Every May our 5th graders take a field trip to the tide pools at Corona Del Mar to learn about marine life. Part of the follow up for that trip includes some sort of assignment about various tide pool animals that reside in our local marine habitat.
This year as part of my effort to promote creativity and digital storytelling, we decided to shake things up a bit. Each child was to select a creature from the tidepools and make a story about that creature. They would give it a name, talk about it's life in the tidepool, or tell a story about their creature's little adventure. Stories must be factually accurate and cannot include any plot elements that go beyond the creature's natural abilities, real life predators, or physical environment. (i.e. No "Sea Slugs in Space" stories.)
The project began with students sketching out their stories in class on a storyboard template. (Storyboard.pdf courtesy of Hall Davidson) Storyboards included the story's "script" - what the student would say for each image. Next, they began to work on their pictures in the computer lab. Pictures could be drawn in KidPix, created in PowerPoint and exported as a jpeg file, imported from the Internet (properly cited, of course), or any combination of the three.
Finished pictures were imported to PhotoStory3. Students recorded their narration and added music and titles. When the stories were finished, they were exported to a Windows Media file and submitted electronically to their teacher for grading using our school LMS.
Were we crazy to start a project like this with only 8 1/2 days left in the school year? Maybe, but nearly all the kids were able to complete and submit their projects by this morning's deadline. (School ends this Friday!) They will be sharing them in class this afternoon.
Here is one about Brittle Stars.
This is a story about two crabs that sneak out to do some "TP-ing" with seaweed.
NOTE: Because of the limited time available to complete the assignment, students were limited to three pictures for their stories. But even with that restriction, they were still able to come up with some pretty good projects. Hopefully next year we'll be able to give them a little more time.
PHOTO CREDIT: Judykay (flickr.com/photos/judykay/290095974)