7 Nov 2010, 6:31pm


Comments Off on Multi-media Writing Workshop

Multi-media Writing Workshop


By Kate Chamberlin


  • Sample letter to families and students
  • Sample schedule
  • Sample Bus Pass
  • Curriculum Notes
  • Mechanics of Writing
  • Projects and Techniques

Upon completing the workshop, the student …

… will have written an original short story.

This will be accomplished by brainstorming ideas for themes, settings, characters, and point of view.  The story will be keyboarded onto computer jump stick from the hand-written rough draft.  Revising, editing, and printing will be via computer.

… will have  turned his story into a play.

This will be accomplished by developing a dialogue format to express the original story.  The computer will be used to write, revise, and print out the script.

… will direct, produce, and perform in a video of his play and/or put the play on for a live audience.

The student will make a puppet stage, hand puppets, backgrounds, musical prelude, intermission, and postlude, as well as develop individual voices for each character.

… will have a pictorial journal of his projects in progress.

The students will take digital and other photos of each other during the workshop.  These will be assembled with captions for photographs into a “Book of Evidence.”

… will have submitted a Press Release to a local newspaper.

The news article will be typed and printed via computer.  The student will choose one photograph to accompany his article.  S.A.S.E. will be enclosed for the return of the photograph, if hard copy.

… will have used the following equipment: clipboard, pens (roller ball, colored, Calligraphy markers)and pencil,sewing machine, regular sewing needles, scissors, X-acto knife, paint, ruler, roller and brushes, computer, cassette tape recorder, stereo system with microphone, digital camera, sur-form and sand paper, hammer, and screw driver.

… will have used the following materials: paper, Latex paint, stain, and poly-coat, stencils, thread, buttons, fabric, glue, hot glue gun,

… will have used the following techniques to produce the story and script: computer revise/edit/re-write and print functions, cut and paste, slotting one word for another, discussion, brainstorming, co-operation,listening, reflecting.

… will have used the following techniques during project production: stenciling, paper macho, sewing by machine and hand, measuring with ruler, cutting with X-acto knife, sponge painting, roller painting, brush painting, making crayons look waxy, drafting a parabolic curve, hammering small nails, .Listening, co-operation, taking turns.

Sample Letter to invite students:

Instructor’s Name

Address of workshop location

Telephone, cell, and e-mail contact information

Current Date

Mr. and Mrs. Parents
Street Address
Town/city, State Zip code

Dear John, Mary, and Teddy,

I am offering a Multi-Media Writing Workshop beginning on (list date).  I was hoping that Teddy would like to join us in creating a story and then making a script from it, designing puppets, costumes, backdrops, and final production (either a video or “live performance”.)
Tentatively, we would meet on (list days and dates)Students could take the 3:10 bus to my home.  The sessions would run from 3:30 to 5:00 P. M. The fee would be $X.XX.  I am limiting the workshop to 2 – 6 students in Grades 3 – 6.

Please know that this is not a school activity; however, I am basing the writing phase on Nancy Atwell.’s Writing Workshop as written about in the book: “In The Middle” and “THE Elliot Wigginton’s Sometimes A Shining Moment: The FOXFIRE EXPERIENCE”. The multi-media phase would be my own blend based on what the students would like to do.

It you have any questions, please feel free to call me. I think this will be a fun and educational way to pass the winter months.  R. S. V. P.(list contact information).

(sign your name)
cc: (list students receiving this letter so parents can carpool, if needed)

Sample Schedule:

WORKSHOP DATES (list days, times)

Sessions 1  and 2 — 3:30 – 5:00 P.M.


Session 3 — 3:30 – 5:00 P.m.

Sessions 4 and 5 — 3:30 – 5:00 P. M.

Writing Story

Session 7 — 3:30 -5:00 P.M.

Design and Make puppets and costumes

Session 8  and 9 — 3:30   5:00 P.M.

Sessions 10 and 11 — 3:30   5:00 P.m.

Design and Make Backdrops

Sessions 12 and 13–  3:30 – 5:00 P.m.

Sessions 14 and 15 —  3:30 – 5:00 P.M.

Write Story into Script

Session 16  and 17 —  3:30   5:00 P.M.

Sessions 18 and 19 —  3:30   5:00 P.M.

Rehearse and Revise

Session 20 and 21 —  3:30 – 5:00 P.M.

Session 22 — Noon to 4:00 P.M.

Rehearsal (and Taping)

Session 23-  3:30 – 5:00 P.M.


Session 24 – 3:30 – 5:00 P.M. Performance FAMILIES INVITED; refreshments or “Dinner Theater”.


If the students are riding the school bus after school to your home or other location on the district’s bus route,  you can prepare a  form with the student’s name,  the Bus number that goes to the designated location , address of where the student is to be let-off;  to be filled-in and signed by the parent.


The approach to the writing phase is based on Nancy Atwell’s Writing Workshop as written about in her book : “In The Middle”, “THE Elliot Wigginton’s Sometimes A Shining Moment: The FOXFIRE EXPERIENCE”, and incorporates vocabulary words from the New York State Language Arts Curriculum.

The multi-media phase is the teacher’s own blend based on what the students would like to do.

The video “World In Motion” is from a science packet developed by the Engineering Society to promote engineering.

As samples of radio broadcasts and script interpretation via voice, the students listen to H. G Wells read Orson Wells “War of the Worlds” radio program;   Ruyard Kipling’s “Just So Story – How the Kangaroo got its short legs”; Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart”.

The students tape record themselves reading their stories, their play, their musical instruments, and the final performance.  This cassette tape becomes part of their Book of Evidence.

Having the students use a digital camera gives immediate feedback; and adjustments can be made quickly.  These candid photos become part of their Book of Evidence.

If a CamRecording is made, the parents may purchase a copy for the price of a tape or provide a blank tape.

Live performance: after noon Matinee; invite family and friends;

Live performance: dinner theater is possible; consider a pot luck dinner before the performance or order pizza, subs, or Chinese; apt to get better attendance  for a dinner theater. Remember:  “KIS; MIF” (Keep It Simple; Make It Fun).

Multi-Media Writing Workshop:  Mechanics of Writing

Plot Strategy and Cut/paste Activity

COPS  (Capitals,  Organization,  Punctuation, Spelling)


Here are some tips to help you ORGANIZE your story:

  1. What is your premise (theme, the big idea)? For example: A lion wants to be an astronaut.  All his f riends want to help him succeed.  There is, however, one friend who is jealous of him and tries to ruin everything.
  2. What is the dramatic question? (The answer must be yes or no.) For example: Can the lion ever become the astronaut he want’s to be?
  3. What is the Plot? (What events lead your characters to act and react to reach their goal?) For example: The lion tells his friends he wants  to  be  an astronaut.
  4. His friends help him plan how to raise money to go to school.
  5. Tell how the jealous friend messes it up, or does he?
  6. etc… (What event happens next?)
  7. etc ….

Vocabulary to Use and Enter into Book of Evidence:



– a word that describes a noun or pronoun, a word that modifies something

The big, fat cat sat over here.


– a word that modifies a verb or adjective

He ran quickly to her side.

The tat cat slowly stretched and yawned.


A word that is  oposite in meaning to another word.

big; tiny large: small


..used to show a long list is going to follow ..long pause when reading ..use after greeting in business letter ..use to connect two complete thoughts

Dear Sirs:

Please send the folowing:


..used to separate a series or list of things ..voice pauses at each comma ..used before the second quote instead of the period

“She ate apples, peaches, and olives,” John tattled.

Compound words

– two or more smaller words put together to make one new word: tabletop,  someone


-‘The history of a word or words


..used to show surprise or strong emotion ..voice reflects the emotion

“I can’t believe you threw that pencil at me!” she said angrily.

Homonym  (or Homophone)

A word that sounds the same but is spelled differently and has a different meaning.

Blew:  blue

to: too: two wood: would


a person, place, or thing

table, ocean, people, kitchen


..dot used at the end of thought ..voice goes down a little ..come to a full stop

This is a statement.

– to belong to
my house, your brother,

our friends, their cottage

– what is happening to the subject
He cut his finger.

Mary Jane came to my home  yesterday.

– letters added to beginning of a word

– a prefix may change the meaning of the word
interested: disinterested make: unmake

Prepositional Phrases -Sentence or string of words following a preposition

-often clarifies or interjects a  thought

-prepositons are helping words such as by, of, as,

By the way, I like your coat.

He took his sister to the store.

Proper Noun
– a specific person, place, or thing
Atlantic Ocean,  MaryJane,

Wayne Central School District

Question Mark          ?

..used at the end of asking something ..voice ends on a higher note

“Do you like to read?”

Quotation Marks         ….


-double quotes used at the beginning and end of the exact words a person says. -new speaker should have new line, indented -exclaimation mark, comma, question mark go before the second quote mark.

-use comma instead of period before second quote, the period goes at the end of the tag line.
“Do you like this coat?’ Mary asked.  “I do not like it,” Ronald snickered.

Run-on Sentence

-two or more statements together that should be separated
My mother said I could not wear my jeans jacket and I felt like a real geek and I am going to wear it anyway.


..used to separate a list withing a list ..pause when reading ..use to connect two thoughts wi.th a conditional word
“I’d like to go; however, I have a doctor’s appointment,” she said sadly.


– a string of words, usually expresses a whole thought

I like this Writing Workshop.


– what you are talking about in the sentence

He is my friend.

The silly cat fell off the tabletop.


– letters added to the end of a word

– sometimes changes an adjective to an adverb

You are slow.  You are going slowly.


A word that is the same or similiar in meaning to another word.

big:  large      small:  tiny


action word,  doing something

I ran through the door.

I came home.

The Writing Process -Pre-writing: before you write – drafting: the outline of writing – revision: working over a story or paragraph

– editing: fixing mistakes; COPS

– proof-reading: revision after you edit


In The Middle, Nancie Atwell, Boynton-Cook, Upper Mount clai-re NJ,1987, 295 pages

Workshop I: Writing and Literature (Workshop by and for Teachers), Nancie Atwell, Heinemann      Publishers, 1989, 123 pages.

Six Ways to turn Resistance into Acceptance, Gordon L. Lippett, Ph.D., Development Publications, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland.

Sometimes A Shining Moment:       The Foxfire Experience, Elliott Wigginton, Doubleday Publishers,       1985,     456 pages.
Library of Congress #85 199 67

for information on Foxfire, contact: Hilton Smith


Rabun Gap,  Georgia  30568



Materials  and Equipment:  clipboard,  pencil,  lined  paper,
“World In Motion” video,  a  work  area,  computer  with
a word processor, two or more students.


  1. Go  into  a  room  and  sit  down;  jot  down things   you see,  hear,  smell,  feel;  no  talking at this point; go into next room and repeat; view first portion of video, jotting down interesting thoughts that come into your mind.
  2. At the study area, discuss the things you jotted down; there’s no right or wrong here; encourage them to identify what they like to read and find in a story.
  3. Students independently jot down 5 to 10 of their favorite creatures; these can be real and imagine critters.
  4. Students jot down 5 to 10 of their favorite names; encourage using names of people they do not know; names can be made-up.
  5. Students discuss/debate which I to 3 names from each list should be used in developing their story.
  6. Independently, using the chosed names and characters, each student writes his story;  use  notes taken on brainstorming walk, during video, ideas brought up during discussion, any new idea; no talking or sharing at this point.
  7. Each author reads his story aloud; peer conference with the group or in two’s or three’s; encourage one voice at a time, constructive points, feelings, impressions, questions you have.
  8. Discuss what  sequence  these  stories  could  be  used  in as  chapter  book;   encourage  thoughts   on    how transitions can be made (not entire re writes); give book a title.
  9. After making the necessary notes and adjustments to their pencil rough drafts, the author reads his chapter to his partner at the keyboard; encourage patience and co-operation in transcribing the written onto disk; COPS (check for capitols, organization, punctuation, and spelling); print out a hard copy rough draft.
  10. Revise, rewrite, and edit until the chapters flow well and the students feel good about their short chapter book; print the book; one copy for each author; place in folders; keep one copy as a working copy if students are going on to make a script.


Materials and Equipment: clipboard, pencil.,Word Processor, original story


  1. Discuss direct quotes, dialogues, characters, narrator, and  other  characteristics  of  a play; demonstrate  the  “play”  form  for  a script;  no  need  to  know  stage  cues  at this  point;  encourage   as   much   direct dialogue among play characters as possible;  decide  if  this  is  for  puppet play or a radio broadcast;  listen  to  such greats as “War of the Worlds”  and  old  BBC radio broadcasts of “Suspense Theater”.
  2. Each author transcribes his chapter into dialoguw or play form; once   student’s catch  on  to  how  to  do this, a typist can transcribe directly onto disk as the author dictates the play; COPS the script.
  3. Run through the play; discuss which props could be used; where scenery or backgrounds are appropriate; sound effects; who will do the voices; who will do the puppet action; how do scenes get changed; directors (the author of that Act) should jot down changes, notes, and stage cues that need to be incorporated.
  4. Students  make  revisions  on  disk;  print  out  hard, working copy; no need for final copy until after play/radio broadcast has been polished; final hard copy goes into folder behind “Chapter Book”
  5. Design and print invitations if this is to be a live performance;    prepare,  print  ,   and   mail   Press Release; include photograph and S.A.S.E if needed.


  1. Materials and Equipment: large box such  as a freezer box, small card board box for model of stage, X-acto knives, rulers, paper mach6, Latex paint, smaller roller brush, variety of stencils, small sponge peices, fabric for curtains, dowels spot light.
  2. Students size up and measure the large box; it should correspond in shape to the smaller box that will become the model for the large stage; discuss the best locations for the backstage doors, the front opening, curtain location, background location; where in the room  will the stage be placed?
  3. On the model first; measure and draw the according to the group’s decision;note safety rules about using the sharp X-acto knife; once cuts have been made, paper macho stage openings, top fascades, and any irregularities in the box; repeat this for the stage.
  4. When all is dry, use a small roller to paint with Latex (it may take several coats; make or choose stencils; use small sponge squares to daub colored poster paints through stencil cut-outs; repeat the process on the stage.
  5. Use the X-acto knife to cut an X on each side of the model where the dowel for the curtains will go; choose curtain fabric; hem and make cafe curtains; also insertdowel about half way toward the back that will hold back-ground boards; repeat proceedure on the stage.
  6. Place the stage where electric outlets can be reached by the sound equipment, light cords, recorder or tape
  7. Begin work guide lines player cords.
  8. Student must discuss/agree how to put what where for the most efficient use of the smallest space.


Materials and Equipment:     fabric selections; buttons, ribbons,   lace, etc, and doodads for decorating puppets; needles, thread, sewing machine; styrofoam ball (for head) patterns, markers, scissors, pins, light weight card board (oak tag); glue.


  1. Students must choose which puppet boddy would be best for their characters; styrofoam works well for getting the natural shape of a human head, “muppet type puppets can look  like anything.
  2. Choose fabric for body; trace pattern; cut it out;
  3. Use the sewing machine for the basic body; use hand sewing for tiny additions and decorations; glue on what can’t be sewn on.


Materials and Equipment:  large oak tag, crayons


Students must decide if they want to use one or two scenes in their Act; draw desired  scene directly onto board using crayon; encourage big, bold shapes, and dark waxy colors


Materials  and  Equipment:  an  instant  picture   producing camera, a regular camera, film for each; glue stick, heavy bond paper, chisel point Calligraphy marker pens


  1. Each session let each  student  take  a photo  of  another  student  working  on  his  own  project; each student should end up with a photo of himself and his project;
  2. Toward the end of the whole workshop, place the photos in what ever order the student chooses to depict the events throughout the workshop; encourage talk about how they felt doing the projects; encourage one voice at a time, reflecting, and encouragement.
  3. Paste one photo to a page; discus why the student chose that particular order; which events were special for him.
  4. Students should examine the chisel points of the Calligraphy pens;  experiment with their thick and thin lines; refer to a letter chart or design their own letters; preactice; now write a caption or description, or anectodte about the photo on each page.
  5. Place in the notebook.

Materials and Equipment:   For each  placque,  piece  of plywood, any size, sur-form, sandpaper,  hammer,  small nails or pins  with  colored  heads,  wood stain and sponge square, Polycoat  finish, string or yarn,pop can opener tab,  square of cardboard, ruler, pen.


  1. Begin using the card  board  square;  use the ruler to draw a right angle (use edge of  board  to help guide); use ruler to mark  off  every cm or inch on both legs of angle
  2. Starting at the top of one leg, number the markings one through however many there are; label the point where the legs meet as zero; number the markings on the second leg f rom zero to as many marks as there are.
  3. Use the ruler to connect the number one mark on one leg to the  number one mark on  the  other  leg;  once students get the hang of this, they may use colored pens and other angles of varying proportions.
  4. Thoroughly surform sharp corners and sand all surfaced.
  5. Apply the stain with the sponge square; allow to dry.
  6. Apply Polycoat with a brush; allow to dry thoroughly between coats; put on at least 2 coats.
  7. Use ruler and marker to indicate Parabolic legs; mark oft increments on front of plaque; attach pop can pull tab to back of plaque.
  8. Use hammer to insert small nails where indicated.
  9. Connect number one nail with number one nail on the other leg with the yarn or thread; continue in this manner until each nail has thread on it and the curve is complete.

Multi-Media Writing Workshop:  RESOURCE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Holiday Art Ala Carte, Pam Hott, Illus.  Bev Armstrong, The Learning Works, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA., 96111 112 pp, 1982.

Instant Math for Beginning Skills and Concepts–Hnads-On Manipulative Activites,       Sam Ed Brown, Incentive Publications Inc., Nashville, Tenn., 1991.

I Saw A Purple Cow and 101 Recipes for Learning, Ann Cole, Carolyn Haas, Faith Bushnell, Betty Weinberger, Little, Brown, and Company, Cananda Ltd.,1972.

Christmas Around the World Coloring Book,           PreSchool Press, (Trademore Inc., Publishers, Waldman Publishing Co. NY, NY, 1985.

Art Magic With Paper Bags, Plastic bags, and Flat Mache, Gretchen Sanderson, F. A. Owen Publishing, Cansville, NY., 1968.

Play With Paper, Thea Bank-Jensen        MacMillan Co., NY.,Collier-MacMillan, Cananda, 1962.

70 Activities for Classroom Learning Centers, Dr. Dorothy LLoyn, Instructor Publications, Inc.  Dansville, NY., 14437, 1974.

Copyright 1993 – 2010 by Kate Chamberlin, All Rights Reserved,  Publishing houses interested in producing this workshop in book format may contact the author at  KathrynGC@juno.com,  subject line:  Multi-media writing workshop.

  • Recent Posts

  • Tag Cloud

  • Archived Posts

  • Log in