My grade 9 French immersion class had an assignment due today. They read about five short stories from a collection called L’anneau du Guépard. If you’re not familiar with this work, each short story is very different and each has an unexpected twist at the end. Their final task has evolved over the last couple of years into what I finally had them do. They had the choice of either creating a movie trailer for one of the stories or transforming it into a comic strip. For the trailer, they were to imagine that the story is being turned into a movie. They had to clearly demonstrate the setting, the mood and the themes through their choice of words, images and music. Did some of them ever blow me away! It’s amazing what these kids can do with technology these days. Some of them really caught the attention of the class.
I wanted the class to have the opportunity to see the comic strips as well, so I had them post their comics around the room. Under each comic strip, I placed a couple of sticky notes. After watching the movie trailers, I told the students that they had to read their classmates’ comics and to write one thing that they liked about their work on the sticky note. It was nice that they had a chance to see each others’ work and I took the sticky notes and put them on their work, so that way they can see what their classmates wrote. A couple of posts ago, I talked about spontaneous conversations, and so I thought that this would be a quick “spontaneous writing” activity.
I like this final task for several reasons:
Students choose their story and choose the form in which they would like to present the final product.
It really offers them the opportunity to get creative with their work.
3. Critical thinking
They need to make informed decisions in both tasks. For the trailer, they need to decide what they are going to show, how they are going to show it and how they are going to capture the attention of the audience. For the comic strip, they need to rework the story so that it is coherent and logical, but in a different format. They need to decide what the characters are going to say in their own words and which parts to narrate. For both, they need to demonstrate the themes.
For those who chose to use it, they got to play around with iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Bitstrips, Comic Life or ToonDoo. I usually have my students in the computer labs to work on it, but unfortunately, because there were none available, they had to do it on their own time at home. So, I had to be a bit more flexible this time around and allowed students to hand draw if they chose to do so.
As part of the whole process, I had them create storyboards for the trailers and rough drafts for the comic strips. I gave them detailed feedback on ways they could improve the final product. I really think that helped them create what they did. I’m glad I took the time to do that. It really paid off in the end results.
I hope you find some of these resources useful.
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