July 22 – Final Project

My website can be accessed at: mrsgenglish12.weebly.com (specifically within the narrative tab). This is a site that I had already begun creating and decided to try it out with this project.

If you hover over the “Narrative” link at the top, you’ll see four pages that go along with my project. 1. Story Without Words, 2. Unit Outcomes, 3. Resources, and 4. Documents for Final Project.

  1. This page is the meat of the project where my interaction with my students will take place. It’s not likely that all of the text would be visible at the beginning of the unit, but I would make it visible as we came to it.
  2. This page lists the SLOs for the unit. I’m unhappy with how vague this seems, but writing outcomes is a weakness of mine that I hope to improve on as I teach more and get more practice.
  3. This page is for the students to access any links they might need throughout the course, much like Christina’s resource link on our page. There are so many more links I could have included like places for students to find media, but as I am not great at finding that media yet, I’m not sure what I need to include here.
  4. This page is not one that I will leave up for students. This is a page simply for you. The other documents that go along with this project are uploaded here. I hope you are able to download and look at the documents. Upload files to a weebly page is new for me, so I hope it works.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. (You could use the Contact link on my page *wink* or just shoot me a comment here.)


I struggled quite a bit with this project because I couldn’t seem to settle on a focus. I really liked the idea of exploring the concept of a Story Without Words. So even though I felt like I was starting from scratch instead of updating an existing unit (my poetry unit), I really wanted to explore this idea and looking back now, I’m glad that I did.

My project includes lessons and activities that build up to a final project that is creating a story without words using iMovie or MovieMaker (Good news? My IT guy at work told me that students’ laptops WILL have this software this year. Yay!) My website isn’t a tell-all for the entire unit but rather a supplement to the unit. This is a place for me to keep media for students to access on their own as well as in class. There are lessons and activities that would take place in between those that I discuss on the website that are simply not digitally involved.

What were/are the purpose, motivation, reasons for using a particular medium for your project (what are its affordances?)?

  • I used images, sound, and video throughout my unit to afford students the opportunity to practice composing outside of the alphabetic text realm. The purpose of this unit was pretty simple. I want to introduce my students to the idea of digital composition. Most have either never encountered digital composition before, or didn’t realize that they had.

What is the intended effect of your project, or goals for use by viewers/readers?

  • The intended goal of this project was to successfully and effectively integrate or intersect my existing instruction about composition with my new understanding of digital composition. I really wanted to show my students what else is out there and what else is considered “writing” or composition besides the typical 5-paragraph essay. I think that I’d really like this unit to coincide perhaps with the reading of a novel, but I haven’t yet figured out which novel would mesh well with the final project. Currently, this unit is about learning to compose a personal narrative using digital technologies. Eventually it might grow into something that would go beyond the personal narrative.

What technological/artistic limitations did you run into? What changes would you make to this project if you were not limited by technology or skill?

  • I ran into so many artistic limitations. Or at least it feels that way. There were so many other ideas that I wanted to include that logistically I just could not fit in. Again, I would like for this unit to overlap with the reading of a novel, but couldn’t stylistically figure out how to make that happen. I never realized how much I would struggle when trying to update an existing unit. I originally thought I would do this project and update my existing poetry unit. I love my poetry unit and these types of digital technologies open up a lot of doors with respect to poetry. But when I sat down to try and figure out what I would update or insert into the existing unit, I was stumped. Road block! This is what spurred me into creating the unit as a standalone unit.
  • If not limited technologically or stylistically, I would take this unit and tweak it so that I could lay it over top of the reading of any fiction novel. I’d like it to be universal. Something that supplements what I already teach instead of becoming something new to teach.


I really do hope to be able to implement this unit or parts of it in my classroom this year. I’m excited about the possibilities and will hopefully be able to improve my ideas (and those borrowed from Christina) as I try them out and learn from any mistakes or struggles that happen along the way. Either way, I learned so much from this assignment, both about myself as a teacher and also about digital composition and how I hope to be able to weave it into my teaching. Thank you both for helping me and guiding me through this class. Much appreciated!



Final Project & Rationale – Lisa White

My project can be accessed at:  lwhite21.weebly.com


For my final project, I completed a unit plan for teaching digital composition in my 12th grade classroom.  My previous attempts at including digital comp have been short, fun side-trips to our “real” work of writing.  I wanted to make DC an integral part of my course.  I created a unit that ties DC into literature we’re already working with so that it becomes a natural element.

The unit is broken down into three distinct lessons over one semester culminating in a DC project.

  • What were/are the purpose, motivation, reasons for using a particular medium for your project (what are its affordances?)?

My project has many parts.  Posting it on Weebly gave me a chance to break down those parts into manageable chunks.  When planning a lesson, there are so many points to consider:  course objectives, connecting the new learning to previous knowledge, experimenting with the tools/skills, applying the knowledge and skills to a project, assessment of learning.  These became distinct parts of the lessons.  On my Weebly site, these components are presented as drop-down menu pages.

  • What is the intended effect of your project, or goals for use by viewers/readers?

I can’t wait to share this with the teachers in my department.  I hope that they will not only see the value I see in teaching DC, but be able to use my resources in their own classrooms.  I also plan to share this unit with members of our district’s Literacy Council.  The Literacy Council is a committee made of ELA teachers from K to 12 in our district whose mission is to align literacy instruction vertically.  On this committee, I have been part of discussion about literacy that includes multi-media, but we have not really considered practical application.  I hope to open that discussion by sharing my DC unit.

  • What technological/artistic limitations did you run into? What changes would you make to this project if you were not limited by technology or skill?

I feel that the lesson plans are solid – some ideas and resources taken directly from this course (thank you Christina).  My DC example for the Hamlet project is amateur, however.  I would have liked to invest more time in another example in the future.  If I were unlimited by resources or skill, I would also love to include a lesson on videography.

Changes that I will make to the unit in the future will come from experience using it.  I can never predict how students will react and must keep flexibility in my plans.


July 20 Discussion Blog

Lisa White


In relating the Donald Norman article to digital composition, I see the importance of purpose. Just like in writing a persuasive argument, the writer of a digital composition must consider the visceral elements (pathos), the behavioral elements (logos), and the reflective elements (ethos) in his creative compositon.

The question for me is what multi-modal elements translate best into these rhetorical appeals? We have to understand how they work in order to use them in our compositions. Music obviously brings an emotional element to a piece, as do images (especially images of people). Graphic display of information or a video demonstration adds to the usefulness.

The reflective is harder to identify. Perhaps it’s contribution comes from the mode of communcation chosen? Perhaps from a combination of elements? It could even be something that the audience brings to the piece, totally out of the author’s control — such as the place and time of the viewing or the people with which the viewer is “reading” the composition.

Scott McCloud brings up other relevant points to multimodal composition. He focuses on what the audience brings to a piece. The work a reader does is complicated. Our brains instinctively bring closure, make connections, position messages in time and space. We are not passive consumers at all. Writers must understand this and learn the tools they can use to manipulate time and space in their medium.

McCloud offers many examples of how authors can play with time and space. Writing in an unfamiliar mode is kind of like taking the leap of faith from one panel to the next, hoping your reader comes along with you, but not being disappointed if he takes another route to a meaning of his own.

July 20 Discussion – Design

When composing anything, whether it be text, video, audio, or any blend of the three, design absolutely plays a role. To me, it seems that in high school English, design might not only speaks to the visual rhetoric, but also to concepts like tone, mood, and audience. A student might design a writing sample for their peers differently than perhaps for a teacher, a parent, or an employer.

Donald Norman discusses the three levels of design: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. On an elementary level, I grasp the concepts of visceral and behavioral, but I struggled with the concept of reflective design. Is this design that is brag worthy? Is that the only purpose behind reflective design? To encourage a consumer to desire this product simply to satisfy their “image?” How does that translate to high school English class design of composition?

I get that a well-formatted assignment that not only follows the rules, but uses creativity, color, and other “pretty” things has a good visceral design. I also understand that a piece that accomplishes its goals and does so effectively has a good behavioral design. But what of a composition that has a good reflective design? Or does the idea of reflective design mean something different in an English classroom? Is it instead a piece that affords the author and the audience the chance to reflect on their own thoughts in relation to the piece? (Does that make sense?)

When reading through McCloud’s 3rd chapter, I focused on his definition of closure. “Observing the parts but perceiving the whole.” I tried to really understand what that meant. I’m not sure that I fully grasp the concept of closure, but as a new comic book reader, I’m beginning to understand this particular medium of composition more and McCloud’s discussion of the “gutter” was enlightening.

It’s amazing how much easier it is for me to read a chapter laid out like a comic book than it is for me to read one laid out like Norman’s. I had no idea that my brain would grasp the information better when presented in the comic book format. It really makes me realize why some of my students love to read comic books and manga. It gives me a better understanding and I suppose makes me more sensitive to the idea of allowing more of this type of literature into my classroom.

I truly am looking forward to finding ways to incorporate this composition design into my classroom more. Is there a way for me to explain the connection that the idea of the “gutter” might have on other composition modes?

Design absolutely has an effect on my daily life as I’m sure it does on my students’ lives as well. Every time I leave my house, I am inundated with different aspects of design. From the groceries that I buy, to the clothes I wear, to the cell phone I carry… All of these were influenced by their design. According to Norman, even my attraction to my husband stems from his visceral design (meaning God’s visceral design of my husband). It is as if I were born to be attracted to him specifically because that’s the way I was designed. (MAN! This could go on and on… What an interesting concept?)


July 17 – Concept in 60 – Hope

The Eagle – Concept in 60

July 15 – Final Project Proposal

Final Project Proposal

Guiding questions:

  1. How will students use digital media to compose their work?
  2. How can I encourage creativity with digital composition when students seem to despise composition as it is now?

I’d like to modify an existing Poetry Unit. The unit already discusses the connection between poetry and song, but I’d like students to make a connection between written/spoken poetry and visual images. I have two ideas that I’d like students to explore.

Objectives: To explore digital composition mediums that will encourage creativity and engagement. To create a visual poem that uses images, sound, and text.


  1. Students will be given a group of images (maybe 5). Students will T-P-S the emotions that these images make them feel and why. (All students will have the same images). The point of this is to show students how their own personal experiences influence the emotions that are triggered by these images and to get them comfortable with sharing their feelings with others. –> Discussions surrounding this intro activity will hopefully lead to conversations about emotions, triggers, digital media, real life connections, etc.
  2. A more in depth assignment will be similar to the Concept in 60 for our class, but will ask the students to create a visual poem to share with the class. It must include images, sound, and text. It will be shared and reviewed by classmates on a private forum (private to my class)… Not sure how to make that part work yet. Perhaps Edmodo?

Previously, my unit included what we called a Poetry Café. With this adaptation to the unit, I would attempt to make that café virtual but still have a “gallery day” much like our plans for Friday.

I’m aware that I’m still lacking some focus and I need more development of my learning outcomes, but I’m not 100% sold on this idea yet. I’d appreciate any feedback either of you have. 🙂


July 15 Discussion – Digital Composition Assessment

I struggle to come up with what I consider “sound principles for assessing digital compositions.” Reading Yancey’s and Sorapure’s pieces, I realize that I was failing to assess digital media properly, if at all, previously in my classroom. I would give a visual or digi assignment and then assess that assignment based on the print rationale that accompanied the assignment/project. I was thinking back to the dioramas and graphic novels that my students have created in the past, and really… I don’t know how I assessed them. I know that effort was part of their score. Interpretation of the scene/theme/character/etc. was also a part of their score. I can’t really remember how I assessed their coherence, clarity, relevance, unity, relationships, effectiveness, or skill mastery.

Learning outcomes seem to be one way of perhaps monitoring a student’s growth, but do they help assess?

I feel like so many ideas were put forth with a central message that for digital composition assessment, we need to create a new language that builds off of our old print assessment language. Also, that print composition assessment methods (as they are) cannot be used for digital composition assessment. The easiest way for me to explain my thoughts might be to simply share the questions and thoughts that I had while reading these articles.

  • Did the composition accomplish some pre-set goal? Did it demonstrate mastery of a skill/standard? What purpose did it serve?
  • How exactly do we re-evaluate how we assess digital composition? I agree that it needs to be done, but I have no idea how.
  • Relation between elements of the composition seems to be important. How do I measure that relation?
  • How do you measure coherence? What about context? Intent?

I’m curious to ask my students how they think digital composition should be assessed and how different that is from our pre-existing print composition assessment methods. I look forward to the discussion that this will bring about in my classroom especially with students who are in the Digital Arts & Design career tech lab.


July 15 Response

Lisa White

July 14, 2015

This is what Ohio establishes as criteria for students to meet when writing in my classroom:

Common Core Standards, Grades 11-12, for Production and Distribution of Writing:

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

The first point covers coherence in writing, which Yancey deems a major aspect of digital work. The second point is about process, important to old methods of writing as it is to new digital composing. Both of these points mention purpose and audience. The third point incorporates the digital community as an aspect: collaboration.

I believe these are all sound, justifiable principles of good digital composition. The problem comes when trying to put a grade on it. Unfortunately, we still have to do that.

Madeleine Sorapure shows some amazing examples of digital composition and writes about each student’s intent. She indicates that students discuss their intent in a written reflection. If intent is the same as purpose, how can students determine if their composition is successful?
In reflecting on their process, students must consider their audience. How successful they are in achieving their intent depends on the “fit between the intent and the effect.” So the question becomes: How can students know what effect they have on their audience? Perhaps some questions we should consider asking are: Who did you envision as your audience? What assumptions did you make about your audience? How did your composition address these assumptions?  This type of written reflection could go far in assessing a composition.

Yancey delivers this new definition of writing: A composition is an expression of relationships—between parts and parts, between parts and whole, between the visual and the verbal, between text and context, between reader and composer, between what is intended and what is unpacked, between hope and realization. And, ultimately, between human beings.

As teachers, we make connections between the old and the new, balancing ways of knowing what a composition has always been and what it can become. We value steps students make in the direction of what a composition can become.

Proposal for Final Project

Lisa White

July 14, 2015

Final Project Proposal –

Guiding questions:  How will digital composition look in my classroom?  How will students begin to think/create using images and sound along with alphabetical writing, and combine these modes in their own communication?

My project will re-imagine a current unit of study while complying with current curricula standards.  Students will consider archival materials and their appropriate use, the broadening idea of audience, notions of creativity, and their concept of composition.  We will reflect on current uses of technology and future uses in college and career.  Finally, by completing the project in class, students will have the necessary experience using digital tools for composition as well as a broader mind-set about what composition can include.

My proposal is to write lesson plans (including assessment strategy) and create my own example of a digital composition to model the product to students.  I have two ideas for this lesson:

Pride & Prejudice Characterization Project

Objectives:  1) Students will gain a deeper understanding of characterization in Pride and Prejudice through close reading and group interaction.  2) Students will show this understanding through a digital composition.

Methods:  Students will work in groups, analyzing the one of the four main characters (Darcy, Elizabeth, Wickham, Lydia).  Students will research their character’s motives, emotions, and actions through close reading.  As a final project, each group will produce a Character Analysis Composition using Microsoft MovieMaker software.  They will write the “story” of the character using visual images, narration, music, sound effects, etc. in a multi-modal composition.  An extension to this assignment could be to translate their character to the 21st Century with a mock-interview or performance of an updated scene from the book.

Hamlet Motif Project

Objectives:  1) Students will investigate one motif from Hamlet in depth in order to gain deeper insight and understanding into the play’s themes.  2) Students will develop skill in selecting and explaining supporting evidence through a multi-modal composition.

Methods:  Students will work in pairs, analyzing a motif present in Hamlet.  Students will research the uses of their chosen motif in context and explain how it unifies the work and highlights significant ideas and themes.  They will create a digital composition using Microsoft MovieMaker to teach their understanding of this motif to the class.

English 6000: Digital Composing

Summer Flex 2015
(July 1–22, 2015)

(MWF 9–12 and/or online)