Digital Passport: Exploring geography through folktales and digital storytelling

Author: Tia D. Larese

School/Organization:

Penn Alexander School

Year: 2019

Seminar: Storytelling Traditions of South Asia and the Middle East

Grade Level: 3

Keywords: folktales, Geography, stories, storytelling

School Subject(s): Social Studies, Geography

With the constant pressure of standardized testing in Literacy, Math, and Science, how can educators design engaging Social Studies lessons that are content-oriented, yet also incorporate 21st Century Skills that are too often overlooked during test prep? Geography, for example, is minimized in school as the study of maps and places, being simplified to memorizing the names of continents or states. Educators can delve into the richness of geography not simply as the study of physical features but through human geography, and the study of anthropology and culture across place and time. This curriculum seeks to use anthropology and the study of folklore to guide students in a journey across the globe using new technologies. While navigating core curriculum and national standards, educators have a responsibility to weave cultural competencies and 21st Century Skills in their classroom communities. Teaching geography through folktales is a way to navigate this endeavor, by introducing students to different cultures and beliefs from around the world, while increasing their empathy and understanding. Now more than ever, in our increasing Digital Age, students must develop their emotional intelligences.

Through stories, we develop a new way of knowing things and understand how to live our lives. It is the way that we share our cultural perspectives and transfer knowledge with each other. In essence, stories can be utilized to both entertain and instruct others about the values held within society. Through the study of folktales from different countries, students learn to appreciate diversity, while also finding common elements between and among cultures. In fact, using geography students can study storytelling around the world and its transference across place and time.

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Content Objectives

With the constant pressure of standardized testing in Literacy, Math, and Science, how can educators design engaging Social Studies lessons that are content-oriented, yet also incorporate 21st Century Skills that are too often overlooked during test prep? Geography, for example, is minimized in school as the study of maps and places, being simplified to memorizing the names of continents or states.  Educators can delve into the richness of geography not simply as the study of physical features but through human geography, and the study of anthropology and culture across place and time.  This curriculum seeks to use anthropology and the study of folklore to guide students in a journey across the globe using new technologies. While navigating core curriculum and national standards, educators have a responsibility to weave cultural competencies and 21st Century Skills in their classroom communities.  Teaching geography through folktales is a way to navigate this endeavor, by introducing students to different cultures and beliefs from around the world, while increasing their empathy and understanding. Now more than ever, in our increasing Digital Age, students must develop their emotional intelligences.

Through stories, we develop a new way of knowing things and understand how to live our lives. It is the way that we share our cultural perspectives and transfer knowledge with each other.  In essence, stories can be utilized to both entertain and instruct others about the values held within society.  Through the study of folktales from different countries, students learn to appreciate diversity, while also finding common elements between and among cultures. In fact, using geography students can study storytelling around the world and its transference across place and time.

During our studies in the Seminar “Storytelling Traditions of South Asia and the Middle East,” we spoke at lengths about the importance of story analysis beyond a cultural framework.  Associate Professor Deven Patel from the University of Pennsylvania described that “A story has it’s own integrity. We can analyze a story outside of its cultural relevance and make meaning for ourselves.”  Furthermore, he outlined that to grasp the underlying meaning of a story, you must ask:  1) What does the story mean? One must review the narrative elements and themes.  2)  What are the possibilities? One can delve into the language of the text and look closer for figurative language and symbols. 3) What is the significance?  Look at the text from a broader historical context, cultural habits, and text-to-text connections. He suggests that by using applied semiotics, it might help the reader see the integrity of the text—with all of its meanings embedded through the signs (words, phrases, tones, clichés, themes, etc.) which comprise the text. This, in turn, might help us think about how educators and our students can rework a “strange” work from another culture into a meaningful part of our own lives now.

Over the course of our term together, we examined excerpts of culturally relevant texts from South Asia and The Middle East, including Mahabharata, Pancatantra, The Conference of the Birds, The Arabian Nights, The Story of the Stone, and many others. With each tale, we were able to study cultures through the lens of storytelling.  We unpacked stories within stories, sought after the repetitions within the texts, tried to solve the formulaic values, traced narratives across cultures, and suspended our disbelief to travel on journeys to new lands.  As we read these rich texts aloud in class and analyzed them by night, it became very apparent of the lack of representation in the stories we to read to our own students in our classrooms. As an educator working in city of Philadelphia, I recognize the need for having more diverse texts in my classroom that better represent my school community. It is through stories that we can see the reflections of our own lives, as well as experience the lives of others.  This curricular unit seeks to incorporate folktales and stories from South Asia and The Middle East, as it is an ever-growing population of students within my classroom.

The power of storytelling is that is engages the listener or reader, and has the ability to make a topic relatable. Today, online videos, pictures, and audio features are able to capture stories in a unique way, and can be shared to the masses with a simple click. At home, students engage in storytelling through social media almost every day. It is essential educators must harness this versatile tool and to guide students through digital citizenship.  One way is for educators to use digital storytelling is to engage students in learning new material through critical reading of digital text sets and media. However, we don’t want students simply succumbing to passive use of technology.  There must be space in the everyday classroom to actively engage and create media.  In one simple project of developing a digital story, students can reinvent the way that they engage with their audience, receive feedback, and even present the material they want to share.

The Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) describes that there are seven essential elements of Digital Storytelling that should guide students in their development of a digital story:  1) Point of View 2) A Dramatic Question 3) Emotional Content 4) A Gift of Your Voice 5) The Power of Soundtrack 6) Economy 7) Pacing. These elements not only allow for student voice and choice, but also requires of them to take their audience into consideration when planning a story.  In this unit of study, students will have the opportunity to reinvent a folktale through digital storytelling.

The Core Curriculum of the School District of Philadelphia is aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Social Studies Education, as well as English Language Arts Standards. The key geography & historical analysis standards that will be included in this unit are:

  • Standard – 7.1.3.A- Identify how basic geographic tools are used to organize and interpret information about people, places and environment.
  • Standard – 7.1.3.B- Identify and locate places and regions as defined by physical and human features.
  • Standard – 7.2.3.A- Identify the physical characteristics of places and regions.
  • Standard – 7.3.3.A- Identify the human characteristics of places and regions using the following criteria: Population, Culture, Settlement, Economic activities, Political activities
  • Standard – 8.1.3.A- Identify the difference between past, present and future using timelines and/or other graphic representations.
  • Standard – 8.1.3.B- Identify fact, opinion, multiple points of view, and primary sources as related to historical events.
  • Standard – 8.1.3.C- Conduct teacher guided inquiry on assigned topics using specified historical sources.
  • Standard – 8.3.3.A- Identify and describe the social, political, cultural, and economic contributions of individuals and groups in United States history.
  • Standard – 8.4.3.A- Identify the elements of culture and ethnicity.
  • Standard – 8.4.3.B- Identify the importance of artifacts and sites to different cultures and ethnicities.
  • Standard – 8.4.3.C- Compare and contrast selected world cultures.
  • Standard – 8.4.3.D- Identify conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations from around the world.

Technology is reinventing the way that we read, tell, and share stories. While traditional storytelling includes a singular point of view and narrative, digital storytelling is a hybrid-format that consists of multimedia and can take readers on a journey across places with different points of view.  In this unit, students will use online software to develop maps, imbed digital media, and audio of story components to teach others about cultures and folklore across the globe. These essential skills learned through this unit will be transferrable to both analogue and digital texts.

Key 21st Century skills to develop:

 

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Creativity
  3. Collaboration
  4. Communication
  5. Information literacy
  6. Media literacy
  7. Technology literacy
  8. Flexibility
  9. Leadership
  10. Initiative
  11. Productivity
  12. Social skills

Teaching Strategies

This unit will include age-appropriate activities to develop social studies skills and engage students in online learning and digital literacy, as well as critical reading skills.

  • Whole Group Direct Instruction – The teacher will be at the front of the classroom explaining complex information to students via a SMART board or whiteboard. This format works great to introduce new material and explore digital text sets.
  • Small Group Instruction – For students struggling with key concepts, the teacher will meet with them in small groups to review concepts and to differentiate learning. This is also a format that is beneficial for guided reading, as well as teams of students rotating through centers in the classrooms.
  • Shared & Independent Work – Students will have the opportunity to complete tasks working with partners, small groups, and independently. This helps students have more accountability, but also offer support to peers. This will be an essential component during the development of the digital storytelling process.
  • Graphic Organizers – Teacher-made worksheets using visual representations will help students organize their thinking, including compare & contrast charts, a K-W-L chart, etc. See the Appendix for ideas of the types of materials you can use in your classroom.
  • Digital Learning– Students will be engaged in online quests to find information about a place and/or a folktale. They will also explore information about a different country in South Asia and The Middle East, and seek out mentor texts for their own project.
  • Digital Storytelling– Students will create a digital story using multimedia, audio and visual recording, and utilizing online programs. This will be developed independently but with the support of peer editing, drafting, and teacher revisions.
  • Think, pair, square – Students will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with partners. Then, partners will group with another partnership to share their ideas and collaborate.
  • Journaling – Students will have the opportunity to reflect on lessons, and respond to pre-determined prompts. You may opt to have one journal designated for this work, or they may write in subject-area journals.
  • Literature Circles – Students will have the opportunity to work in collaborative groups to read a variety of folktales from around the world. Each group will analyze passages, use context clues to define robust vocabulary, develop questions about the text and associated cultures, make connections to the text, and also envision the characters and settings.  A rubric is availble for assessment in the Appendix.
  • Group Centers – There will be opportunities for students to rotate through centers to further explore geographic concepts. To make these more interactive, you should limit the number of students in each group, have tactile and digital resources available, and include a note-taking sheet for student accountability.
  • Artifact Observations – Students will have the opportunity to observe an artifact. They will record: 1) They observations of the object, and 2) Explain what they have learned from object.
  • Questioning – An ample opportunity for group discussion will help facilitate student understanding. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, teachers can craft key questions to help expand students’ thinking.  These questions are crucial to monitor student understanding both in formative and summative assessments:
    • Level 1 (Knowledge)
      • What is ____________?
      • How did _________ happen?
      • Match the word with the definition.
    • Level 2 (Comprehension)
      • Can you explain what is happening?
      • Compare or contrast ____________
      • Draw a picture and include labels that show how this event happened.
    • Level 3 (Application)
      • How would you solve _____ using what you’ve learned?
      • What would happen if ___________?
      • What might have happened if this ___________?
    • Level 4 (Analysis)
      • What is the relationship between ________ & ________?
      • What is the function of ______________
      • Examine how the different events or people work together.
    • Level 5 (Synthesis)
      • What changes would you make to ______?
      • How would you adapt __________ to create a different ________?
    • Level 6 (Evaluation)
      • What would you recommend _____?
      • Was it better that _______?
      • Judge the importance of ______.

Classroom Activities

Bend 1 – Geography Around the World: Unearth

Timeline – 1 week

In this bend, students will study the continents and learn more about select countries from around the world.  Specifically, students will be able to identify their community, countries, continents, oceans, and other important places.

They will also develop a better understanding of how maps and globes are made, how to read a map, and use maps to learn more about a place.

Students will also learn more about countries and cultures in South Asia and The Middle East.

Objectives & Standards

·       Standard – 7.1.3.A- Identify how basic geographic tools are used to organize and interpret information about people, places and environment.

·       Standard – 7.1.3.B- Identify and locate places and regions as defined by physical and human features

Materials

Computer with SMARTboard Access

Class set of world maps

Agenda

*Pre-Assessment

Before beginning this week’s unit, use a K-W-L chart to gauge what your class already knows about geography, and what they want to know more about.

Day 1 – Zoom In!

Using Google Maps, the whole class will explore the globe, starting from Planet Earth and ending at your school.  Students will fill out a graphic organizer to identify the different levels of community, including Planet, Continent, Country, State, City, & Neighborhood.    These vocabulary words should be displayed on an anchor chart and hung in a prominent location in the classroom.

Day 2 – Continents!

On a teacher-created map, students will label the names of the continents and oceans. Featuring the BrainPop video “Continents,” students will take notes about facts they learn about the continents.  Have students Think-Pair-Square to share out the most interesting facts. Teacher will scribe important facts to the K-W-L anchor chart to “Things Learned.”

Days 3 – Passport Travels!

Students will cycle through a rotation of centers to explore the cultures from different continents.  Each center will highlight 1 country from different regions around the globe.  Students must use a graphic organizer “passport” to record information about each country.

Materials Needed:  Each station should have at least one computer prepared to link to a digital text set about each country. You can use National Geographic’s Country Database https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/ or another preferred site.  There should also be a map, information sheet, and cultural item (or picture of one).  Teachers can alter then country centers to meet the diversity of your school community. (See Appendix 1)

·       Center: China

·       Center: Indonesia

·       Center: India

·       Center: Thailand

·       Center: South Korea

·       Center: Phillipines

Day 4 – Storytelling Artifacts

If you have a partnership with a local archaeological museum, you can reach out to borrow “artifacts.” If not, you can print pictures or make replicas of items that were used in different parts of the world for storytelling. For example, you could use masks, shadow puppets, instruments, or writing tools. Partnerships will work to observe the artifacts and record answers to questions. Then, students should be prepared to share aloud to the class.

Students will work in partnerships to record in your journal: 1) Sketch a picture of the artifact. 2) What do you notice about the artifact? (Use your senses to describe it.)  3) What do you think this was used for? 4) What can this tell you about the people who used it?

Day 5 – Map Comparisons

Students will learn about different types of maps and how globes are utilized and created. Students should be seated at table groups in about 4-5.   These “Map Comparison,” will give students the opportunity to observe different types of maps from time periods in history. Each group will be responsible for 1) Writing down their observations of their map and how it is constructed, 2) Explaining what they have learned from the map, and 3) Be prepared to discuss with the group what conclusions they can make from observing the maps.   Lastly, 4) Groups will share out with the class what makes their map unique.  The teacher will guide discussion on how the maps are different.

Day 6 – Globes!

Students will work in small, collaborative groups to create their own world globe.  They will utilize their understanding of different types of maps and their components by incorporating them into their design. Teacher can design what type of materials to use to create the globe. For example, they could use pumpkins and paint, blue bouncy balls with sharpie, or paper mache and paint. If you are using paint, have students add the base layer the day before this project begins.  This project will be worth 100 points.  (See Appendix)

Day 7 – A Day for Assessment

Students will take a teacher-made quiz that encompasses the knowledge students gained over the course of the week.

Supports & Modifications

*For IEP modifications, students may be assigned a portion of a task.  For example, instead of recording notes about all continents, they are assigned one particular continent to report about.

*Teacher can supply templates of the continents to help scaffold students who difficulty with artwork.

Assessments

Informal: Students should be able to refer to different parts of the world and their neighborhood using the correct terms.

Classwork:  Students will submit their artifact observations and passport notes.

Test:  Students will be asked to memorize the continents and label them on a map.  They will also be asked to include factual information about each continent.

Project:  Students will work in collaborative groups to create globes based on personal maps.

 

 

Bend 2 – Folktales & Storytelling: Analyze

Timeline – 1 week

Students will engage in Literature Circles each day to study and analyze different folktales. Literature circles are a collaborative way to have students become more critical readers and also learn to appreciate others’ viewpoints on the same text.

Objectives & Standards

·       Standard – 8.4.3.A- Identify the elements of culture and ethnicity.

·       Standard – 8.4.3.B- Identify the importance of artifacts and sites to different cultures and ethnicities.

·       Standard – 8.4.3.C- Compare and contrast selected world cultures.

Materials

Assorted printed Folktales from South Asia or other areas of the world.  You may go to your local library to get picture books, anthologies, or look online for other resources.  A few possible sites include:

Aaron Shepard’s World of Stories: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/index.html

Telling Tales from South Asia and Korea: http://asianfolktales.unescoapceiu.org/sub2.htm

The Myths, Folklore, and Legends of South East Asia: An Annotated List http://www.cabinetdesfees.com/2010/the-myths-folklore-and-legends-of-south-east-asia-an-annotated-list/

Computer with Access to YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pebbles+kids+stories

Or

YouTube Channel: Reading is Fundamental

You can also choose from a variety of video stories to share with reading groups.

Agenda

Literature circles guide students through analyzing work.  Before beginning the bend, be sure to set expectations and review discussion starters that will help guide more accountable talk.  Some norms to establish:

-There will be 4-5 students per group.
-Students will be assigned an article to read each day. They are asked not to read ahead, but read with the group.
-They will have an assignment to complete each week (Discussion Director, Word Wizard, Artful Artist, Passage Picker, Connector).
-During each meeting, students will have an opportunity to talk about the reading, discuss theories, and make connections. If you already have an established culture of literature circles in your classroom, you can divide the roles within each group on any given, as opposed to teaching each assignment.

Pre-Teach

Before beginning the five days of literature analysis, it will be helpful to create an anchor chart and review “The Power of Accountable Talk,” that promotes students to engage and listen to one another.  Use some of the sentence starters and questions below to help scaffold students into better conversations about the text.

For example:

·       Can you tell me more?

·       This reminds me of ________, because ______.

·       Why do you think that?

·       Can you give me an example from the text?

·       I agree with ____, because….

·       I disagree with ____, because…

·       In addition to what you said about _______, I noticed….

 Day 1 – Passage Picker: * Each student will pick four short passages to read aloud that they feel are important to the story. The passage may be a good part, an interesting part, a funny part, a “good” piece of writing, a scary part, and a good description.  They will mark the parts with post-its in their book. When groups meet, they will take turns reading aloud the passages and discussing why they chose them.

 

Day 2 – Word Wizard:  Each student will look for five words that may be new, interesting, different, strange, funny, hard, or important. They will write the word, page, and definition, along with why it stood out to them and/or why they chose it. Students are encouraged to use context clues to explain its meaning before looking it up in the dictionary.

 

Day 3 – Artful Artist: Students will draw a picture of an image that was created in their mind while you were reading.  This envisioning technique will help to point out parts of the text that were descriptive and allowed them to picture clearly what was happening. The picture can be about anything the student liked or simply could visualize in the story. For example a character, the setting, a problem, an ironic twist, a surprise, an exciting part. Each student will show their picture to the group, give their peers an opportunity to guess which scene it was in the text, and also time to discuss what the author did to help them envision.

 

Day 4 – Connector: The role of the connector is to share any connections that they felt with this part of the story. Remember the three kinds of connections: Write down anything that reminds the students of: – TEXT TO SELF: Any connections to their own life, other people or problems in real life – TEXT TO TEXT: Other books or stories that students have read, -writings/stories by the same author –TEXT TO WORLD: Happenings at school or in the neighborhood, similar events that happened at other times/places

 

Day 5 – Discussion Director: * The role of the discussion director is to challenge the group to “dig deep.” *Each student should be prepared to write 5 questions to ask the literature circle.  There should be 1 question that begins with “if,” one with “why,” and one with “how.”  The questions can focus on the plot, characters, setting, or author’s craft.

Day 6 & 7 – Putting It All Together:  Now that students have had experience with each of the roles within the literature discussion protocol, the teacher will form small groups to analyze another, longer folktale.  Each student in a group of five will be assigned DIFFERENT roles.  They will be asked to read the folktale individually, prepare their insights, and share with their classmates in the small group.

Supports & Modifications

For ESL students and IEP students, try to modify the amount of work students are asked to complete. For example, instead of 4 passages, they can select 2.  It is also helpful to provide sentence starters and discussion prompts for Accountable Talk. Give it to students as a bookmark, so they feel more comfortable accessing it during discussions.

Assessment

Each student should have a packet of 5 assignments by the end of the week.

 

Bend 3 – Digital Storytelling: Explore

Timeline – 10 days

Students will be responsible for developing a digital story.  Depending on your expectations for the final project and your students’ familiarity with technology and iMovie, this could last longer than 10 days.

This project could be blended in with a narrative unit of study, whereby students are taught the writing process while simultaneously applying those skills to new digital technologies.

Objectives & Standards

·       Standard – 8.4.3.B- Identify the importance of artifacts and sites to different cultures and ethnicities.

·       Standard – 8.4.3.C- Compare and contrast selected world cultures.

Materials

Chromebooks, Passport Graphic Organizer, Storyboard & Planning Sheets

Agenda

Pre-Teach – Digital Citizenship

It is important that before you begin utilizing digital texts and technology in the classroom, you set up class routines and expectations of how to use them in the classroom.  Be sure that students are familiar with the technology and programs that they will be using.  If not, try to explicitly teach programs whole class in short lessons leading up to this week’s assignments.

Day 1 – Digital Storytelling Mentor Texts

Today is an opportunity to view online mentor texts.  The teacher can utilize a variety stories online to share with students best examples of digital storytelling.  While viewing the videos, students should have a note-taking sheet that encourages them to record 1) What types of media did the storyteller include in their story?  2) What aspects of the story made the story seem interesting? 4) What things did not work or were too distracting? 5) What ideas would they like to incorporate in their own digital story?

Day 2-4 – Ideation & Planning

Students will choose one of the folktales that we have read in class and use it as a guide to reinvent it as a digital story.  Each group must incorporate things that they learned about the country of origin and its culture within the story.  They may choose to modernize the tale or use the authentic text. They will work in partnerships to develop their idea for a digital folktale

STEP ONE:  Students will use a teacher-made brainstorming sheet to guide students through this process.  The first step students should focus on developing their digital story is figuring out an idea for the type of story they would like to tell. They may:  • Brainstorming or drawing their ideas • Re-reading the folktale

 

Once students have a few ideas, they should answer the following questions about each one: • What is my connection to this topic? • Is it exciting to an audience? • How can I tell this story in just a few minutes? • What sort of work do I need to do to be able to tell this story? • Are there text features (e.g., photos, data, video) that I can use to help tell my story?

 

STEP TWO: Once students have an idea for a story, they can develop a plan to help organize both their thoughts and resources. They need to think about how you would like to tell your story and what media to include helping make connections to their reader. Some helpful first steps might be:

• Set a TIMELINE for each step of the digital storytelling process  • Develop a SCRIPT for both partners that incorporate dialogue that retells the folktale.  • Create a STORYBOARD that outlines not only the plot of the folktale but describes what digital features the students will include (ex.  Title slides, music, video, backgrounds).  • Develop a MATERIALS list that has props and materials needed to film.

(See Appendix)

Day 5-6 – WORKSHOP

Use today as an opportunity for students to write and rehearse their plans for their digital story. They can choose to act out their folktale as a play or choose images to voiceover. Students will need space and time to practice.  Be sure to set guidelines and expectations for how to prioritize their work, stay focused, and volume levels.

Day 7 – FILMING

Students will work together to rehearse their script one more time.  Meanwhile, the teacher should reserve a quiet space with bright lights to film.  Each partnership may use an iPhone, iPad, or ChromeBook, or video camera with microphones to record their folktale. Before recording, be sure to teach students how to use the tools.

Students are encouraged to film a few “takes” or brief test shots to make sure there are no issues with the video or sound.

Day 8-9 – SPECIAL EFFECTS

Digital stories can be enhanced with different visuals and audio options, such as video clips, screen text, photos, maps, voiceovers, etc.  Students will use iMovie (or other software programs below) to help infuse additional features to their video.  If students have never used this program, it is important to explicitly teach some mini-lessons of the basic tools they can incorporate. This will also be the time that students may edit their video to crop out portions of their video.

There are many different software programs that will support students in their process of editing and revising their folktale.  Some additional programs that can be used to video edit include Windows Movie Maker, Animoto, or Blender.  Students may want to also record additional voiceovers for the slides, and can utilize Voicethread, Audacity, or SoundCloud. Students may also use iPhoto, Aviary Photo Editor, Paint.net, or Pixlr to help them edit photographs and images to add into the video.

Day 10 – CELEBRATION

Today is a day to celebrate students’ work.  The teacher will share each individual video and upload them to a class digital map.  When you scroll over the continent, each story will pop up.  Then, each group will share with the class, and students will give compliments to their classmates about what they liked about their digital stories. This process could take more than one day.  I would also encourage students to write comments on a compliment sheet or on a Padlet to collect ideas for the next digital project.

Supports & Modifications

Since students may have varying levels of familiarity with technology, it is important to partner students in a way to support students with less technologic ability.  In addition, allot extra time for students with special needs. Teacher should rotate around the classroom to support student work. You may also want to assign “experts” in the classroom that students may talk to if they need extra support within a certain media.

Assessment

The entire project, including the ideation, planning, and final project, will all be part of a scored rubric.  This will allow students to stay on track and earn points through the process. You may also use the rubric so that students may self or peer assess. (See Appendix)

Resources

Bibliography for Teachers

Bronner, Simon J. (2009). “Digitizing and Virtualizing Folklore.” Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in the Digital World. Ed. Trevor J. Blank. Utah: Utah State University Press. Pp. 21-66.

 

Cole, Joanna.  “The Best-love Folktales of the World.”  New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1983.

Dundes, Alan (1980). “Who Are the Folk?” Interpreting Folklore. Bloomington: Indiana Press. http://lizmontague.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/fl-whoarethefolk.pdf

“Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.”  Houston:  University of Houston Education, 2019. http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&cid=27&sublinkid=29

“Fairy Tales Around the World.” YouTube Channel: Reading is Fundamental. 2018.

“Folktales Around the World.” YouTube Channel: Reading is Fundamental. 2018.  This YouTube channel offers a variety of folktales in video format to offer their students as mentor texts when introducing the digital storytelling component of the unit. The folktales are characterized by country and also give culture context and important facts about each country before delving into each story.

Fuhler, Carol J., Pamela J. Farris, and Lynda Hatch.  “Learning about World Cultures through Folktales.”  Social Studies and the Young Learner. September-October 1998. http://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/publications/yl/1101/110104.html This research article will help any teacher start a folktale unit in their own classroom.  Not only does it offer suggestions for folktales around the world, but gives background understanding about the importance of teaching about culture through storytelling.

“Myths and Legends.” YouTube Channel: Reading is Fundamental. 2018. Much like the Folktale YouTube channel, this section offers a variety of myths and legends in video format to offer their students as mentor texts when introducing the digital storytelling component of the unit. The stories are characterized by country and/or continent and also give culture context and important facts about each location before delving into each story.

Naithani, Sadhana.  “The Teacher and the Taught: Structures and Meaning in the Arabian Nights and the Panchatantra.”  Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies.  Detroit, MI:  Wayne State University Press, 2004. This article is a study of the two umbrella-stories “The Arabian Nights” and “The Panchatantra.”  For educators, it serves as a guide to help their students analyze structure and seek meaning within the different elements of folktales and across cultures.

Owens, Trevor (2013). “Born Digital Folklore and the Vernacular Web: An Interview with Robert Glenn Howard.” The Library of Congress.  http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2013/02/born-digital-folklore-and-the-vernacular-web-an-interview-with-robert-glenn-howard/ This blog features a Digital Studies professor being interviewed about the rise of “digital folklore.” It is important as educators to begin thinking of the new narratives that are being read and created by our students. Not only that, we have to begin to understand how to teach students to authentically engage in digital citizenship.

“What is Geography?” Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2019.   https://www.nationalgeographic.org/topics/human-geography/?q=&page=1&per_page=25 This website features a multitude of articles to use with students about geography, including infographics and other text features.  Before talking about geography, it is important for teachers to define and discuss what it means.

Yolen, Jane.  “Favorite Folktales From Around the World.” New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.    This book is an anthology of folktales from around the world that are not only listed by location, but also by a common theme. Some common themes include Telling Tales, Young and Old, Heroes, Shape shifters, etc. As a result, educators may choose a variety of texts from different countries that are related in ideas.  More so, Jane Yolen includes a commentary about each tale that will support their background understanding of the context.

NCSS.  Children’s Literature and Social Studies: Selecting and Using Notable Books in the Classroom, Washington, DC: National Council for the Social Studies, 2018.   Every year the National Council for the Social Studies publishes an annotated list of diverse books that align with the thematic strands of the Social Studies Curriculum Standards. For educators, this list will help to keep your instruction relevant.

 

Reading List for Students

Aaron Shepard’s World of Stories: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/index.html This is an resource with links to different books that not only offers genre, culture of origin, and length, but it also offers suggested ages and themes to teach in your classroom.  In particular, I would encourage the stories “The Magic Brocade,” “The Princess and the God,” “The Crystal Heart,” “The Gift of the Grass Cutter,” and many others. All of these tales from South Asia and The Middle East focus on themes of kindness, heroism, and generosity.

The Myths, Folklore, and Legends of South East Asia: An Annotated List http://www.cabinetdesfees.com/2010/the-myths-folklore-and-legends-of-south-east-asia-an-annotated-list/  This is a great resource with links to stories from across South Asia and The Middle East.  Teachers should check out the section on Khmer Folktales (Cambodia),  Folktales from the Philippines, “The Tale of Tam and Cam,” and the Lao folktales “The White Swan,” and “The Cresent Moon Comb.”

Pebbles Kids Stories: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pebbles+kids+stories This YouTube site offers a huge collection of videos and stories from South Asia and The Middle East.  You can use the videos whole-class or even in small groups to study the stories or use them for inspiration in the digital storytelling project.

Telling Tales from South Asia and Korea: http://asianfolktales.unescoapceiu.org/sub2.htm  This resource has compiled a list of stories based on countries in South Asia.   There is also a teacher’s guide and other online resources available if you want to extend your lessons about folktales.

 

Materials for Classroom Use

“Story Maps,” Environmental Systems Research Institute (esri).  Redlands, CA, 2019.  http://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/app-list/shortlist/  This resource will allow you to build a shortlist of map locations that match up with your unit and the countries your students are studying.

Lisa Miller on Digital Storytelling http://www.stenhouse.com/html/lmillerpodcast.htm Lisa Miller’s podcast is a recap of her book “Make Me a Story” which will walk teachers and older students alike through the process of developing a digital story.  The focus stays on the writing process, but incorporates digital features.

 

Pinterest: Digital Storytelling Apps & Sites
http://pinterest.com/dkapuler/digital-storytelling-apps-sites/ This resource will help you find mentor texts and ideas for how to begin a digital storytelling project in your own classroom.

 

Scoop-It: Guide to Digital Storytelling http://www.scoop.it/t/dgstorytelling This site is more about the theory and importance of using digital storytelling in your classroom.

Appendix

The importance of meeting the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies is the impetus behind this lesson.  This unit tries to hit many of the Thematic Strands.

  1. CULTURE
  2. TIME, CONTINUITY, AND CHANGE
  3. PEOPLE, PLACES, AND ENVIRONMENTS
  4. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT AND IDENTITY
  5. INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS, AND INSTITUTIONS
  6. POWER, AUTHORITY, AND GOVERNANCE
  7. PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, AND CONSUMPTION
  8. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY
  9. GLOBAL CONNECTIONS
  10. CIVIC IDEALS AND PRACTICES

 

 

 

Graphic Organizers, Rubrics, and Assessments

Included you will find a variety of suggested rubrics and graphic organizers to help guide the lessons included in this unit.  You may decide to create your own template as it fits the needs of your classroom.