling Room will publish the encyclopedia in the spring of 2013.
This is a two-step challenge:
Step 1: Students will create a piece of original writing (750 word limit for prose, 40 line limit for poetry) that will be submitted to The Telling Room for possible inclusion in our encyclopedia, designed to pass on to the reader the collected knowledge of Maine youth.
Step 2: Students will create multimedia interpretations of their writing – between 1 and 2 minutes long – that will be submitted to Meridian Stories.
This Challenge is less interested in regurgitated facts and figures that might be considered “encyclopedia worthy” than it is in the stories (real or imagined) that surround the chosen people, places, objects or ideas. Some questions to consider as you begin brainstorming:
- Does a particular object have a story of how it came to be, who uses it and for what purpose or why it matters?
- Can the essence of a person or place be revealed in a poem? A Story? A song?
- Can an idea be the beginning of an adventure or the solution to a story’s big conflict?
This Challenge is designed to reflect both the mind of the writer(s) and the essence of object/person/ place/idea itself. That is why this exploration can combine both the real attributes of your choice and the imagined attributes – the qualities that you imagine or believe or want to believe about your choice.
In the end, there is no right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate. But there is story, and that is what informs the Evaluation Rubric in this Challenge.
- Written submission to The Telling Room
- Multi-media presentation (this is the only Meridian Stories deliverable)
- Creative writing in multiple genres
- Exploration of familiar surroundings through new lens.
- Transmediation from written medium to visual medium
- Multimedia production that may include: photography, audio, video, script writing, storyboarding, pre- and post-production work.
We recommend that this Meridian Stories Challenge take place inside of a three to four week time frame. The students can work individually or as a team on the writing piece that will be submitted to The Telling Room. But they must work collaboratively as a team (3-4 students per team) on the digital production. All reviews by the teacher are at the discretion of the teacher. Below is a suggested breakdown for the students’ work.
During Phase One, students will:
- Decide if they are writing individually or if they are writing and producing collectively;
- Choose a person, place, thing or idea to be the focal point for writing. Examples: a street musician, a tree house, a lucky coin, a farmers market….;
- Choose the genre of writing – Teacher/student choice based on curricular needs, strengths and desires;
- Research the person, place, thing or idea and begin to collect data and ideas; and
- Begin writing the first draft of the piece.
|Meridian Storiesprovides two forms of support for the student teams.
Recommended review, as a team, for this Challenge include:
|Media Innovators and Artists||Meridian Tips|
|On Photography– Michael Kolster
On Multi-Media in Theatre – Roger Bechtel
On Memoir and Non-Fiction Writing– Lize Bakewell
On Fiction Writing – Lily King
|“Six Principle Modes of Documentary Filmmaking”|
During Phase Two, students will:
- Compete the first draft (The first draft can be presented to the teacher for review and comments, at the teacher’s discretion.);
- Choose, as a team, which written work they will choose to produce (knowing that the pieces are still a work-in-progress);
- Brainstorm on the genre of production. Should this be a straight documentary; music video collage; dramatic/comic sketch with scripted dialogue; visual storyboard; photographic collage; ‘instructional video’….
- Use the Internet to locate various examples of multi-media productions that can serve as inspiration/guides/models for student productions; and
- Once the genre is chosen, brainstorm on the details of the video.
- What are the visuals that you will need to shoot in order to tell the story of your written piece?
- Is there additional scripting that will need to be written?
During Phase Three, students will:
- Location scout: With your team, find the locations for your shoot;
- Storyboard: Create a storyboard to guide your shot list;
- Pre-produce. Organize the shoot day, focusing on costumes, props and shooting logistics;
- Shoot: At the end of the week, shoot the footage; and
- For the written deliverable, begin work on the second draft of your written submission.
During Phase Four, students will:
- Complete the second and final drafts of the written work for submission to The Telling Room;
- Submissions should be sent in word document format ONLY as an attachment with “Meridian” in the memo line; Questions/clarifications on the writing assignment, as well as and final submissions, should be addressed to Molly McGrath at firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Each teacher should send one word document only that contains ALL student writing from one class that is clearly labeled with names of authors in case we want to be in touch with them. The teacher will serve as the initial contact for students we want to move forward with; and
- Post-produce and edit your piece, for submission to Meridian Stories.
- What or who are the important people, places, objects or ideas in your life? Why are they important to you?
- How does one create new meaning by combining objective and subjective thoughts and ideas?
- How does one present this new meaning in an organized, clear, coherent and engaging writing style?
- What is the most appropriate genre of writing to communicate that meaning?
- How does the visual/audio interpretation of a piece of writing change its meaning? What is the nature of that change?
- How has immersion in the written creation of original content and the production of digital media deepened the overall educational experience?
- How has working on a team changed the learning experience?
- The student will make a deep connection with a person, place, object or idea in her/his life.
- The student will explore the ties between objective and subjective knowledge and their relationship to meaning.
- The student will identify and practice a genre of writing of their choosing.
- The student will determine the best way to interpret his/her written piece as a multimedia piece, exploring how meaning changes when the medium changes.
- The student will understand how working deeply in two different media affects the learning experience.
- The student will have an increased awareness of the challenges and rewards of team collaboration.
|CONTENT COMMAND – Clear, thoughtful and imaginative exploration of an idea, place, person or thing.|
|Criteria||1 – 3||4 – 7||8 – 10|
|Depth and Range||Final piece reflects a cursory exploration of the content||Final piece at times reflects a substantive exploration of the content||Final piece reflects a substantive and enriching exploration of the content|
|Objective and Subjective content||Unbalanced mixture of objective and subjective information||Balanced mixture of objective and subjective information||Engaging mixture of objective and subjective information|
|Clear expression||The salient ideas that inform your Encyclopedic Musing are not expressed clearly or thoughtfully||The salient ideas that inform your Encyclopedic Musing are evident||The salient ideas that inform your Encyclopedic Musing are expressed clearly and thoughtfully|
|STORYTELLING COMMAND – Narrative elements|
|Criteria||1 – 3||4 – 7||8 – 10|
|Scripting and Text||The scripting and/or use of text does not service the narrative well||The scripting and/or use of text services the narrative clearly||The scripting and/or use of text demonstrates an effective and creative use of language, and propels the narrative forward|
|Narrative Flow(linear or non-linear)||The overall narrative flow is hard to follow||The overall narrative flow is presented clearly, but not always cohesively||The overall narrative flow is presented clearly and cohesively|
|MEDIA COMMAND – Effective use of the media to communicate the Encyclopedic Entry|
|Criteria||1 – 3||4 – 7||8 – 10|
|Mixed Visual Media||The use of imagery – still or moving – does not service the narrative well||The use of imagery – still or moving – services the narrative clearly||The use of imagery – still or moving – demonstrates an effective and creative use of visuals, and propels the narrative forward|
|Sound Design||The mix of music and sound did not enhance most elements of the narrative||The mix of music and sound serviced the intent of the narrative||The mix of music and sound greatly enhanced the intent of the narrative|
|Directing||The final presentation was not visually coherent or engaging.||The final presentation was intermittently interesting and coherent||The final presentation was visually arresting, creatively coherent and provocative|
|21ST CENTURY SKILLS COMMAND (for teachers only) – Effective use of collaborative thinking, creativity and innovation, and initiative and self-direction to create and produce the final project.|
|Collaborative Thinking||The group did not work together effectively and/or did not share the work equally||The group worked together effectively and had no major issues||The group demonstrated flexibility in making compromises and valued the contributions of each group member|
|Creativity and Innovation||The group did not make a solid effort to create anything new or innovative||The group was able to brainstorm new and inventive ideas, but was inconsistent in their realistic evaluation and implementation of those ideas||The group brainstormed many inventive ideas and was able to evaluate, refine and implement them effectively|
|Initiative and Self-Direction||The group was unable to set attainable goals, work independently and manage their time effectively||The group required some additional help, but was able to complete the project on time with few problems||The group set attainable goals, worked independently and managed their time effectively, demonstrating a disciplined commitment to the project|
The Encyclopedic Musing in Word and Image addresses a range of curricular objectives that have been articulated by the new Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts. Below please find the standards that are addressed, either wholly or in part.
Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts Standards
Text Types and Purposes
|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||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.|
Text Types and Purposes
|Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive 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.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.|
Production and Distribution of Writing
|Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.||Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.||Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.|
Production and Distribution of Writing
|With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.||Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.||Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.|
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
|Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.||Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.||Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.|
|SL1 SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Comprehension and Collaboration
|Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one- on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.|
|SL5 SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
|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.||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.|
Conventions of Standard English
|Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.||Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.||Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.|