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POWERPOINTING NARRATIVE

John Sarev

Monitoring and Assessment

Four Resources Guideposts

Technology Role Cards

Classroom Organisation

Engagement: Empowering Teachers with Successful Strategies

The PowerPointing Narrative strategy is built around the following principles:

  • PowerPreparation
  • PowerBuilding
  • PowerFraming
  • PowerPointing
  • PowerPresenting

Holistically, the strategy involves both students and teachers working through a series of ICT-meshed steps that culminate in the PowerPresenting phase of the strategy using PowerPoint. PowerPointing Narrative is designed so that both teachers and students engage in narrative at a conventional text level through to an ICT enhanced level.

The strategy focuses on developing understandings of Luke and Freebody’s Four Roles/Resources of the Reader and critical thinking skills as espoused by Eric Frangenheim. Through this approach students always use some aspect of technology to explore the ideas of text and its contextual positioning as well as the writer’s craft.

Engagement: Engaging Students in Purposeful Social Practices

Strategy

PowerPointing Narrative

Text

The Wife’s Story by Ursula Le Guin and texts about wolves and superstition

  • integrates the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader
  • provides an incremental paradigm to apply to a growing awareness of how to mesh technology with narrative
  • can be applied to any text type: exposition, narrative, poetry
  • incorporates all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy
  • utilises concepts related to e-intelligence and skills
  • scaffolds a greater understanding of purpose, audience and context
  • promotes critical thinking skills through a Y-Chart analysis
  • involves students in multiliterate behaviours as they merge traditional and e-texts
  • builds on students’ prior knowledge of PowerPoint
  • discourages ‘PowerPointlessness’ through the use of Technology Role Cards
  • is a story that challenges understandings of narration
  • uses conventional short story structures as well as language that tricks the reader
  • presents the concept of the unreliable narrator
  • connects with other stories of the macabre and unexpected
  • connects with popular myths and legends to do with human interaction with wolves and other animals
  • is atmospheric as well as anthropomorphic in its storytelling

Four Roles/Resources of the Reader

Based on the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader developed by Freebody and Luke (1990), PowerPointing Narrative involves students in the following repertoire of purposeful social practices:

Code breaker

Decoding the codes and conventions of written, spoken and visual texts, eg:

  • decodes the conventions of written and multimedia texts
  • interprets literal and symbolic images of shapes, objects, setting, colour and sound
  • interprets the codes of the internet and the language of search engines

Text user

Understanding the purposes of different written, spoken and visual texts for different cultural and social functions, eg:

  • interacts with others around a text by sharing and prioritising ideas about wolves
  • identifies the features of the narrative and transforms them into PowerPoint and Readers Theatre presentations
  • applies own images and sounds to selected texts to create a new PowerPoint text
  • understands the multimodal nature of texts by transforming conventional print texts into e-texts

Text participant

Comprehending written, spoken and visual texts, eg:

  • integrates own knowledge about wolves with new knowledge gained from texts about wolves
  • refers to own repertoire of images, symbols and sounds associated with wolves and their interaction with humans
  • uses/finds images and sounds to enhance own understanding of wolves and their interaction with humans
  • identifies links with other stories or knowledge of wolves and the unexpected

Text analyst

Understanding how texts position readers, viewers and listeners, eg:

  • challenges common perceptions of humans/wolves interactions
  • examines fact and opinion in a variety of texts, eg myths, legends, information texts and e-texts
  • explores the effectiveness of traditional storytelling as opposed to e-telling
  • asks questions about the nature of a text and its positioning of the reader
  • questions the validity and reliability of internet sites, eg uses a SWOT analysis

Four Resources Guideposts

The PowerPointing Narrative Guideposts provide a useful assessment tool.

Implementing the Strategy

PowerPointing Narrative using The Wife's Tale

PowerPreparation

PowerPreparation is structured around two guiding strategies, a Round Robin and Tournament Prioritising. These two strategies are designed so that students pull together as much collective knowledge as possible and then, through a process of consensual discussion, arrive at the most valid points relating to the topic. They also help you to ascertain what your students know about wolves.

Noisy Round Robin

Process

  • Arrange students in groups of four. These groups may be maintained throughout the whole PowerPointing Narrative strategy or changed to promote more interactions with a variety of students.

  • Ask students to brainstorm everything they know about wolves and the stories, fairy tales, myths and superstitions associated with them. Allow three minutes to do this.

  • Once the time is up, students should hand their sheet on to the next group.

  • When students receive the next sheet of paper they continue adding to the list. They should not repeat information that they included on their original sheet.

  • Repeat steps 2 to 4. Determine the number of rotations based on student engagement and the flow of ideas. Three or four rotations might be enough in a class of 30.

  • When the students receive their original sheet give them a few minutes to look over what has been recorded on the sheet.

  • Students then rank the information in terms of importance and justify why they are ranked in this way.

At this point distribute texts on human interactions with animals, wolves, and superstition. Download Howls of Horror, or stories about feral children and wolves at http://www.occultopedia.com/index1.htm. There you will be able to find stories about the Wild Boy of Aveyron, John Ssabunnya and Amala and Kamala. Refer to texts such as The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling which is available in the public domain at the Project Gutenberg site.

As you read the texts with your students, ask groups to add any new, relevant information to their lists. This will allow them to increase their knowledge bank. They may also wish to change their rankings.

Tournament Prioritising

Students work with the results of their noisy round robin and plot the points on the Tournament Prioritising sheet.

Process

  • Create a context, such as ‘What would we tell someone to describe what our class understood about wolves?’

  • Give each group a Tournament Prioritising sheet. The item seeded at the top of the round robin page must be seeded at No 1, the second item at No 24, the third item at No 2, the fourth at No 23, the fifth at No 3 and so on.

  • In the same groups, decide on which items will be eliminated, and advance each ‘winner’ to the next round and continue until each group can rank their items. Encourage students to make active decisions about why to keep one item and eliminate another. At some stage it would be valuable to stop your students and ask them to explain the process of elimination and justify their decisions.

  • At the end of the activity lead a discussion about why the ‘winners’ should form the basis of the class understanding.

PowerBuilding for the Narrative

At the PowerBuilding stage students gather important information to consolidate their knowledge of wolves in literature. Strategies also include critical thinking skills.

Before you begin this stage of the strategy allow time for your students to synthesise what they have learnt so far. To do this you could use a K-W-L chart.

Direct students to decide on a topic, something like, what are wolves really like? From here your students will need to work only on the first two columns as throughout the strategy you are collecting knowledge and understandings that will allow them to complete the third column.

What are wolves really like?
What I know
K
What I want to know
W
What I learned
L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Provide students with a variety of texts that present ideas about humankind’s interaction with wolves so that they may gather more background information. There are a number of texts available such as George Bruce’s Natuk in Watermelon Moon and myths such as those relating to The Legend of Romulus and Remus; also anthropological stories of Kamala and Amala (type in feral children and the select Kamala and Amala), reared by wolves in India.

  • There is a variety of sites about wolves on the Internet. As students explore these sites they should identify key words such as wolves and myths and legends to narrow the search. Sites such as www.wolfcountry.net/information/WolfMyth.shtml have a variety of literary texts related to wolves.

  • In using the Internet, teach students how to effectively use meta-search engines such as Dogpile and clustering search engines such as Vivisimo. In PowerBuilding for the Narrative, students need to make discerning decisions about the reliability and validity of sites. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis would be an optional but valuable tool here.

  • As students continue through the strategy, they may record their understandings in a sound and image journal. In fact, there are opportunities to include images in the What I know column and work from there to complete the two remaining columns.

  • The sound and image journal may be a paper-based journal or an electronic one. A sound and image journal is a record of sounds and images which are linked to the topic or text being studied. Students may add print text to justify the inclusion of particular sounds and images. An electronic journal may also enable the students to capture the actual sounds and images rather than just describing them.

  • The journal is nourished by using, eg the Y-Chart and the Internet, to locate more information about wolves and humans. Critical thinking strategies such as the Y-Chart analysis will support students to sort through their own understandings of the topic as they explore more texts.

PowerFraming the Narrative

PowerFraming assumes that both students and teachers have at least an intermediate understanding of using PowerPoint.

  • Provide students with the opportunity to refresh themselves with the uses of PowerPoint. Perhaps three lessons on using the features of PowerPoint, such as slide construction, importing images, changing backgrounds and animation, would be valuable as these are the essential features of the strategy.

  • Download the PowerPoint version of The Legend of Romulus and Remus. Ask students to print this out, preferably three slides to a page so that they will be able to annotate each slide. Working in their groups, ask students what additional images and sounds would best accompany the given parts of the story. Questions such as ‘What background noise would we need to hear?’ and ‘What other images can we add to this to assist in our reading?’ might be helpful in directing students as they write their ideas on the lines provided.


     

     

     

     

     

     

     














  • Once students have successfully achieved the Romulus and Remus task, provide them with a copy of The Wife’s Story. After reading the text, spend some time deconstructing the short story according to The Four Roles/Resources of the Reader. Students should work in groups of four, using the Learning Role Cards to scaffold their questioning of the text.
  • Students now proceed to applying sounds and images to The Wife’s Story. Start by drawing six boxes (slides in PowerPoint like the one above) and underneath each slide write a line from a key part of the story. Ask the students to consider the ways in which we as readers are asked to visualise the text: discuss the use of sound clips, graphics/images relevant to the story, how we could animate the slide and why it should be done in that way. Record ideas in the boxes.

PowerPointing the Narrative

PowerPointing involves the students transferring their knowledge and understandings to PowerPoint and Readers Theatre.

  • Ask students to choose one of the texts already explored, eg The Wife’s Story or The Jungle Book, Natuk, The Legend of Romulus and Remus or Amala and Kamala. Students should work in groups of four (pairs would be acceptable too) so that a majority of the work can be shared.

  • In their groups students identify four excerpts (4-6 lines) from their selected text which they feel are important in the text.

  • Students then illustrate these excerpts by constructing four slides which are a mosaic of images and sounds that illustrates their understanding of the text. The selected excerpts should complement the image and sound presentation and vice versa.

  • The knowledge and information that students have collected in their sound and image journals and in their annotations of the slides of The Legend of Romulus and Remus and The Wife’s Story may be useful here.

  • Extension/Enrichment Task
    Rather than focus on the narrative to determine the four slides, the selected four slides must demonstrate each of the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader. In this way students show the ways they have broken, used, participated in and analysed the text.

Students can be directed to specific tasks related to the construction of the PowerPoint slide presentation. Tasks include image and sound retrieval, slide construction and animation, decision making and refining of the presentation. There may be some adept users of PowerPoint who can lead and support other group members.

Students need opportunities to use the Internet to locate appropriate images and sounds to use in their presentations. This would most likely take a number of lessons. Time can be saved by the teacher downloading or caching sites that are appropriate. Students would be expected to use a range of search engines.

PowerPresenting the Narrative

In PowerPresenting the Narrative students read excerpts from The Wife’s Story or from their selected text as a Readers Theatre presentation, with the slide show happening in the background.

It is important to model possible approaches that can be taken. Below is an example of how one group of students devised their own macabre/mystery story using images and sounds and presenting it as a Readers Theatre presentation.

cartoon figure opening door
Key:
Yellow spoken by Speaker 1
Blue spoken by Speaker 2
Green spoken by Speaker 3
Red spoken by Speaker 4
Pink are sounds from the Internet
Grey means that all say it
* means insert the next slide

The man walks down the stairs with precise steps (step 1, 2, 3). Opening the door the stranger turned around. Creak of door opening. èTell them I came. That I kept my word.î Then, just as mysteriously as he appeared, he disappeared into the night. The clouds hiding his departure. *

The excerpt from The Snatcher, written by students, shows how to mesh image with narrative. The script underneath the slide is synchronised with the presentation. Sound effects add to the presentation. Where students are unable to locate appropriate electronic sounds, they may create them with their own voices.

After a rehearsal so that timing and image are synchronised, students present the show to the class. Ensure all students are involved in the Readers Theatre presentation.

Evaluation and Reflection

Use the Technology Role Cards so that students evaluate their work and reflect on their learning.


Resources

Howls of Horror [Acrobat PDF: 3.68MB]

The Legend of Romulus and Remus [text]

The Legend of Romulus and Remus, Illustrated by Lauren Parris [PowerPoint presentation, 288KB]

Technology Role Cards

Tournament Prioritising [Microsoft Word Document, 24KB]


References

Bruce, G. ‘Natuk’ in Woodhouse, C. (ed.). (1990). Watermelon Moon and Other Stories. Sydney: Longman.

Frangenheim, Eric. (2002). Reflections on classroom thinking strategies: 36 practical strategies to encourage thinking in your classroom. QLD: Rodin Educational Publishing.

Kipling, R. (1987). The Jungle Book. London: Penguin.
Also available in the public domain at www.cs.cmu.edu/People/rgs/jngl-table.html

Le Guin, U. ‘The Wife’s Story’ in The Compass Rose. (1982). Underwood-Miller (1982), Harper & Row (1982) and Bantam (1983).

Le Guin, U. ‘The Wife’s Story’ in Woodhouse, C. (ed.). (1990 ). Watermelon Moon and Other Stories. Sydney: Longman.

Stories about feral children and wolves at http://www.occultopedia.com/index1.htm

The Legend of Romulus and Remus at http://museums.ncl.ac.uk/reticulum/NORTHERNFRONTIER/
WeCameWeSawWeConq/WhereDidTheyComeFrom/Story.htm

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