Digital Profiles

Introduction


Written by Indianapolis Public Schools Center for inquiry teachers Becky Marciniak and Karla Reilly, this unit of study was inspired by the City Stories project, a summer camp run by Y-Press journalists.  Mentored by Y-Press youth, campers from area community centers pursue stories about people in their neighborhoods, using audio slideshows and writing.  During the 2-week camp, these fourth and fifth graders learn how to take photographs, collect sound, meet potential interviewees, write questions, and make editorial decisions to create powerful audio slideshows.

"Digital Portfolios" embeds the journalistic experiences provided by City Stories into a writing workshop curriculum and reflects the central tenets of workshop teaching that are elaborated in this unit of study.

In order to fulfill the educational expectations for rigor in the writing workshop, we have likened an audio slideshow to profiles, a genre that is widely available in print and digital form.   We suggest beginning the study with print profiles to deepen the understanding of the digital format.

The Unit stretches across 5-6 weeks, allowing students the time needed to engage in the real work of writers  The suggested daily mini-lessons are not meant to be recipes for producing digital profiles, but rather a framework for teaching the qualities of good writing and the particular craft skills needed to create digital or print profiles.  We expect that writers will carry the skills and understandings learned in this unit to the many writing workshop projects that will follow.

Resources


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