Part 3 of my series of posts highlighting some of the projects I have been able to get off the ground in my role as Technology Coordinator… Brad Kosegarten had his English III Honors class use Powtoon as a presentation tool for final projects on Huck Finn.
Huck Finn is an extremely visual novel, meant to capture the imagination of children and adults alike. In most editions of the novel, sketchings accompany the text.
With these images, there are various moods and tones that Twain conjures throughout the novel.
Let’s look at Pap, for instance. Huck describes Pap in a menacing way: “ He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines,” which later comes to fruition when he locks Huck in his cabin.
Earlier, Pap, who promises to reform for the new judge in town, trades in his clothes for alcohol and falls off the porch and breaks his arm. Realistically, the judge says that he could “ reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but didn’t know any other way.”
While the initial imagery suggests that Pap is a menacing, terrifying figure, the latter suggests a mood that is darkly comical.
In this project, you will be tasked with finding a specific passage or two from your assigned reading and through Powtoon, use images and audio to bring the passage to life through tone and mood.
- Students will learn to identify tone and mood through imagery.
- Students will exercise creativity
- Students will practice conveying a visual interpretation in a condensed period
- of time.
- You and a partner will be assigned a night’s reading to be the expert on for discussion.
- Find one or two passages which you think will be visually stimulating and will create a certain tone/mood. Even if Huck doesn’t describe everything about your subject, you have the creative license to fill in the gaps.
- Use Powtoon to create a 1-2 minute presentation, using audio, text and images.
- Include audio- either your commentary or sound effects capturing your scene.
- Use at least 3 words which you think should be visually emphasized.
- Use some visual aids; cartoons, images, etc.
What worked well with this project?
- Students adapted to the technology well. It seemed intuitive.
- The class collaborated to create a “library” of moods/tones in the book.
- Students were forced to capture an abstract feel/concept in the text which often is hard to showcase. This tool was very helpful for this purpose.
- The technology forced students to be concise in their presentation; it also allowed for more class time.
- The technology allowed students to rehearse and perfect their work.
What would be done differently in the future?
- Show “models” from this year before to illustrate the difference between an analytic (bad) and a creative (good) project.
- Focus even more on students “creating” the mood or tone; students should know that this is not an analytic project but more of a creative one.
- For a non-honors course, possibly select the passages which would be rich in various moods or tones. We would create a sample together as a class, in Powtoon.