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Lesson 6

Page history last edited by Stephanie Knox 9 years, 5 months ago

Lesson 6: Working together


To prepare students for digital story production by dividing them up in to groups, assigning roles and deciding

upon story topics. Establish classroom and project management.


This lesson is designed to get students organized and lay a few ground rules. If you are working with more than

5-10 students, you will want to orchestrate this lesson well in order to avoid confusion later. This is less important

if you are working with just one group of 5-6 students. Give careful thought to how you would like students to

divide into groups, choose roles and topics as well as what your goals are for group work and learning. A sample

rubric is attached and can help you to decide on your emphasis.


This lesson may take several class periods. 


Read this lesson thoroughly so that you can make choices about how you wish to tackle the three tasks at

hand: 1) dividing your class into groups, 2) establishing roles and, 3) choosing topics. Use the attached

appendices to help, and then create a plan.

Select a digital story from the Bridges online gallery to show and inspire your students.

Have large sheets of paper and markers available for brainstorming.

Before tackling the three tasks of this lesson, consider the potentials and the limitations of your

classroom, and design a plan. Key decisions include:

o Groups: How many digital stories will your class make? How many students do you have and how

many do you think are ideal in a group? Are there certain combinations you would like to

encourage or avoid? Do you have enough computers/cameras to be shared among this number

of groups? Answers to these questions will determine how you proceed.

o Topics: What criteria will you establish when allowing for the choice of topics? The content of their

stories will be their research on the topic, plus their personal or emotional response to their

learning. Criteria examples include: topic must have to do with an area of study (the environment,

cultural celebrations, cultural history, a conflict to be resolved), topic must be something we can

photograph ourselves (NOT the moon), topic must be a current world issue, etc. Think about how

much guidance your students will need in selecting topics – students can get frustrated if their

choices are too narrow or too broad.

o Roles: Establishing roles can be tricky. The Narrator is often the first role to be established. The

Producer should be chosen with care, as they will make many ultimate decisions, (particularly if

the group has disagreements) and will need to work well with others. The roles can be combined,

depending on the number of students in the group. Roles are established either 1) by application,

2) by assignment, 3) by consensus in the group. This is the teacher!s call entirely and will vary

from class to class.


Create a real folder for each group. This folder will contain the detailed role sheets for each group, the

drafts of their scripts, their shot lists, interview questions and other materials. Keeping materials in this

folder for the remainder of the project will ensure all of the students! work stays together and it is available

to work with, even if a student is absent.

Post the following information in your class on large paper and fill them in as you can: The Group Matrix,

the Timeline, the Daily Goal. (see examples below) These posted papers help students to feel organized

in what can seem to be a complex process. You can complete the Matrix after this class, fill in the dates

of your Timeline, and the next day's Daily Goal will hopefully be apparent after each class.

Consider using the Group Work Grading Rubric to assess student as well as group progress and

accomplishment. Feel free to adjust the rubric for your own needs.

Allow several class periods to complete Lesson 6, or assign “role selection” as homework.


Show digital story. Invite questions and comments about the story, the photography, and the effects

(music, pacing and transitions). Explain to students that it requires a whole team of people to build a

digital story. The group must agree on a topic or theme, and all members must take a personal interest in

researching and telling the story. Everyone has a role to play and without each role, the job will NOT get

done. Perhaps you will grade them on cooperation.

Post and label 3 large sheets of paper (or use a whiteboard) with these headings across the top:

Groups/Topics/Roles. Use them to take notes on these discussions:

o Roles: Begin a preliminary conversation with students to determine what roles they can identify on

their own after viewing the digital story. (You may review the Roles At-a-Glance to help this process

along.) Write these on the Roles sheet. Roles can be combined later, according to the number of

students in a given group. Students may begin to show an interest in certain roles, and it is up to the

teacher to decide whether they will be assigned, applied for, or worked out within the group. For now,

have them listed for all to see the scope. Repeat this multiple times: Everyone will help with

everything (including photography) but one of you must take responsibility for each thing by assuming

one of these roles.

o Topics: Begin by giving your list of criteria for topics. Ask students to brainstorm a list of ideas that

have come up since beginning the Bridges Project. Class can brainstorm topics, and then discuss

according to criteria. Refer to all notes, including: KWL Chart, Who are we (identity), What we care

about (values), and any notes that came out of Lesson 5 activities. Pursue this until you have at

least as many topics as your ideal number of groups. Remember, this is a preliminary list.

o Groups: The method for forming groups is a teacher!s choice entirely. If groups are pre-formed by

teacher, then ask students to get into their groups and begin to discuss the list of topics. The topic

can change shape as students begin to discuss the issues. Conversely, groups often form naturally

around certain topics. We advise teachers to have an idea of how they would like this to happen,

before putting students into groups and selecting topics.


Explain to students that getting into their approximate groups, with a general topic, and establishing the

roles they will assume, usually takes a certain amount of managing/ shuffling/ compromising: these are all

essential parts of group work. Tell them you are looking for flexibility and cooperation.

Our experience at Bridges is that groups and topics should form first. Once these are established, we

seek the most equitable and time-conscious way to proceed. Referring to Roles At-a-Glance discuss and

take notes on the responsibilities of each role before continuing the assignment process. There are many

ways one can assign students to different roles (see examples below) but in any case, we recommend

choosing the Narrator and Producer first.

Role selection options include:

o Offer students a chance to write their first and second choices for their roles on paper (secret

ballot) and hand in, and teacher arranges roles.

o Ask students to write a paragraph telling why they are the best choice for the job and teacher

selects roles.

o Students can discuss their preferences within their groups, and assign their own roles.

Example Group Matrix (to be reproduced on a large piece of paper and displayed in the classroom)

For a Classroom with 25 students/Three Teams of 6, One Team of 7:

Story Groups

Role Groups

Traffic Garbage Animal



Producer/Blogger Lori Devon Linda Jamal/Annie

Narrator Luisa Marta Joab Myra

Editor Raul Pablo Keisha Tony

Writer(s) Mariko Nick Javier Tania

Photographer Phil Phong Julie Jennifer

Audio Annie Michel Bella Cheryl

Using this format, teachers can display a record of working Groups/Topics/Roles in the classroom. We

recommend this be posted for students, to help them understand how they are organized.

Lesson 6 is complete when the Groups, Topics, and Roles are established to everyone!s relative satisfaction!

Post your Group Matrix, Timeline and Daily Goals so students can see the direction of the project and their

responsibilities and goals at-a-glance. This will become internalized over time, and help them to self-direct.


The Daily Goal and Timeline

Because researching, photographing, writing, and assembling a digital story is so complex, students often need a

little extra guidance to keep them organized and on track. The daily goal and timeline are tools to help your

students understand the full process of completing a digital story.

The Daily Goal

A daily goal for every lesson often helps students break down their project into more manageable “chunks.” This

process helps students avoid missing steps, while helping them stay organized throughout the project.

Some example daily goals could be:

o Writer: have one page of your script written by the end of class

o Photographer and Editor: create a shot list of 15 pictures to bring in before next period

o Audio: write three ways to collect ambient sound or create music for the final project

o Narrator: think of someone to interview about the topic, find their contact information and generate 10

questions to ask them

If some students do not have immediate tasks (for instance, the editor and producer often don!t get busy until the

end of the project), have them work on the most difficult task with another member of the group. Be sure to have

“backup” tasks ready, in case some groups finish their daily goal.


While the daily goal helps students complete their immediate tasks, the timeline helps them see the “big picture.”

Write key tasks on the timeline to help students gauge where they are in the digital storytelling process. Refer to

the timeline daily to remind students what they have accomplish, and what still needs to be completed.

An example timeline would look something like this:


At-A-GLANCE Role Descriptions for Digital Storytelling

Producer: Keep project moving by planning daily tasks, and helping each member get

their work done

Be sure all photos and media are downloaded and cameras are checked in

and out properly

Trouble shoot research and photography “holes”

Facilitate music selection and copyright approval

Work with editor to make final editing decisions

Work with other producers to plan “Film Festival”

Work with other producers to plan Class Service Project

*This role combines well with blogger

Photographer: Create “shot lists” and assign photographers to complete

Review, select and edit best photographs for story and forum postings

Create a balance of shots (composition: detail/medium/establishing) and

remember to include narrator in several!

Work with producer to check cameras in and out safely

Work with blogger to select shots for production slideshow

Create “holes” shot list after reviewing narration with writer and narrator

Arrange for group photograph for credits

Narrator: Work closely with writer to craft the story using YOUR personal connection

to the topic

Research any information necessary to tell the story

Work with photographer to fulfill “shot lists” with you as subject

Work with audio and writer to record narration

Work with editor to edit narration

Writer - Facilitate group discussion to develop storyline, including every group

member and taking notes

Outline story ideas from discussion and draft story with narrator

Create question prompts for narrator

Work with photographer to create shot lists

Work with editor to match photos to narration

Editor - Work with photographer and writer to select and import photographs for


Import and edit narration with writer, narrator, and audio person

Match photographs to narration

Work with audio to import ambient sound, music into multimedia program

Work with producer to add titles, transitions, and motion

Audio - Record ambient sounds while on photo shoots, noting locations

Create ambient sounds to accompany story

Record narration, download to multimedia program

Work with editor to edit narration, ambient sound and music


Post messages to the discussion forums

Create “credits” for digital story

Select photographs to post and create production slideshow in forum


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