The charge? Create a digital story video with a script written by an FBI agent aimed at viewers of America’s Most Wanted that includes information about Dr. Seuss’ life, an analysis of a Dr. Seuss advertising or political cartoon, and discussion of Dr. Seuss’s writing style to inspire the audience to hunt down and read Dr. Seuss’s books again and look for the hidden messages.
The project begins with reading fluency work with books by Dr. Seuss, theme analysis of a chosen book, creation of original book covers, and writing of original poems. Students accomplished this work, along with modeling the analysis of a political cartoon using these questions from the National Archives, before beginning work on the digital story.
We then move into the research phase of the project. The students begin with an introduction to the information pathfinder, how to save and cite an online picture, and folder creation (knowledge management). We discuss collecting reference citations using PowerPoint (to then turn the slide into a jpeg) and begin biographical research.
The project continues with choosing a Dr. Seuss political cartoon or advertising cartoon (see pathfinder), saving and citing pictures, and beginning the analysis sheet. We are also using the book, Dr. Seuss goes to war: the World War II editorial cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard Meniar for contextual information about the chosen political cartoons.
Students next learn how to create the video using PhotoStory. We discuss the concept of visual literacy and the importance of telling the story through pictures, mood, and focused movement. For instance, to choose a picture for the original poem, ask, “When you read the poem, what picture comes to your mind?”
When research is complete, using this graphic organizer for notes and script planning, students will then write the script and continue creating the digital story.
The final project will include at least the title picture, three pictures with a timeline narration of three turning points in Dr. Seuss’s life, one cartoon with narrated, analytical description of one of Dr. Seuss’ advertising or political cartoons, the original Dr. Seuss book cover with narration of underlying theme and description of the book, one picture representing the imagery of an original poem written in Seuss style (at least 6 lines of poetry), and the Works Cited slide with sources used for information and pictures.
Covering literature, history, political cartoon analysis, drawing, writing, poetry, visual literacy, and biographical research, our project comes together using a multigenre approach for learning the research process, reading fluency, writing, and information creation.