Using Technology to Teach Components of Plot

My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

The sixth grade English teacher here combined plasticine, digital cameras, QuickTime Pro and the five phases of plot to create a dynamic and interesting lesson that few of her students will ever forget.

Ms. Culligan a new teacher here at CMS approached me a little with some steps to a project that she wanted to try.  She obviously wasn’t entirely comfortable with the process or technology involved and i love it when teachers do this to themselves.  We ran with the project got some help from Bill Farren a middle school technology facilitator … y voila!

Here are some goals and reflections from the teacher on the project:

  1. That students would create a story map, applying the five phases of plot that we had discussed in class  (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falliing Action, and Resolution), and would then tell that story by building a 3D clay model and photographing a sequence for a claymation movie.
    They accomplished this goal in the sense that their written plans for the stories showed all the steps of plot; but in the actual movies those steps are really hard to distinguish.
  2. That after the project, at least 90% of the kids would get an A on a quiz where they had to identify and explain the steps of plot.
    They accomplished this, so I think the project was effective that way.
  3. That they would work together, fulfill the expectations of their jobs, make compromises, and generally be good contributors to their group; consistently adhering to the Tribes agreements.
    This worked out really well actually, for most groups, even with kids who often have a difficult time working in groups. There were two groups out of 28 or so that didn’t finish their movies, but at least they got the chance to do self/peer reflections to decide what went wrong. I did hear a lot of Spanish being spoken during the process of making the movies, because it was difficult for me to monitor with all the activity, so that was a downside of the group work.
  4. That the kids would have fun.
    Most said it was their favorite thing we’ve done this year, so I know they enjoyed it.

If you would like a copy of the steps involved in this please contact me.

Great job Ms. Culligan!
Thanks for pushing yourself and your students

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