The 5-Image Story

Created by as a Make

Welcome to Make Cycle #6 in the Making Learning Connected collaboration!

For this sixth Make Cycle, we will think about the power of images, and what it means to compose a text visually.

When composing with images, we are forced to think critically in a way that focuses us on our intent in order to get a clear message across. To this end, we will focus our explorations on the concept of a 5-Image Story. According to Wesley Fryer’s “Mapping Media to the Common Core,” a 5-Image Story is a “collection of five images which tell a story of some kind without using supplementary text, audio or video. The five photos should ‘stand alone’ as a story.”

BUT, feel free to break Wesley’s rules and add titles and captions to your stories.

At the Hudson Valley Writing Project, we have been playing with the 5-Image Story since Bonnie Kaplan, Co-Director, and Jack Zangerle, 8th grade ELA (Summer Institute ‘10) at Dover Middle School, co-facilitated an innovative project. The 5-Image Story seemed to be a perfect way to begin the storytelling process with a small group of tech kids. Here’s an example of a basic procedural 5-Image Story from one of the 8th grade students:

Used with permission from Jack Zangerle

More recently, Andrea Tejedor,(SI ‘13) Director of Technology at Highland Falls School District collaborating with Bonnie, brought 5-Image Stories to her teacher team. Here’s a video of teachers sharing and Paul’s 5-Image Story Project with a rubric.

Completing our facilitation team, Marc Schroeder (SI ‘09), 6th-8th grade ESL teacher at Meadow Hill School, Newburgh, is ready for any digital challenge and this summer is no exception. He has joined our HVWP documenting team, capturing our Young Writers Programs in the Hudson Valley. Good thing he’s off this week.

As you choose and produce your makes this week, we invite you to think about these questions:

  • What does it mean to compose a visual text?
  • What happens when makers push the boundaries of a 5-Image Story and approach the creation of a 5- Image Story from different angles?
  • What might this process mean for classroom practices as teachers prepare for the new school year?
  • How can teachers evolve this type of composition to move beyond the definition of a 5-Image Story and move into other media rich creations?

Make with Me

For this Make Cycle, an easy way in might be to grab your phone and head out into the world. Look for the places in your life where small stories take place. Maybe you are sitting on a blanket to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine and notice an ant taking crumbs from the blanket back to his ant hill. Snap a picture of the ant approaching the crumbs, one as he stops to take the crumb, one as he walks to his ant hill, another as he enters the hole and a final picture after he has descended home with his new meal. Bang! It’s the story of Anthony the Ant’s Afternoon Picnic.

OR: You may also choose to make an instructional 5-Image Story and use images to show how to do something through illustrating steps. If you really want to dig in, you may choose to carefully stage images to tell a story that conveys a message that you feel is important to share.

If you are really ready to take it up ANOTHER NOTCH, then you might consider using the images you take or collect and mix in other media such as music, video, narration and other effects to bring your story to life even further.

Still need help? Try starting with these five photos. Tell your story with them. Change the sequence, add a title and captions. Why not move them to TAPESTRY, free on the iphone and android phones, just for the fun of it. There are many ways you might develop your 5-Image Story.

Check Out These Resources

If you need images other than your own:

Flickr – If you don’t have your own photographs, this site has many beautiful photographs that you can weave together. Just remember what we always tell our students and be sure to cite your sources.

The Library of Congress – Another great place to find photographs if you don’t have your own. Most of these are in the public domain, but you still should use citations when possible.

Visit the following sites for additional resources about the 5-Image Story and a list of Cool Tools to Create and publish your voice through images:

And make sure to share your stories with us here (submit and example below) or on G+ or elsewhere!

Re(media)te – 2015 Make Cycle #2

Created by as a Make

For this Make Cycle, we invite you to consider how the media we compose within (like print, sound, still and moving image, or objects) influence how we communicate and interpret.  In this Make Cycle, we will mediate and re-mediate and reflect on how the affordances of different media impact our choices, processes, and meanings.

Ryan moved from image to words in this remediation:

Remediation – as we’ll be thinking about it here – is unrelated to another use of the term in education: we are not talking about “remediating kids” as in “remedy”-ing them.  Here, the focus is on media, and ways in which moving from one medium to another changes what we are able to communicate and how we are able to do so.

The processes of mediation and remediation are occurring all around us.  When we add content to a Facebook page, personal journal, or scrapbook, we are mediating ourselves and experiences. In doing so, we work within (and sometimes push back against) the constraints of the medium. Every medium we compose within offers affordances that we can take advantage of: a photograph captures color in a way that text cannot, but text can convey conversation that happened at the moment of the photograph. Similarly, music offers the tools of pitch, rhythm, and tone color; so while a sculpture may be inspired by a song, it has to communicate differently because it works with line, texture, and dimension. When we move from one medium to another, we can notice the affordances and constraints that each medium offers (for and against) our purposes.

Make with Me!

For this Make Cycle, we would love for you to choose something (an artifact, a story, a picture, a video clip, an anything) and over the course of the week remediate it through one or more different media. A remediation cycle might start as a drawing, move to a video, then to a cross stitched text, then to a webpage. Another cycle might begin with a blog post, move to a garden sculpture, become a gif, and result in a speech. You might even may choose to browse the Makes from the first week’s cycle and remediate an introduction someone posted, with proper attribution of course!

The media you choose to work with are up to you. We hope that you will be inspired to explore at least one unfamiliar medium to prompt new understanding about what it means to translate a message from one medium to another. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider remediating your introductory artifact from the first Make Cycle. Over the course of the Make Cycle, we’ll consider how remediation draws attention to our composing processes and our identities as composers.

Check out these resources — How can we mediate and remediate?

Not sure where to start?  During last week’s Make, Karla found inspiration for remediation by taking an everyday image in the medium of digital photography (which strives to make the medium immediate, or invisible) and using some of the photo editing tools below to hypermediate, or make the presence of a mediation extremely visible. The proliferation of rainbow-enhanced profile pictures on social media sites last week speaks to the same idea, and particularly reminds us how we use the affordances of a digital medium to convey aspects of our identities.



Word Clouds


Comic Strip Creators

Sound Resources

Please share your examples of how you remediated here or in any of our online community spaces!


Six Image Memoir

Created by as a Make

The five-image story concept led to a six-image memoir in the CLMOOC as we thought about to represent one’s self via six images. This connects back to the earlier work with avatars, too. In essence, you find six images that represent how you see yourself. The six images could be aspects of personality, or they could connect together to create a visual interpretation of a Six Word Memoir. Pull them together into a collage/mosaic, or maybe into a digital story. Narrate, if interested, or let the images speak to who you are.

Folding a Collaborative Story

Created by as a Make

Collaboration and surprise is a key component to a successful Folding Story. Essentially, each writer gets only a glimpse of a piece of the story before them, adds their own section, folds the story back up and passes it along to the next person. As each fold happens, the story moves farther away from the original idea and moves into new territory. Folding stories can also be done in online spaces but the old-fashioned paper fold works like magic in the classroom.


Games – Make ‘Em, Play ‘Em, Hack ‘Em, (and most of all) Tell ‘Em!

Created by as a Make

CLMOOC 2014 Make Cycle #3 is all about games. And the games we are considering are ones taken from the widest continuum imaginable: childhood games, board games, made up games, online games, World Cup games and the greatest meta-game of all—telling stories about games. Games and gaming have burst into the learner zeitgeist over the last several years marked by the coining of the term “gamification” in education circles. Game sales are bigger than movie box office revenue worldwide. Game apps can create overnight millionaires.

But games are also intimate and unconcerned with big bucks. Often they are about narrative. In the lead up to our work on this cycle we began by talking about games in our own lives. Joe told about how his backyard trampoline was not just a magnet for playmates in the neighborhood, but also a source of ad hoc gam-ery. Terry related how his mother was an afficionado of hard ball, marbles, and knife games. He learned “danger games” about knives while playing mumblety peg. Christina Cantrill told about how her father played “halfball,” a game that involved half a ball and car traffic. Michael Weller admitted to a continuing passion for table top ice hockey. Kim Douillard (who said at first that she couldn’t think of how gaming was important in her life) shared a project that is a fixture of the San Diego Writing Project’s Summer Institute: participants remix the classic board game Monopoly. We invite you to not only play, make and hack games, but we invite you to be your own bard about games past, present, and future.

Let’s Get Serious

The main subtext underlying games is play. Play researchers like Peter Gray have argued that our culture is play-deprived, something that “unschools” like the Sudbury School have taken to heart in restructuring learning from the ground up. Gray also argues that play dovetails into human adaptation and survival. In other words, without play we will not survive as a species.

This week (and beyond) we ask you to tell stories about play, to make up games and play them, to find others’ games and play them, and to hack/adapt games as you wish and you will. I think you will find that connected learning principles and values fit hand in glove with the idea of play.

Our invitation? Choose your own adventure!

Make games

  • Anna Smith gamifies Fridays by sending us on a reflective scavenger hunt in Find Five Fridays #F5F.

    Kim Douillard gamifies the way we look at our world by issuing photography challenges each week. You might make a game out of your participation in CLMOOC this week. How will you approach your participation? Can you gamify it and share your game with others?

Play games
  • Document and record the games you play—online or off—this week. We’ll invite you to play (or host) Pop up #twitcastrophe. This mooc-ified remix of a hackjam game introduced to us by Andrea Zellner and Chad Sansing might get CLMOOC playing and creating together.
Hack games
  • In More Than a Game Kim Douillard, shares how she remixes the classic board game Monopoly with the San Diego Writing Project’s Summer Institute to explore issues of equity. In Hacking Four Corners, Kevin Hodgson tells how his students hacked a simple game they played in class to make it more interesting. The popular programming language and online community Scratch might be a space where we can remix games and practice programming.
Most importantly, tell stories about games
  • Our voices and our collective stories can surface how games have always led to learning and how play already happens in educational spaces. In Terry Elliott’s post, Danger Games: a Mother’s Story, he tells about knives, marbles, and his mother’s encouragement to “get outside and play.” How might stories like this reframe games, play, and learning?
Choose your own #CLMOOC adventure

Image by Joe Dillon CC BY

Let’s Spark Our Thinking

Each link below opens paths into this week, and like the old “choose your own” books they can lead you to play in new spaces and places where you will make, play, connect, and learn.

Remember that however you wish to game, play is the operative verb. Just blaze your own trail.

Make Cycle 3 - Games - Make 'em, Play 'em, Hack 'em, Tell about 'em

Image by Terry Elliot CC BY



You can edit this newsletter here if you want to add more “sparks”: Hackable version of newsletter.

Here is a social bookmarking group for reading about games and sharing your links and thoughts: Diigo “Let’s Go Play”

Maybe read Ready Player One?: Earnest Kline’s great summer read. Also, a trés cool website.

Asynchronously discuss along with us and play expert (oxymoron intended), Jane McGonigle’s global thumb wrestling initiative.

Asynchronously discuss, along with us and play scholar Peter Gray, the evolutionary imperative that play represents.


And whatever you do, make sure you share your examples and/or tutorials at the bottom of this Make Bank entry or on G+, Twitter, your blog, or wherever else you hang out.

Meme-Inspired Writing Activity (Character Development)

Created by as a Make

Many young writers have trouble crystallizing their character’s main desire, secret, fear, or conflict, and how that connects to their play or story at large. This activity uses the structure of memes to help writers begin to hone in on that concept though the use of “meme sticky notes” or “meme portraits.”

Version #1 – For Groups
To do this activity with a group…
1. Select a meme with a formula that beneficial for exploring character. For example, the Morpheus meme, “What if I told you…” is a great meme to use if you’d like participants to explore character through the lens of ‘mind-blowing’ secrets, fears, or desires. Or, the Futurama Fry formula of “Not sure if…/ Or…” is fantastic for having participants explore a character in conflict, torn between two choices.
2. Find one or several photographs that feature a single person in a setting. (Searching a phrase like “casual portrait photography” is a great way to start.)
3. Choose which method of “meme” you’d like your participants to interact with. You can…

Do a ‘Meme Sticky Note’ Method.
1. Take small print outs of the original meme, placing a blank box wherever you’d like participants to fill in text.
2. Make a “gallery” on the walls by taping up the photos you’ve selected.
3. Have participants use the meme notes to post imaginary information about the person in the picture. For example, if participants are using the Morpheus meme, instruct them to write a “mind-blowing” fear, secret, or desire for each individual. (Two great questions to ask as prompts are, “What are fears, secrets, or desires you would expect this individual to have just by looking at him or her?” and “What are fears, secrets, or desires you wouldn’t expect this individual to have just by looking at him or her?”) Have the participants post their notes next to each corresponding photograph.
4. Ask participants to stand by the photograph that resonates with them the most. Then, instruct them to choose a meme note that is not their own that interests them as a writing prompt.
5. Let the writing begin! If you think it would help your participants, you can give them a required first sentence or a required first line of dialogue.


Do a ‘Meme Portrait’ Method
1. Take the framework of a meme, and impose that framework on the photo(s) you have selected. Place a blank white box wherever you’d like participants to fill in text.
2. Spread out photographs you’ve selected, and let each of the students choose the photo that resonates with them. Or, have all participants focus on the same photograph, and pass out a copy of that photograph to each participant.
3. Have participants use the meme blanks to write imaginary information about the person in the picture. For example, if participants are using the Futurama Fry meme, instruct them to imagine two choices that this person could be torn between. (Two great questions to ask as prompts are, “What are two choices you would expect this individual to be torn between just by looking at him or her?” and “What are two choices you wouldn’t expect this individual to be torn between just by looking at him or her?)
4. Once all the participants have filled in the blanks, have them make a “gallery” on the walls in by taping up their photos.
5. Have participants stand by a meme portrait that is not their own that interests them as a writing prompt. More than one student can choose the same portrait meme.
6. Let the writing begin! If you think it would help your participants, you can give them a required first sentence or a required first line of dialogue.

To view sample images that partner with the instructions above, and for a second version of this activity for individual writers, visit here:

myHistro Timeline

Created by as a Make

There are quite a few interactive timeline apps on the market, functioning both on web browsers and as apps on mobile devices. myHistro exists as both. It also functions well in the Edmodo app store.

myHistro works as a timeline generator, incorporating text, pictures, video, and maps. Users can customize dates and times. Users can embed finished timelines into blogs and websites.

Ways users could use myHistro is to create timelines of characters in a book or the adventures of an explorer. This year I plan on having students create timelines of their year, constantly revisiting their work and adding snapshots and video clips that tell the story of their learning.


MakerSim, Mixed Reality Makerspace

Created by as a Make

Exploring the idea of a virtual makerspace and how the digital can move to the corporeal, and visa versa. Mirroring a real life maker faire in Sept. I am looking at over coming the physical and financial barriers of integrating the maker ethos into a connected learning environment and providing a point of access for distance and disabled people. The particulars of making are really wide open within making the makerspace. For example the wine and food makers could share via hangouts their produce within the makersim so others could experience and learn about food and wine, etc. they share the process and result. The particular story of the make becomes an artifact and discoverable by new makers within the open network of the Makersim.


This I Believe

Created by as a Make

Based on the popular NPR radio series, make a multi-modal “This I Believe” text that illustrates a strongly held belief. Your “belief” should be fresh and interesting, complex and unexpected. It should make your audience think deeply and differently about the topic you have chosen to explore. You’ll want to carefully consider your audience(s), your purpose(s), strategies, and the medium of your final product– will you produce a podcast that allows your audience to hear your voice and brings in the cannon of delivery? A photo-essay that blends words and still images? A digital story that includes a voice over and still images? A video-recorded performance? A Prezi? Voicethread?

Step One: Listen to, watch, or read and analyze a few Mentor Texts. You’ll want to spend some time on the NPR This I Believe website listening to essays that catch your attention. Perhaps you’ll want to create a playlist of your favorites to share. What makes these work? What are the conventions of a This I Believe Essay or what makes a “This I Believe Essay” a “This I Believe Essay” (other than the obvious “I Believe In…”)? You’ll want to think about length, purpose, audience, tone, organization, the ways the author develops his/ her beliefs, word choice, clarity, focus, etc.

Step Two: Check out some mentor texts in different mediums. Then ask yourself, what else do writers have to think about when using images, video, combining voice with text and/ or images? Where in these multi-modal texts is this combination done well? Where do they fall short? What can authors accomplish in these mediums that couldn’t be accomplished with words or voice alone? What is lost? Which work for you and which don’t? Why?

Step Three: Plan Out Your Own Composition. You might find this design plan useful to help you think through the choices.

What’s your working title?
What’s the purpose of your composition– what do you want it to accomplish (be specific)?
Who’s your audience– what are their needs, interests, positions, & how will your digital story address them?
What medium are you working in? Are you going to produce a website with a voice recording and pictures? A Prezi with audio and images or video? A VoiceThread? Why will that medium work for your audience and your purpose?
Project Planning–for the alphabetic text (narrative), will you write out a full script, work from storyboards, free-form into the microphone? How will you record your voice?
What kinds of visuals do you need? Drawings, Pictures, Video? Sketches? Do you already have these materials? If not, how and when will you get them? Will you add music to create mood? Will you write and perform your own? What tracks might you sample? What software will you need to use?
What technical difficulties might you face? What legal or ethical concerns do you need to consider?
What support do you need? Where can you find that support?

Here’s a great list of tools from my colleague Troy Hicks. You’ll likely want to focus down the list in the “Crafting Web-Based Texts”, “Presentations”, “Crafting Audio”, “Crafting Video” and “Social Networking Tools”. Most of these tools have great tutorials to help you use the software. If you get stuck, use resources at your school, after school, or community center. You can also find online groups and communities that can help you problem-solve.

Step Four: Get Feedback from a peer, an instructor, or a mentor. Tips for working successfully in writing groups are available here ( Revise your design plan once you’ve shared.

Step Five: Draft your composition.

Step Six: Get Feedback from a peer, an instructor, or a mentor. Revise your draft so that it better meets your goals and vision. Involve as many people as you can in the review process, and revise until you are satisfied (or until the deadline:)

Step Seven: Share and Reflect. Use the Writer’s Memo questions available here to support reflection. Celebrate your work!

Remix the Sunday Comics

Created by as a Make

Remixing comics forces you to play around with narrative. The best way to get started is to read all of the comics strips in the paper. Sunday is best because of the color and of the added space that comic artists get. After reading each comic strip, search for connections among stories or panels that might go together. Tell a new story. Make a political statement. Cut out panels and remix them onto paper with tape or glue. There will be some narrative gaps. That’s OK. Your audience is smart and nimble, and can easily jump over those gaps.