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  • Writer's pictureBernajean Porter

Rebranding & Resetting Possibilities for ELA

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Maker Space meets Writer's Studio! This is the custom sign to the entrance of my new classroom at RVIS Bahrain International School. I've spent the summer updating myself about possibilities and considering HOW to set the climate for expectations and delights ahead for a traditional ELA curriculum. Branding is everything so this sign declares and announces the name of the "container" or classroom in order to foreshadow what student writers can expect to create in this coming year.

I already knew that the position of teacher-on-assignment challenge was to infuse worthy digital tools for writers as well as ramping up skills beyond text to incorporate digital storytelling as well reading-writing images, sound and designing information for other media-making content. One book I stumbled upon in my learning curves this summer was Angela Stockman's Hacking the Writing Workshop: Redesign with Making in Mind. She stretched my thinking while inspiring a way to put possibilities together in a way that would contain a significant portion of learning experiences I expect to unfold this coming year. The ultimate goal is joy in writing and public publishing as drivers for increasing communication skills.

As part of my DigiTales StoryTelling Camps, teachers experienced their own process of getting media products of any kind into the zone of excellence that would deliver a high return-on-learning. Much like writing steps, the seven steps for media-making organizes the tasks, mini-lessons and digital tools needed to develop a focused, quality product including expanding an authentic audience.

The process REALLY works! See my online store for handouts and resources for using the Seven Steps for Media-Making! @

Between Step THREE and Step FOUR is a StopLight!

One major "aha" from teachers who experienced the DigiTales Camps with me was the time consuming task of getting the content WORTHY of the additional time it takes to create media products. But if the content is not rigorous - inspiring - well developed . . . there is no point to packaging "superficial" thinking. In the process of getting the content ready, students need to discover and tap into their passion on various topics as well as set an internal compass determining quality of work. That's called growing AGENCY skills and PURPOSE beyond the classroom.

So FIRST meaning-making . . . then media-making! The stoplight is a Special CHECKPOINT for whether content is ready and worthy of media-making YET! No technology until the checkpoint has been cleared with a "green light."

But at the heart of all powerful media-making including digital storytelling is the content and a LOT of writing - rewriting - rewriting until . . . the content message and meaning is ready to be packaged and published for the world to see their thinking, ideas and creativity!


Next posting will share our Italiano Book Tasting experience and Literature Gamification Challenge plus a new social media tool for bookworms that will launch student independent aka pleasure reading this coming year.

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