Next week I will be leading a Young Writers Institute for middle school students under the auspices of The Hudson Valley Writing Project. My co-teacher, Eric, and I have a goal of taking the students from being writers on paper to being digital writers during our five days together.
For our first day, I want to have students do some writing using sound and visual prompts. It is common for students to write using the written word as an inspiration, but less common, to use sound and visuals. For one prompt we will write after just listening, a second after just watching, and the third will have both audio and visual. Digital writing has many features to distinguish it from paper writing, but one feature is the addition of sound and visuals. I passionately believe that anyone who teaches writing needs to consider how they will deliberately include these two aspects when teaching 21st century writing.
I gamely, though perhaps naively, plunged into YouTube for and searched for "quiet," and "no audio." Somehow this search generated a lot of video of the moon! I also searched for "writing prompts."
Feeling as though I could spend all day screening, I decided to search Google to see what was posted under "video writing prompts." I found two enthusiastic posters. Karen Janowski wrote a nice entry in 2008 and had a few videos embedded. A second was a long list on a wiki, also from 2008, called One to One Thousand. While many of those links are not available anymore, it was still interesting to see what a couple of other teachers thought would make nice prompts.
My current soundless video choice (if my co-teacher likes the idea) didn't come from either list. But--without having a chance to look at their ideas, I don't think I would have thought to search YouTube for my current favorite. I hope this will be an inspiring few minutes for our young writers:
Next up--inspiring audio.