Student stories shared through iMovie

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Holly Cunningham (left) and Cassie Lamb (right), two Grade 7 students at King George Elementary School, work on their digital stories at the digital storytelling workshop led by Evie Ruddy with SaskCulture in the afternoon of June 10, 2014.

King George Elementary School has digital storytelling workshop

King George Elementary School Grade 7 student Holly Cunningham had mixed feelings when she and her family left Ireland for Moose Jaw almost a year ago.

“It was really sad leaving because we were still at security and we could still see everyone crying, but it was really good because we knew that (Canada) was a much better place than home,” she said. “There’s money here and we just have to suck it up because we will be back, obviously. It was kind of happy and kind of sad at the same time.”

That was the focus of her digital story during the two-day digital storytelling workshop at King George Elementary School on Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon with Evie Ruddy, an animateur with SaskCulture.

“It’s just about the struggles and the pros and cons and the cool things I’ve been able to do because I’m here,” said Cunningham. “This is all new to me because we wouldn’t have had Macs or anything at home. So this is all a really good learning experience.”

Cassie Lamb, another Grade 7 student, said Cunningham is her best friend. Their friendship was the focus of her digital story.

“It kind of starts from the first day she came here and I introduced myself. It talks about the events leading up to our friendship,” she said. “I really like writing about it and just remembering the moments we shared and just putting that into my presentation that I can share with people.”

Lamb added she enjoyed learning about the digital aspects of storytelling, including importing photos and creating “something you can present.”

Ruddy said all stories are personal stories in first person. Ten Grade 6 and 7 students wrote scripts between 200 and 300 words in length.

Following that, the students read their script into a recorder and collected photos. The photos and their voice file were imported into iMovie for a digital story.

“(iMovie) incorporates writing, but also the technical skills and visuals,” said Ruddy. “So it’s a really creative way to tell a story and it’s simple.”

She is one of three animateurs travelling around the province leading up to Culture Days, held from Sept. 26 to 28, to help communities prepare for it through workshops and sharing knowledge about culture.

“I’ll come into a community, I’ll lead the workshop and leave them — the students or the kids, whoever takes the workshop — with these storytelling skills,” said Ruddy. “At the end, I work with a teacher or community leader to encourage them to host a screening of all the stories during Culture Days.”

She has been to communities such as Lumsden, Pense and Melville since she started travelling in May. Most of the stories so far have focused on subjects such as parents, pets, grandmothers, best friends and family vacations.

“It’s a really good opportunity to reflect personally on your life,” said Ruddy. “There’s a girl (in Moose Jaw) who did a story on her parents who got divorced. Some of the topics are pretty serious ... It’s a way for them to process serious issues.”

Ruddy is a freelance journalist and instructor in women’s and gender studies at the University of Regina.

“It’s kind of cliché, but I’ve always loved the power of storytelling,” said Ruddy. “They create these really nice, touching stories and they’re very authentic because they’re just speaking in their natural voice and so they can be really powerful.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: King George Elementary School, University of Regina

Geographic location: Canada, Moose Jaw

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