Week 2: Story Critique

This week I viewed a digital story from StoryCenter.org. The story, which was found in the “Youth Voices” section, is titled “My Write to Draw”, by Max Bessesen.

Max tells his story of discovering his love of drawing cartoons, and how this love developed into a need to work on his writing. I was especially drawn to this story because it so closely related to our readings on new literacies, and the article I read this week about using graphic novels in the classroom. I’m really starting to love the idea of using as many modes of expression possible in order to reach all of my learners, and this story shows how Max’s exposure to cartoons increased his interest in writing (something I’m always looking for in my students-how can I make it all more engaging?!). Max demonstrates how exposing our students to different forms of expression can really help them become more successful students.

I assessed Max’s story based on the following three Jason Ohler  digital story evaluation traits:

  1. Story
  2. Project Planning
  3. Originality, voice, creativity

I felt that these three traits applied best to this particular story. Some of the others, like those related to research, evidence, etc. would not have applied to such a personal story.

Max’s story was original, interesting, and really demonstrated his transformation into a cartoonist, and eventually a writer. In the first 15 seconds of the story Max explains how his cartoon “Billy” has become his identity, and then goes on to tell a story that supports his claim. He also does a great job of explaining at what moment his transformation began.

The project was obviously well planned. Max’s narration is really impressive, especially for a young author. He is clear throughout his narration, his pace is easy to follow, and he follows what seems to be a clearly thought out script. Although I can’t see the planning in the form of story maps, and actual scripts, the way the story is told in such a clear manner shows the planning that went into the project.

Max’s story definitely exhibited an original sense of voice and a fresh perspective. The way he included pictures of himself, and of his cartoon was extremely helpful in showing the viewer who he was, and what his story was all about. The story would have felt incomplete without his original cartoons being shared throughout the video. I especially loved seeing the cartoon that was featured in his local paper-such a great accomplishment and such a great motivator for a young writer/creator. The one thing I would have loved to have seen that wasn’t included was pictures of his classmates reading his cartoons, I think it would have been fun to see how popular “Billy” had become in Max’s school.

Overall, I really enjoyed viewing a story that was made from a student’s perspective. It really inspired me to incorporate digital stories like this in my classroom.


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