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Are you looking for a new way to teach that unit on short stories? Or to bring in some fresh examples of digital storytelling to complement your traditional lessons on the short story genre? Then this is for you! In this unit, students will learn about the short prose genre of short fiction through the digital short story The Boat by Nam Le. Historical context, reflective writing, media application, and literary devices will all be explored in this media-rich process.
Short stories are an exciting and ever-evolving form of storytelling in the digital age. This unit explores the strong tradition short stories have in our culture, as well as the new, innovative techniques artists and filmmakers are currently using to tell and distribute their stories. The resources in these modules can be used to supplement a larger course on short stories, or be used as a stand-alone course. The timing is roughly 3-4 weeks of work, but you can take as long as you wish depending on your time frame.
All activities are geared toward flipped and blended classroom instruction and utilizes Web 2.0 technologies. I provide links to examples to apps to use in your unit (much like a hyperdoc). For example, Google Sites can be used as a class portfolio and blogging site for personal response questions, Popplet for collaborative character exploration, etc. The beauty is all the flex! Use all the activities included or simply pick and choose what you like from the playlist.
Optional: A culminating project is included to cap the unit as students work to create one short digital story of their own making in the media of their choosing. Innovative storytelling techniques are highly encouraged!
Here are two module examples:
• Video: What is a Short Story?
• Read About Short Prose Genre
• Short Stories: Definition & Characteristics
• Discussion: Story Setting
• Author Spotlight: Nam Le
• A Brief Look at the Vietnam War
• Digital Story: The Boat Chs 1-2
• Mod 2-Personal Response: Cultural Dimensions
• Media Quest #1: Figurative Language
• First Look: Digital Story Elements
• Observation: Morphing Classics
• Video: Symbolism and Theme
• Read Digital Story: The Boat Chs 3-4
• Discussion: Pick-a-Theme
• Meet the Artist: Matt Huynh
• Vietnam: Re-education Camps
• Mod 3-Personal Response: Cultural Dimensions
• Share Media Quest #1: Figurative Language
Good to know:
Canvas courses use Common Cartridge software that can be loaded into most all LMS platforms such as Blackboard, Edmodo, Schoology, D2L, Haiku, Angel, Moodle, and more. I provide a YouTube video tutorial with instructions using Haiku as an example on how to do this through your ‘manage classes’ tab. The link to the zipped file is included for you to download, but if you do not wish to import the course to your LMS, I also provide a direct private link to my course where you can pull content however you please.
I loved designing this unit and I hope you enjoy it too!
*Please Note: The digital story The Boat has one use of profanity that cannot be edited out, and that is why this unit is geared toward older students. This is an issue you will need to address appropriately with students and parents at your discretion. The writings of Nam Le and the stunning visual presentation of this work are too valuable to disregard in the larger scheme of literature, and I think worth overcoming this one issue.