After observing a 2nd grade class at Boulevard Elementary, in Shaker Heights, I decided to create a digital story on community helpers. The classroom was discussing ideas of where the students saw themselves in 10 years. I believe there are many great jobs in our neighborhood that some students might not even be aware of. This is why I decided to create a digital story on community helpers.
According to Lambert, “For each and every storyteller, we are focused on creating a story that feels unique and powerful. Unique in that we hear the author describe the events and issues of the story in a way that is only theirs to provide, that the perspective feels like it emerged from honest self-reflection” (Lambert). It was very important for me to tell my digital story about community helpers in a unique way that would engage my audience, 7 and 8 year olds. I chose to write a poem about community helpers because I thought it would be an engaging way to articulate all the different helpers in the community. I also chose to portray my video as me going on a quest on my bike so the students would visually be able to see that we do not have to go far to find all of these community helpers, they are truly right in our neighborhood, and only a bike ride away.
While I filmed my digital story, I rode around Lakewood, Ohio, on my bike, and videotaped what I saw. According to Lambert, storytellers need to, “describe the images that come to mind, understand what those images convey, find or create those images, and then imagine how best to use them to convey their intended meaning” (Lambert). After writing the community helpers poem, I knew I wanted the visuals of the video to show someone riding their bike throughout Lakewood and stumbling on all of the spots talked about in the poem. My visuals were very literal. When I discussed going to the library in the poem, I showed a video of the Lakewood Library. This was done because I wanted my video to match my script. The poem I wrote was very lighthearted and fun and I wanted the visuals to match that script. I did not think my visuals needed to be complicated. In addition, I also wanted to keep in mind my audience. Since this digital story is intended for young students, I knew they would appreciate the visuals of their teacher going on a bike ride throughout Lakewood, to match the fun and easy going nature of the poem. I also think that filming all of these places on my bike, offered a unique perspective, and the student watching the digital story may feel like they are on the quest too.
I chose to have my voice be the main sound of the digital story and added a few sound effects, such as pages turning in the library and emergency sirens. I did not want to overpower my voice because the poem was such an integral part of my digital story. However, I think the addition of the few sound effects helped add to the digital story and to the viewer’s feeling like they are on the quest.
While the first viewers of my digital story will be my classmates in ED 586, I am excited to share my story with my future students. I think my digital story offered a fun and unique way to learn about different community helpers and might prompt some students to go on their own community helper quest!
Lambert, J. (2012) Chapter 5: Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling, Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. (4th Edition). Routledge : New York, NY. pp. 53-69.