Try Multimodal Literacy Autobiographies Now!

By Erin Knauer and Kathryn Caprino

Educators are also genuinely interested in learning more about how our trainees engage with non-digital and digital literacy practices in both school and out-of-school areas.

A number of us recognize that our students are part of a “digital local” generation, and we desire to include tasks that reflect their presumed technological savvy.

Katie

Erin

In this article, we (a future instructor and a literacy instructor educator) will share how:

Click any of the slides to enlarge them for much easier reading.

we specify multimodal literacy autobiographies;
why middle grades teachers need to provide their trainees opportunities to make up these interesting texts;
ways these types of texts might assist middle school trainees show on their literacy practices, and
5 suggestions for executing multimodal literacy autobiographies in your classrooms.

Multimodal Literacy Autobiographies

For example, here is a slide from Erins own multimodal literacy autobiography, determining an important literacy moment during her school days. On this slide, she selected a crucial academic duration of her literacy development that highlights what she was personally and academically reading in 7th grade. At that time, Erin was engaging with dystopian books which were above her grade reading level.

Multimodal literacy autobiographies allow customized reflections upon ones literacy development using imaginative media. Within the project trainees select crucial literacy moments in their lives and record them using print text and pictures.

As we reflect on Erins love of dystopian literature, we see that she had an interest in the idea of books as “sliding doors” (Bishop, 1990) because she was reading about young people older than her. We likewise learn that she was able to read books higher than her reading level due to the fact that she was interested in the subject.

Figure 1. Dystopian Literature Slide by Erin Knauer

When students and their instructors produce and analyze multimodal literacy autobiographies, both of these reflections illuminate understandings that can come.

Embracing a Broadened View of Literacy

Another crucial part of literacy is comprehending how it exists in many different forms. In a widened view of literacy, we understand that it is not limited to hard-copy books and scholastic literature but is also expressed through our use of innovations to communicate meaning.

The three figures above emphasize that as students develop a plan of their own literacy journey, they can recognize minutes of individual significance that shaped their understanding of literacy through numerous digital media (music, tv, books, podcasts). Teachers can then use this information to notify their practices.

Figure 3. Podcast Literacy Slide by Brooke Seislove

Figure 4. Tv Literacy Slide by Brooke Seislove

Figure 2. Electronic Exposure Slide by Erin Knauer

Below are snapshots from two multimodal literacy autobiographies that show peeks of how students engage with digital literacies. The very first sample demonstrates Erins experience after receiving a Nook, and the second sample reveals the budding interest of another student (Brooke) in podcasts. The 3rd sample showcases Brookes interest in TV shows.

Why Should We Ask Students to Do This?

Figure 5. Reflection Slide by Erin Knauer

In the photo listed below (click to expand), Erin summed up her experiences and highlighted ways she might widen and deepen her literacy explorations.

Producing an multimodal literacy autobiography motivates students to show seriously on their previous literacy experiences. Whether these experiences are subjectively “good” or “bad,” the task provides insight into how students chose up literacy routines and how they have actually grown from their literacy experiences. The definition of literacy is also broadened as we ask trainees to think about the myriad of literacy interactions they have actually had– from print to texts to podcasts, audiobooks, narrative gaming and more.

Ultimately, a job like this can help middle graders develop a private voice doing something personally significant and satisfying– a job that likewise contributes to their understanding of literacy and sets the stage for trainees and instructors to develop literacy goals for the term.

Because students are working to understand their literacy roots as they compose their multimodal literacy autobiographies, these projects offer chances to assess past experiences and set new literacy goals.

5 Tips for Teachers

In order to be reflective and responsive in our own teaching, its essential to review our own literacy background. Show on your literacy experiences growing up and produce a coach text for trainees to consider.

► Provide trainee examples. Although we want autobiographies to be individual so students can build off their own understandings and experiences, we also wish to scaffold trainees work. Whole task examples or sample slides might be useful.

Offer trainees innovative freedom and invite them to use multiple opportunities of interaction with scholastic and non-academic content. Motivate them to believe broadly about literacy practices. Help trainees comprehend this.

► Give specific thinking prompt examples. Students ought to comprehend that the literacy events they choose to highlight need to have been significant to their growth. It might be very important to offer examples regarding what meaningful suggests in the context of the autobiography.

An excellent way to do this would be to offer triggers as trainees start brainstorming. Below is a list of sample prompts from Step 1 of the project Erin finished as part of her language and literacy course with Katie:

► Offer a range of task mediums. Trainees are not restricted to one medium but must have their option of digital tools to create their autobiography. Some examples that students might utilize are Google Slides, Prezi, or Glogster.

We are hopeful that you can have your students participate in multimodal literacy autobiographies! Please share with all of us their good work!

( The authors thank Brooke Seislove for her contributions to this article.).

Katie Caprino is an Assistant Professor of PK-12 New Literacies at Elizabethtown College. She taught middle and high school English in Virginia and North Carolina. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia, a MA from the College of William and Mary, a MA from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill..

Katie presents and researches on kidss, middle grades, and young adult literature; the teaching of writing, and incorporating innovation into the literacy class. You can follow her on Twitter at @KCapLiteracy and visit her book blog site at katiereviewsbooks.wordpress.com.

Here is a slide from Erins own multimodal literacy autobiography, recognizing an important literacy minute during her school days. Below are pictures from 2 multimodal literacy autobiographies that reveal peeks of how students engage with digital literacies. Creating an multimodal literacy autobiography encourages students to reflect critically on their previous literacy experiences. Whether these experiences are subjectively “great” or “bad,” the task provides insight into how trainees selected up literacy habits and how they have actually grown from their literacy experiences. The definition of literacy is also widened as we ask students to think about the myriad of literacy interactions they have had– from print to texts to podcasts, audiobooks, narrative gaming and more.

Erin Knauer is a junior Early Childhood Education Major and Music Minor at Elizabethtown College. She excitedly eagerly anticipates having her own class and continuing to keep up with the newest academic research..

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