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"So that is how to create a single story. Show people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become." - Chimamanda Ngori Adichie

9-12 documentary project

In January, the 9-12 students watched a TED Talk from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngori Adichie called "The Danger of a Single Story," in which she discusses the idea that no one has only a single story to tell. She challenges her audience to explore beyond the incomplete stories that lead to stereotypes and generalizations.

Taking a lead from Adichie's message, 9-12 students embarked on their own journeys of self-discovery by creating short documentaries about themselves.

They began by taking a strengths assessment through Thrively.com, and STEAM Coach Paula Sharpe helped them identify their multiple intelligences based on psychologist Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

Lead 9-12 teacher Shelley Robyn challenged students to take what they'd learned about themselves through these assessments and identify things to share about themselves through their documentaries that not everyone knows.

"What is the story of you that we don't know here - who are you besides who we see at school?" Shelley asked the students.

They honed their writing skills as they tackled their initial scripts, with guidance from Shelley and fellow lead 9-12 teacher Allie Colflesh, as well as from WMS parent Cass Lewis Slattery, who came in one morning to share her writing expertise.

Once they had outlined their scripts, they worked with Instructional Technology Coach Rose Feehan to create storyboards, which map out their documentaries frame by frame and identify the different types of film shots they planned to use. They also worked with Paula to use iMovie to create and edit their film footage, which they captured using iPads.

Filming wraps up this week, and then students will focus on editing their film footage. Stay tuned for the finished documentaries later this spring.