Summer SAVY 2018: Session 3, Day 4 – Digital Storytelling (Rising 5th/6th)
This morning we discussed character development. We started by watching the Pixar short “Lou.” This story displays how with very little dialogue, details and showing become a very important part of developing a character. We gravitate to the stories that show us who the characters are through action versus stories that tell us passively about the characters. Good characters in stories have specific details, show us who they are through action, are relatable, multi-faceted, have real emotion, and have a character arc. We looked at an example of constructing good characters through action by looking at Jeff Smith’s Bone series. The excerpt we looked at drops the reader in media res (in the middle) of the action. This allows the readers to use context clues and observe what the characters do from panel to panel to help us learn who these bones are.
Next, we talked about metaphors. We looked at some examples of visual metaphors in the form of ads and a political cartoon. Visual metaphors don’t have many words but can convey a powerful message using visuals and closure, which is how our minds fill in the gaps between what we see and what we understand about what we see. We also looked at written metaphors. The students created a list completing the phrase “Love is…” Some examples of what they came up with are “Love is a rollercoaster,” and “Love is a fountain.” We then looked at a list of love metaphors from popular songs and the students drew conclusions about what they thought this collection of love metaphors said about our culture, about how we view love, and whether the metaphors were serious or silly.
We also talked about the “and then/because of” approach to storytelling. We discussed how “and then” doesn’t take us anywhere, whereas “because of” creates story stakes. Stakes are those (literally or metaphorical) life or death scenarios the character faces. “Because of” stories are intentional; each event reasonably follows from the last event and gives the story cohesion. We used The Lion King as an example of a story built on “because of.” Ask your student how The Lion King is a “because of” story.
Because we talked about making connections in a story, we played a poetry puzzle activity. I gave the students poem lines that had been cut out and scrambled. They worked together with their table groups to put the poems back together in a way that made sense from a story perspective.
To wrap up the day, the students had a chance to go to the computer lab to work on their final projects. They are so excited for you to see them!
Learning How to Write Flash Fiction and Using Metaphors