Smith_Renner_IRA2 - TILE-sig

Linking through literature: Hypertext literary
response and analysis
Blaine Smith
Vanderbilt University
Nicole Barrick Renner
East Nashville Magnet School
International Reading Association
April 19, 2013
of Presentation
 The Things They Carried unit & multimodal
 Connections to Common Core standards
 Scaffolding & multimodal workshops
 Examples of student products
 Findings: Teacher & researcher perspectives
 Lessons we learned
What is Multimodal Composition?
 Definition: A digital product with two or more
 What are modes?
 print
 speech
 sound
 visuals (images, artwork, photography, maps,
 movement (animation, dance, gesture, etc.)
 color
Why is Multimodal Composition
 Shifts in compositional practices: “producing a revolution in the
uses and effects of literacy and of associated means for
representing and communicating at every level and in every
domain” (Kress, 2003, p. 1)
 64% of teens12-17 create and share multimodal content online
(Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, & Smith, 2007)
 Disconnects between inschool and out-of-school
compositional practices
 New cognitive demands
(Luke, 2003; Mayer, 2008)
 National shifts in
standards (NCTE/IRA,
Common Core)
Research on Multimodal Composition
 Engagement: Choice & authenticity
 Students express their identities in ways not typically
afforded by written texts (Chandler-Olcott & Mahar, 2003;
Kinloch, 2009; Vasudevan, 2006)
 Collaborative process (Black, 2006; Goodman, 2003)
dividing labor
discussing modal decisions
providing feedback
learning new skills
 “An inversion in semiotic power” (Kress, 2003, p. 9):
Adolescents who usually struggle are able to use multiple
modes in ways that help them express themselves
Unit Overview: The Class
• AP English Literature & Composition
• Seniors
• Predominantly African-American
• ≈50% took AP Language junior year
• Mostly low-scoring on AP Language Exam
Literature and multimodal response unit:
The Things They Carried
The Things They Carried (O’Brien, 1990)
 Different perspectives from a platoon of
American soldiers in the Vietnam War
 Metafiction: storytelling about
 Sustains prolonged analysis and multiple
 Major themes:
physical and emotional burdens
truth and fiction in storytelling
Overview of Three Assignments
• Assignment 1: Informational Website
– culture and context of the Vietnam War era
– developing background knowledge to enhance
contextualization and understanding of the text
• Assignment 2: Hypertext Literary Analysis
– Analyzing text, making inter- and intra-textual
connections, synthesizing a theme statement
• Assignment 3: Audio Letter
– Use sound and words to demonstrate
understanding of the complex themes of a text
through a character’s point of view
Assignment 2: Hypertext Analysis
• Student Example 1: Arianna and Keisha
• StudentExample 2: Emilia and Patrick
• Student Example 3: Veronica and Cheryl
Connections to the Common Core
• Combines reading, writing, speaking, and
• Emphasizes 21st-century technology skills,
including the evaluation of electronic
sources and the use of media to support
both expression and understanding
• Combines research, revision, and reflection
in meaningful, interconnected ways
21st-Century Skills
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Creativity & Innovation
Unit Overview: Teacher Goals
• Help students with non-verbal learning
styles or weaker writing skills engage in
deep explication
– Allowing students with strong analytical but
weaker writing skills to shine and gain
– Forcing the “chronic summarizers” to
explicate and analyze
Unit Overview: Teacher Goals
• Allow students compositional freedom
to help them break free from linear
organizational structures
-- Targeting students who are “stuck” in
formulaic writing styles
-- Inviting creativity and artistry
Unit Overview: Teacher Goals
• Encourage organization based on
relationships among ideas
W.CCR.2 (Text Types and Purposes)
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and
convey complex ideas and information clearly and
accurately through the effective selection,
organization, and analysis of content.
Unit Overview: Teacher
• Habitualize revision and recursive
compositional practices
W.CCR.5 (Production and Distribution of Writing
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by
planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new
Unit Overview: Teacher Goals
• Help students develop
reflective/metacognitive habits of mind
regarding their own composition as they
approach the independence of college
“Students who are college and career ready . . . demonstrate
independence. More broadly, they become self-directed
learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist
them, including teachers, peers, and print and digital
reference materials.”
-National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief
State School Officers. Introduction to the Common Core Standards.
Student Learning Goals
I CAN… explicate a complex literary text thoroughly
and deeply
R.CCR.1-2 (Key Ideas and Details)
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly
and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific
textual evidence when writing or speaking to support
conclusions drawing from the text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and
analyze their development; summarize the key
supporting details and ideas.
Student Learning Goals
I CAN… explicate a complex literary text thoroughly
and deeply
R.CCR.3-4 (Craft and Structure)
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas
develop and interact over the course of a text.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text,
including determining technical, connotative, and
figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word
choices shape meaning or tone.
Student Learning Goals
I CAN… understand and explain an author’s
narrative and creative choices
R.CCR.5-6 (Craft and Structure)
Analyze the structure of texts, including how
specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger
portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter,
scene, or stanza) relate to each other and to the
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the
content and style of a text.
Student Learning Goals
I CAN… compose in multiple modes and media,
considering audience and purpose
W.CCR.10 (Range of Writing)
Write routinely over extended time frames (time
for research, reflection, and revision) . . . for a
range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
W.CCR.5 (Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas)
Make strategic use of digital media and
visual displays of data to express
information and enhance understanding of
Student Learning Goals
I CAN… clearly articulate the reasoning and intent
behind my own narrative and creative choices
SL.CCR.1-2 (Comprehension & Collaboration)
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of
conversations and collaborations with diverse partners,
building on others’ ideas and expressing their own
clearly and persuasively.
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse
media and formats, including visually, qualitatively, and
Student Learning Goals
make meaningful connections across
texts, genres, and modes, and between
text and my own life
CCR Anchor Standards - Writing
W.CCR.5 (Production & Distribution of Writing)
Use technology, including the internet, to
produce and publish writing and to interact
and collaborate with others.
Digital Writer’s Workshop Scaffolded Approach
& Smith, 2012)(B will edit)
1. DEMO -- Teacher demonstrate for students
Why: Various design decisions a composer could make
How: Technical aspects
Show student examples
Show professional examples if possible
– Students collaborate and are resources for each other
– Share work, strategies, resources
– Reflect on designs and experiences
– Respond to each others‘work
Instructional Scaffolding
1. DemoConsiderations
• Walk through basic steps, make sure everyone is
on the same page to start
• Provide both modeling (dynamic) and models
• Need multiple authentic (student created)
examples if possible
• Demonstrating metacognition
• Important for teacher to do the project herself
• Mini-lessons more effective than long, coverevery-possibility presentations
Mrs. Renner’s Hypertext Example
Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong
Create: Multimodal
(B will edit)
• Graphic organizers to prepare students for
• Students had a choice of whether to work
alone and who they collaborated with
• Daily goals
• Just-in-time technological help and minilessons
• Teacher as facilitator
(B will edit)
Share, Reflect,
• Mini-feedback sessions
with peers
• Students share strategies
and resources
• In-class presentations of
drafts and final products
• Authentic Audiences
– Weebly and audio
letters posted on class
– Culminating
(B will edit)
Share, Reflect,
Hypertext Metanarrative
1. What did you like best about your PowerPoint? Why? What did you
struggle with? Why?
2. What design decisions did you and your partner make? For example,
why did you choose certain images, videos, fonts, colors, etc.? Do you
think you were successful in using links to move through your text? In
using multiple modes to represent your analysis of the text? If not,
what were the obstacles that prevented you from succeeding in this
3. How did you and your partner collaborate to create the
presentation? What was your process? How was the work divided up
between the two of you? What did you discuss while you worked?
Summary of Findings
1. Collaborative nature of multimodal projects
2. Increased engagement
3. Multimodal projects allowed for multiple points of
entry and compositional freedom
4. Students “connected” with the content in deeper
and personal ways
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Multimodal Projects
Multimodal Projects
• Division of work based on
strengths, knowledge, &
• Wanted partner with the
“same mindset”
• Talk as conduit for
understanding the text and
design decisions
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Multimodal Projects
Multimodal Projects
“If it wasn’t for Marcus, I honestly don’t think I
would have gotten through this [hypertext
analysis]” (Rashun)
“We picked tasks that played to our
strengths…She did most of the research and I
did most of the design” (Arianna)
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Multimodal Projects
Multimodal Projects
“We decided together how we could
successfully combine our ideas and turn it in
to a great PowerPoint. The work was divided
up by assigning different parts to each other’s
strengths…While we worked, we discussed
who was in charge of what, what we were
going to work on next, and ideas to help each
other on specific parts of the project that we
had. We also gave feedback to each as we
worked.” --Keisha
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Finding 1: Collaborative Nature of
Multimodal Projects
Multimodal Projects
“Raven and I work very, very well as a
team…We are really good at pointing out an
extra layer of texture in the project that the
other does not see. I would make a
connection with one thing, and she would
make a connection with another. We were
really good at asking the other, “Have you
looked at it this way?” While we were planning
our project, we discussed the story thoroughly
and what parts we both liked about it.” -Emilia
Finding 2: Increased Engagement
• Sense of pride and accomplishment
• Majority preferred multimodal projects over
traditional written analysis
• Connection to their identity as composers
and out-of-school interests
• Saw value in multimodal projects
Finding 2: Increased Engagement
“I feel that projects like this should actually be
done more in high school. I feel that I am
privileged to be a part of this experience, and
I hope that everyone gets a chance to do an
assignment like this at one time or another.”
“I think this is one of my favorite assignments
this year. It was really fun and I'm glad me and
Amber were able to work together this year.
And I'm really happy with the stuff we
created.” --Kelsey
Finding 2: Increased Engagement
“A writing assignment is like, read [the book]
once, look for something and just look for
quotes you want to pull out and make it all
flow. It's like you don't really have to think
about it. It's long and doesn't take much brain need way more brain power for
this.” –Vicki
“The one thing that I would want to say is now I
know how to do a hypertext and it really did help
me out. Even with my writing skills, it helped me
be a better writer.” --Cynthia
Finding 3: Multiple Modes Allowed for Different
Points of Entry and Compositional Freedom
• Many enjoyed the
freedom and ability to
express themselves
• Students took different
compositional paths
with content and
Finding 3: Multiple Modes Allowed for Different
Points of Entry and Compositional Freedom
“What I liked most about my PowerPoint was the
design process…I loved finding fonts that
matched the tones of the passages, I love
coordinating colors, adding effects, searching
endlessly for the perfect background
pictures…the list goes on and on. I suppose I
liked these parts the most because there was so
much freedom; I could literally do anything that
was in my head. I’ve always been very visual, so
these aspects of the project were right up my
alley.” --Robin
Finding 3: Multiple Modes Allowed for Different
Points of Entry and Compositional Freedom
“I work mainly in music, so I had an idea about
what I wanted to add in there. Because the
story had to do with darkness and reality, I
wanted to add the song “Sounds of Silence” by
Simon and Garfunkle” --Martin
“Well, sometimes there really is no words to put
into effect what I'm feeling, so pictures just
really help me express myself a lot more.”
Finding 4: Students “connected” with the
content in deeper and more personal ways
• Used multiple modes to
explore their own
affective reactions and
the emotions of
• Multiple modes allowed
for them to
communicate in ways
not be possible with a
written essay
Finding 4: Students “connected” with the
content in deeper and more personal ways
“I think it really helped us feel more
about what the book is about. It's one
thing to have words, but when you see
stuff that really relates to the colors and
images like oh. It kind of sinks in.” --Jade
Finding 4: Students “connected” with the
content in deeper and more personal ways
“This was different
because it was a lot
easier to express exactly
what I thought because
I'm not, I mean I'm good
with words, I'm just don't
know what to say
sometimes. The picture
helps because they
exactly describe the
emotion I was looking for”
Finding 4: Students “connected” with the
content in deeper and more personal ways
“You got to really express what you felt about the
book and with writing you can express yourself, but
not in colors and everything. Blank ink, that's not
really going to do anything. When you really want to
express yourself, something like this is amazing
because it really helps you. It helps other people
really see how you feel. Not everybody is good at
writing, so if you're not good at writing and you write
an essay, nobody is going to get what you felt.
They're just going to be like “oh this isn't that great”,
but if you're good at something like this [hypertext]
and you do it people are going to be like “wow!”-Shay
Lessons We Learned
Don’t overly restrict the process
– Allow for multiple points of entry
Do the project yourself first
– Well in advance of giving assignment to students
– Discover “frequent issues” and figure out how to
– Leave it incomplete; use what you have prepared
as a model and work through the rest to provide
active process modeling
– Take student feedback and suggestions; model
good collaboration
Lessons We Learned
On the other hand, don’t feel the need to
always be the expert
– Use surveys or other means to uncover
student talents and skills
– Plan for some students to be “expert for a
– Get the students comfortable getting up on
an impromptu basis to demo something they
know how to do or just discovered
Lessons We Learned
Design a separate lesson to learn the basic
technology skills necessary
– Before removing process constraints
– Arrange a skills lesson that results in every
student having an identical final product
– Keep it simple and restrict it to ONLY the
absolute starting-point necessities
Lessons We Learned
Frequent mini-lessons are better than one
overwhelming tutorial that covers everything
– Have loose “micro-goals” for each day of
workshop, or have students set their own
– Tech mini-lessons can be planned around
these goals
– Take advantage of natural opportunities
when a student discovers or needs to
discover something specific
Lessons We Learned
Plan for roadblocks, both literal and
– Can you provide override access for blocked
sites like Youtube and Google Images?
– If not, can you provide a pre-approved set of
media resources?
– Do you have a plan for file corruption,
accidental deletion, just-plain-taking-longerthan-expected-ness, etc.?
– Do you have a tech support person, formal
or informal?
Lessons We Learned
Never underestimate students’ inability to
save properly
– Pre-arrange a system for students to be able
to work in multiple locations (require flash
drives, use a “cloud” system, etc.)
– Attend to file pathways in PowerPoint; for the
final product, saving as a .pps (PowerPoint
Show) usually works best
Contact Us
Blaine Smith
Vanderbilt University
Nicole Barrick Renner
East Nashville Magnet School