Sunday, May 30, 2010

Multimodal Projects

As a final project for your junior year in English, you'll have an opportunity to demonstrate your interest and capabilities across a variety of modalities. The list below gives you ideas from which you can draw. You will post your work on your blog, so please revisit and update your blog as necessary before beginning this project.  Please remember to tag your blog posts with your pseudonym.

Prior to beginning a multimodal project, you are required to conference with Dr. Carolyn. She will discuss your ideas and offer you input so that you can be really successful.

Remember:  Your multimodal project will contain the nine research sources (minimally) that you compiled over the last three weeks.  Each project must include MLA citations for all texts.

Create a public service advertisement about the issue that you have chosen. It should highlight visual aspects of the issue for your audience by including a slogan, captions, and prominent and easy-to-comprehend visual icons. It should be 8.5” x 11” and be able to be reproduced as a full-page magazine ad.  Beware!  It's difficult to create an advertisement that looks like a professional advertising agency composed it. You'll need to learn about the various elements that contribute to a professional advertisement. Super Book Review
Write critical analyses of books about your issue. To begin, you should also review other book reviews on and critique their reviews so you demonstrate real comprehension of the genre.  In addition to posting on your blog, you must also post your review on Amazon with your pseudonym.

American Memory Multimodal Imagination
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas. Compile research from American Memory about your issue and create an imaginative multimodal construction.

Blogs from Beyond
Create a Super Blog that gathers together what other people around the world are saying about your issue. Read several blogs on the internet that discuss aspects of your Issue. Cite and synthesize each blog’s main ideas in a succinct annotation. Hotlink to their blogs.  Fabulous "Blogs from Beyond" will have conversations with the bloggers you discover and develop a dialogue with other bloggers who have interests similar to your own about your issue.

Blog Narrative
Feeling a time crunch?  Why not consider simply creating a series of nine blog posts that incorporate each of the research resource requirements?  You would have a beginning, middle, and end to your narrative.  You could add interesting visual effects, too, if you find that you do have extra time.

Body Biography
This is a human outline that you fill with images and words that represent your understanding of a teen who experiences your issue. The Body Biography is a visual and written portrait illustrating several aspects of the character's life. Step back and think about each part of the body, and decide what symbols the different parts stand for in relation to this teen’s life. Heart (love), spine (motivation), hands (touch), feet (beliefs and values), and other body parts have special meanings to your teen. Interpret those meanings. Also, include research excerpts and rich descriptive passages of your own writing and voice to support your ideas.

Gallery Display 
This is a series of objects that have cultural significance to the teen issue which interests you.  The objects take on special significance due to the descriptions you attach to them. The gallery items connect to the themes and content of your issue. Each Gallery Display Item must have a 3-4 sentence caption that describes the significance of the object in conjunction with the teen issue.  The Gallery will build into a presentation that is similar to works of art in a museum or independent gallery.

Graffiti Wall
Think of your blog as a long wall--- a canvas on which you can provide your own imprint and impressions.  Prominently write the name of your issue in large font so that the audience of your blog is aware of the teen issue around which you're working.  Around the name of the issue, with colorful, handwritten-like font, write down lots of ideas about your Issue. These ideas can include direct excerpts from your research, important words and phrases, quotations about the issue from experts, and data.  When you're done, it should look like a Graffitti Wall but have a persuasive message that connects the items to the issue at hand.

International Teen Newspaper
Create your own Super Newspaper by creating a layout that seems like it is a real newspaper.  You could surf newspapers around the world, too, to learn what other people in other countries are saying about your Issue. A good place to start is at the website,, which has a left frame with hotlinks to major international daily newspapers. Create your Super Newspaper by hotlinking to the research you have compiled.  Make your newspaper look like a newspaper with banner, headlines, photographs, interviews, advertisements, attributions, and other typical elements.

Internet Comic Book
Create a booklet of words and images of sequential art about your Issue. Integrate a narrative about different dimensions and controversies of your issue into a flexible and powerful printed format. This project selection is not for the art-challenged, like Dr. Carolyn! You must be able to upload your final Comic Book onto your class blog, so be conscious of any technology needs ahead of time if you choose this project.

Movie Trailer
The goal is to create a movie trailer of a fictitious movie based on your Issue. First, write a script. Next, plan out how you will assemble visuals and narration into a cohesive narration.  You can film it or create a Microsoft Photostory or Microsoft Movie Maker composition.

Music Montage
This is a compilation of several pieces of music that speak to the various points of view different people hold about your Issue. This should be accompanied with visuals and/ or lyrics to create a multimodal response. Post the lyrics with songwriter credits on your class blog... but beware of copyright infringement!  You can also layer narration and graphics into a streamed series of persuasive issues that use music to create meaning.  Our own high school Sound in the Hall recording studio may be of assistance to you.

Photographic Slide Show
This is a photographic representation of themes and content of your Issue through images. You may choose among photos artwork, graphics, museum artifacts, and other digital artifacts. You should arrange your slide show so that the images build into a narrative: you should tell a story through your selection of images.

Point of View Plea
This is a filmed appeal from the hypothetical point of view of someone who dramatizes what is means to be emotionally involved with your Issue. He or she should talk directly to the camera and discuss the Issue honestly and openly. Be creative, though: remember, lectures aren’t persuasive.

This on-line magazine reflects your feelings, opinions, and uncertainties about your Issue. You can hotlink to other texts such as editorial, newspaper columns, feature articles, blogs, and advertisements. A ‘Zine is a hypertext composition, so you need to make design decisions about layout, white space, fonts, color balance, visual proportioning, and headlines.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What does blogging look like in the public school?

The following is a overview of a blog that I shared with my tenth grade students.

Creating a Blog: Your Voice, Your Choices
What is a blog?

The word “blog” is short for "Web log." A blog is a specialized site that allows an individual or group of individuals to share a running log of events and personal insights with online audiences. ( It offers readers the opportunity to reply to opinions and link to their own blogs. ( Some blogs have definite authors who disclose their names and some with anonymous authors who use a nickname.(

Why are we learning about a blog?

As part of our “Society, Issues, and Identity” unit, you, as one of Ms. Fortuna’s students, will post occasionally to a classroom blog. Because it is important for you to be safe and protected when using the Internet for classroom purposes, you will post on the classroom blog using a pseudonym.

What is a pseudonym?
A pseudonym is a "false name" or alias used by a writer desiring not to use his or her real name. Sometimes called a nom de plume or "pen name. ( A pseudonym serves many purposes. An assumed name protects the anonymity of an author.( Fictitious names are often used when the person performs a particular social role. ( In this situation, you will be using a blog to publish your classroom learning experiences.

What is it called when I send something I have written to the blog?
When you submit your writing to the moderator, it is called posting.

Who is the moderator for our blog?
Ms. Fortuna is the moderator for the blog. This means that she reviews and sometimes abbreviates posts from the students. Some posts that are submitted to the blog may not be accepted, and yet other posts may be accepted without any editing. It is likely that most submissions will get posted with some editing.

How often will I be required to blog?
About once a week or so, Ms. Fortuna will schedule a computer lab for the class.

What is the address for the blog?

Blogging assessment criteria
Integration/ Synthesis of Concepts and Principles:
The blogging responses demonstrate an integration of concepts and principals from classroom surrounding society, issues, and identity.

Critical Thinking:

Postings frequently demonstrate use of upper level thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and illustrate a thoughtful approach to the content.

Applications and Personal Examples:
The blogging responses share personal connections to the topics of society, issues, and identity in a way that extends class concepts insightfully.

Writing standards:
The writing from blogging posts is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Ideas. The responses are communicated clearly and coherently.


The responses are submitted on or before the due date.

Infusing student choice through multi-modal projects

Multimodal projects are synonymous with blogging. Multimodal projects allow students to become co-teachers as they develop a deeper understanding of textuality through analysis, application, and composition. Please see a list of multimodal project options at the following url, which is located on my school website.

Several of these ideas were adapted from Thompson's 2008 presentation at AERA. See Thompson, Mary. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Oct2008, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p144-153, 10p, 4 charts.

PBS advice to teachers
PBS has created a pdf that outlines ideas for multimodal implementation. It also directs the viewer to additional resources for networking with other teachers and researchers.

Sample student artifacts
I created a student-centered blog called "Society, Issues, Identity" which is located at

This blog is a place where I can post essential ideas about learning events as they occur. The posts contain embedded links to other websites and, most importantly, a comment field where students can become co-teachers as participants in the academic discourse. Please feel free to browse the blog.

Several students in 2009 used the opportunity to post on a blog to link print, visual, and video texts they composed.

This url below points to a series of initial student comments as they began to investigate and make meaning around an issue of interest to them.

This url below are students responses to a blog I posted about youth as "digital natives."

These urs are two senior posts as responses to reading Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Other student responses can be located in the comments field on the "Heart of Darkness" post.

To create a blog
Go to and follow the step-by-step directions.

Photostories: Narration for new media

What are photostories?

Photostory is a free Microsoft download that allows composers to create slideshows that are embedded with digital photographics, internet graphics, text captions, music, video, and sound. Microsoft Photo Story is a free application that allows users to create a show and tell presentation from their digital photos. [1] The software uses the Ken Burns Effect on digital photos and allows adding narration, effects, transitions and background music to create a Windows Media Video movie file with pan and zoom effects

Similar to Powerpoint in its appearance due to slides in sequence, Photostory is easily compatible with the web. Photostories can be uploaded to websites like YouTube.

Teacher sample photostories
The first photostory I created was a narration that modeled ways students could translate the themes in Ibsen's Ghosts to contemporary society.

The second photostory I created was a lesson about the "Grammar of film" which helped students to gain interpretive tools for application to viewing Inherit the Wind.

Student sample photostories

Several students combined keen observation of metaphors into their film trailers for Inherit the Wind.

Ella's voiceover narration gave her Heart of Darkness photostory an authentic documentary feel.

One student used a platform that combined music [sound and lyrics] into analysis.

One student used another platform called Photobucket to post her project on the web.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wikis for group collaboration

What are wikis?

A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup. Wikis allow students to collaborate in groups so as to create gestault. Wikis are websites that allow multiple users to create, modify and organize web page content in a collaborative manner.

How to create a wiki

Where else would we go to learn how to create a wiki than "wikipedia?" :) The description is comprehensive and includes history, navigation, security, user communities, and research communities.

Flexible grouping and wikis

Wikis allow students to come together and share their wealth of knowledge. Students in groups collaborate best when they divide and share tasks and accept equal responsiblity for the final project. Ideas about ways that flexible groups can be most successful are located on my teacher blog on the "Flexible grouping at the high school level" post at

Sample student artifacts

Several students decided to collaborate in groups and create wikis as their multimodal options. The following are their student artifacts.