284554603_bba2084a93_m.jpg Photo courtesy of flickr contributor, "aussiegall"

Images: “quality, not quantity”

Images can be gathered from family photo albums, the home mantle, or even created by the student. You might want to recommend symbolic representations of ideas instead of only literal representations. When students begin collecting pictures to accompany their story, emotion often overtakes them, and they come to class with dozens, and dozens, and dozens of pictures that all have sentimental value. If all the pictures are used, the result is a digital scrapbook, not a story. For a three-minute story, limit students to a maximum of fifteen images. This achieves two goals: first, it forces students to make value decisions on the photos, and results in only the “best of the best.” Second, it focuses the attention back to the story. Students must rely on the story driving the images, instead of the images driving the story. In a recent workshop, I had a participant who wanted to use five consecutive images of birds flying, each image lasting about one second. I asked her "What does the second image do that the first one doesn't?" She didn't have an answer. So she deleted images two through five, which allowed the audience to absorb the words and the single, beautiful image of the bird flying.
One logistical problem always exists...getting the images to school. Obviously, hard copies need to be scanned, and electronic copies need to make their way to school. Many people have images on line through services like Kodak Gallery or photobucket. Images can also be placed on a jump drive or a CD to be transfered to school.
A word about video. As an English teacher, my emphasis for students is on Story. Still images tend to enhance story while video tends to upstage the story. Also, I don't want to have students spending a great deal of time with lighting, acting, and other film considerations. Now if I were teaching a filmmaking class...

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