Story Critique

So, for whatever reason this assignment baffled me.  I just couldn’t seem to understand exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  I know this happens to my students sometimes, I can see their eyes glaze over and they begin to furrow their brow.  This was 100% me.  I just kept clicking around through all the tabs I have open on my computer, back and forth searching for the bit of text that would clear up my misconceptions.  Alas, nothing really worked.  I tweeted to the group with a question and tagged Remi in it…. he suggested I ask my peers.  I was frustrated… I DID ask my peers.  No one answered my tweet.  So, determined to figure it out.  I searched through blog posts and tried to teach myself what I was supposed to get out of the assignment.  I still believe I am slightly confused, but I am going to ATTEMPT.

If you’re reading this right now shaking your head saying “Yikes, this is not at ALL what we are supposed to be doing,” PLEASE tweet me.  You can point and laugh if I am missing something obvious… but let me in on this secret right in front of my face.

I was listening to a podcast recently, it’s a fictional account of an alien message that needed to be decoded.  They described the idea behind the message as this:  There are things in life that will never mean anything to someone looking in from the outside, they must be PART of the experience to truly understand it.  For example, if someone broke into my house and upon rummaging through my things they saw a carton of orange juice sitting on my desk, they wouldn’t think much of it.  Maybe, he is a messy person- and they would move on.  However, there is a back story that this person who broke in could never gather from just breaking in and seeing the objects in the house.  His wife was sick and tired of him drinking orange juice from the carton and putting it back in the fridge when it was empty.  So one morning upon grabbing the OJ, she realized it was empty.  She was frustrated and instead of throwing it away for him, she set it on his desk.  Now, when he comes home that has a LOT of meaning to it, but to the robber- it means nothing.

This is basically how I felt with this assignment.  Some how EVERYONE else seemed to be “in the OJ group” and I was just breaking in looking for a clue, ANYTHING to tell me what to do.  Again, I’m not sure why I couldn’t pick up on it.  But, I couldn’t.


Ok, so once I had my freak out I decided to take a whack at it.

Story Critique

I found some digital story telling videos through Educational Uses of Digital Story Telling

I specifically, as seen in the link, focused on a story entitled “Adapting to a New Culture.”  I chose this because I recently finished a “special populations of the gifted course.”  The school I teach at is low income so we have some unique backgrounds that come together, but not many represented in the Gifted program.  A lot of times this is attributed to the difference in culture and the lack of adjustment strategies given to the students.

So I chose 3 things to evaluate for this specific digital story:




My personal take:

How well did the story work? This trait can address structure, engagement, character transformation or any of the other qualities of story discussed in Part II. In fact, an entire rubric can be devoted to evaluating the quality.

Did the story have elements that draw in an audience, or captivate attention?  Does the title represent what you hear in the story?

Originality, voice, creativity


My personal take:

How creative was the production? Did the student exhibit an original sense of voice and a fresh perspective?

Did the story show creativity?  (meaning more than just flashing images)  Is there originality in the accompanying images?

Media application


My personal Take:


Was the use of media appropriate, supportive of the story, balanced and well considered?


Did the media run simultaneously with the story?  Was the media chosen thoughtful?

Story:  The story is an original, and for that I find it quite interesting.  The introduction has the author posing all of these questions.  She talks about the “what ifs” that she is having when she is first adjusting.  She then backs up and talks about WHY she wanted to study abroad, I thought this was a smart move.  Many would just tell her to give up and go home if she was having such a hard time adapting.

However, there were multiple cons with the story itself.  The author drones on for a while about all of the challenges she has, then when she finally finds something she enjoys and begins to see a positive side of living abroad, her voice does not change, nor does the writing.  She continues monotone and with very basic accounts.  This could be attributed to English being her second language.

Originality, voice, creativity:  The story is original as it is a true story, and I think the way she approaches the story, by giving a back story is creative.  But that is the extent.  As mentioned above the entire video is done with a monotone voice.  This lack luster approach really ranked low in my rubric.

Media application:  The media here was also very week.  The creator simply good searched images of key words in the story.  Many of which you could see the “flikr image” or “google image result” tags at the bottom of the photo.  Since this was a true story it would have been better for the creator to upload real photos, or at the very least create a reenactment video.  She could have done elapsed drawings or simply filmed some friends acting out as she narrated.  I was very disappointed.

Final thoughts:  The story itself was interesting, but completely under-represented in the video itself.  I also think the videos should have closed captions.  For someone who is an ELL (English Language Learner) I am surprised she didn’t include those.  This way those who have trouble hearing, understanding through her accent or are sitting in Starbucks without headphones could enjoy the video as well (cough, cough).


4 thoughts on “Story Critique

  1. Clare Timblin says:

    Hi! Sorry, I didn’t answer your Tweet about what the story critique but I was unsure myself. I ended up going to our classmates’ blogs and looking at what they had done to figure it out. I think the confusion lay in that we didn’t really know what the stories were that we needed to critique. I think if it had said somewhere- “choose some sort of digital story about your topic anywhere you can find it- I would have understood. Anyway, your story critique looks great! Good Analysis. -Clare


    • Mariah says:

      Seriously it is no problem. I know everyone was just trying to make sense of it all. I was frustrated because I just wanted an answer, I know now that was the whole point.


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