For my Language Arts class I was assigned the task of creating a digital representation for the junior literature novel we had read and created a unit plan for. The digital representation pertained to the theme that most resonated with each individual.
The theme that resonated with me the most throughout the novel, Crenshaw, was identity. Identity is a terribly hard concept to define, as it is the fact of being who or what a person is. A main reason this concept is especially challenging is because individuals can be defined in so many different ways. Identity, although not an obvious theme in the novel, stuck out to me. Jackson, the main character, struggles to find his identity in different areas in his life. Particularly, his place in the family, his position as a friend, and his role both with and without his imaginary friend, Crenshaw. Through this assignment, I attempted to tackle this multifaceted word and channel exactly what is means to me through the use of (many) images, music, and words. My process included a total of 879 photos, 3 songs, and countless hours of editing. The tools I recruited to complete this story included a MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone, a sketchbook, and markers. The program I used to put it all together was WeVideo, which enabled me to easily edit timing of photos, trim audio, and add transitions.
The three songs I chose spoke to me in varying ways. My first song choice was inspired by my tradition of selecting a “word of the year” every January. This year I settled on the word “express,” because of my typically quiet and reserved self. I often refer to my thoughts like weeds that grow out of control and spiral downwards. Once I am in this thought spiral I find it extremely challenging getting out of it. I have great hope that over this new year I can continue to thrive and escape the insecurities that grip my mind through expression as I have an amazing support system who desire to step into these spirals and help pull me out. “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles communicates the importance of speaking out and feeling confident in voicing thoughts and opinions. The second song, “Free To Be Me” by Francesca Battistelli relates to my identity in Christ. For the longest time, I felt as though I was trying to fill a void inside with destructive behaviours and it was not until God came into my life that this void was filled. Just as Battistelli states, on God’s shoulders now I can see that I am free to be me. Finally, the third song, “Female” by Keith Urban, depicts my identity as a member of that gender in society. Although not all the words in the chorus correspond to my identity, together they build a complex portrait of a strong woman.
I made the decision to construct my video in a stop-motion animation style because of the imperfect and fast-paced style of the technique. Even this style of filming allows for a metaphorical version of my identity to come out. I am someone who likes to keep going and growing in all aspects of my life. It is also reminiscent of my high school self because I would often make them as a hobby. I am partial to the way that stop-motion animation makes the static come to life. Overall, this assignment was particularly enjoyable to me and allowed me to both reflect on and confront who I am.
It's time friends. I've wanted to do a media make on SketchNoting since the class started, but kept putting it off. Why you ask? We've talked about the fears that come with posting media content for the public to feast on. Mine include:
Where to Start?
This lead me to discover Laura Wheeler, and her extremely helpful blog post about SketchNoting and how to begin the wonderful and creative journey, found here. I knew I wanted to SketchNote this particular article because it was divided beautifully into subcategories and provided a lot of room for creativity. The materials I acquired for this process included:
Before I reflect on my process, I want to make sure I mention my professor, Helen Dewaard, in both my interest and desire to try SketchNoting. During our fourth week together, she posted a SketchNote she had made on our class blog entitled, Tips to Integrate Media Literacy into the Classroom, which peaked my interest. When asked, she provided me with valuable information about SketchNoting and even brought in her sketchbooks for me to look at. Flipping through her creations ignited my excitement to try my own hand at the art.
Outside of my comfort zone is where I find my most cherished moments, friendships, experiences, and accomplishments. Outside of my comfort zone is uncomfortably rewarding.
The second thing this process taught me is to work with what you have. I created this sketch at the library, and I knew I wanted to create a timelapse of it, so I had to get horribly, and awkwardly creative. After fumbling around (for what felt like forever), I innovated a stand for my iPhone to lay so I was able to record the process. This was obviously not my ideal filming scenario, but it forced me to think outside the box in order to make my vision work.
This leads me to my final reflective piece, to let go of the desire to be perfect and just go for it. Before the pen hit the page, there were many questions swirling around my mind, "Where do I start?," "What should I put where?," "What colours should I use for each section?," only to name a few. For someone who likes things organized and orderly, this task seemed daunting. However, once I started, things simply fell into place, and the final creation surprised me. Just like life, SketchNoting is a journey, and you always seem to reach your destination, no matter how much planning, contemplating, and dwelling you do.