October 27, 2009

Whoa–there went two hours of my life that I won’t be getting back.  I just finished my second VoiceThread.  I made a mistake and visited a classmate’s blog and saw her beautiful VoiceThread before I posted mine.  I had to go back to the drawing board.  Mine was silly in comparison.

I’m happy with my final product.  It’s not a bad first draft.  For my VoiceThread, I went back in time to the summer of 2008 when I spent a month in Europe.  I dug out the text of an email that I sent to friends just a few days before I returned to the US.  I’m proud of the email because it took courage to write and send.  The trip came at a pretty rough moment in my life, and the letter reflects the mix of emotions that I felt at the time.  It is playful, honest, joyful and also bittersweet.

It was tough to match visual images to the text of my letter.  I took very few pictures while I was in Europe, and the ones I have didn’t necessarily convey the story I wanted to tell.  For example, I wrote about Kathryn, a woman I met in Strasbourg who I respected enormously.  I have one photograph of Kathryn, and she is sleeping on a train.  Kathryn is an incredibly dynamic woman, but as you might expect, the photograph doesn’t convey that dynamism.

Perhaps I had a hard time with this project because I started with a text.  I also limited myself to my own photographs.  At times, online images may have suited my story better.  For instance, in my letter I describe my joy in discovering a Starbucks in Vienna (before you judge me, please listen to my story to understand why I went in and bought a coffee there).  I probably should have just used an image of the Starbucks logo, but I resisted doing that.  It was my trip and I wanted to use my photos.  In the end, not all of my images match my text, and that affects the quality of my storytelling.  There is a disconnect between what I say and what the viewer sees.

I am still intrigued by visual storytelling.  I think visual images are incredibly powerful, and I get goose bumps when I watch the StoryThread I write because. I love how the sound of a person’s voice can hint at so much about his/her identity.  Is this writer young or old?  Man or woman?  Joyful or sedate?  A native English speaker?

That being said, I’m not too crazy about the sound of my own voice.  And I messed up a lot when I tried to record.  It’s not so easy to read text without making any mistakes.  I have more respect for news anchors now.

I see lots of potential in using VoiceThread in my kindergarten immersion classroom.  I am excited to use it to record my students speaking French and then match their voices to visual images. This could build their confidence and also help them match oral language to more concrete representations of words and concepts.


6 Responses to “Storytelling”

  1. wanderingturnip said

    Why thank you for the compliment Kelsey 🙂 But you didn’t see my very FIRST voice thread attempt, in which I waxed poetic about my cat. It too was silly…we definitely need silly in our lives. Now…I clicked on you link but it didn’t bring to your thread. I shall try again tomorrow.

  2. Kim said

    Love, love, love your VoiceThread! Thank you for sharing that very personal experience with us. I loved hearing your voice throughout your piece. I would love to talk more about your trip and all of the things you were able to do. I loved hearing about your visits to Starbucks. Too funny. It just was fun to catch a glimpse into your life! Thanks for sharing-

  3. wanderingturnip said

    Fantastique! Great pictures and great narrative Kelsey! I think this is a great tool for reflecting/remembering travel…all those thoughts and experiences get lost after a while, even if you have pictures. I wonder…did you remember details that maybe you had forgotten about for a while? Those are the things I worry about losing (the sounds, the associations, the small conversations we overhear).

  4. JoAnn said

    I loved your voice thread, Kelsey; your photos were very appropriate to your text and by not showing every umbrella and cafe you let us use our mind’s eye as we read. You are very brave in sharing all the email; you could have left out the personal part at the end for a general audience, but adding it in reveals more of you.

    I also read Gilbert’s book on recommend of a woman from India. My favorite part was Italy, though.

  5. micshaw5 said

    What a great idea to use a letter you had sent to be your written story! There were a couple slides where your voice was really strong, which was fun to hear. Have confidence in your voice because you are a great storyteller!

  6. […] Most creative post: Storytelling […]

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