Good Trouble: From the Classroom to the Community
(Project length will vary; plus 250 word artist’s statement)
In “Love and Black Lives,” Annie Correal finds a photo album on the street, and a sense of human connection and intellectual curiosity lead her to tell the story of a Brooklyn block, the lives of several families, and United States history. Her initial, private thought process results in a New York Times article that chronicles her journey to find out more about the neighbors who came before her in Crown Heights. As we will discuss in class, a photo essay turned out to be the appropriate genre for telling her story.
Unit 2 asked you to research a topic about which you are passionate, organize sources in different genres, and record your own ideas alongside those of secondary sources. In your project conclusion, you reflected on the important things you learned, and what people should know about this topic. The next step is to bring your thoughts out of the classroom and into the community.
Unit 3 asks you to consider the best genre to communicate the information you learned in Unit 2. In this unit, you will write about the subject you researched in Unit 2 in the genre of your choice, preferably one of the genres you have already researched. Whatever you choose, it should be the genre that best reaches the audience you think needs to hear about your topic.
How will you entreat people to engage with your work? Will they listen read a photo essay, listen to a political speech, watch a video essay, read a magazine article or newspaper editorial? The genre choice is yours, as long as it is appropriate to communicating your message effectively and considers how to best reach your target audience.
Once you’ve written your new genre text, you’ll also write an Artist’s Statement to go along with it, something that tells us what you intended to do, who your intended audience was, what you went through to get it done, how well you think it turned out, and where you think it might be published/shared with that audience.
Unit 3 Components
- Write about the research you did in Unit 2
- Address the audience relevant to your project
- Write in the genre that you think will best reach that audience
- Write a one-page Artist’s Statement that explains your process
ARTIST STATEMENT GUIDELINES
Explaining the rationale behind our actions and decisions is an important kind of reflective writing because it makes visible what is otherwise invisible. You can choose to write an e-mail in Comic Sans font, but unless you explain why, the choice may seem mysterious and odd to readers. Composers of all sorts often write an Artist’s Statement for their audience that explains their inspirations, intentions, and choices in their creative and critical processes. It helps the reader understand the process that led to the final product by providing insight into what the author set out to do, how they did it, and what they might do to further improve the piece. A successful Artist’s Statement reflects your understanding of your chosen genre (elements, style, design, and use of sources that characterize it) – and your specific rhetorical situation (your reasons for composing, your audience, how you use rhetorical appeals, and your choice of mode and medium). Essentially, you’re bringing your audience backstage at a performance.
Your Artist’s Statement should address the following:
- Provide context. It’s useful to give background on your composition, such as how you became interested in the topic, what were your inspirations, or, if you’ve created a series of related works, how the pieces all fit together.
- Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices: In other words: answer the question “why?” Why did you decide to write in the genre you did? Why did you choose the audience you did? Why did you decide to talk about this particular aspect of your research? What is the purpose of your piece?
- Explain your choice of genre and how you worked within its conventions. Maybe you created a photo essay. An accompanying statement—in which you explain why you found the photo essay to be the best way to communicate your ideas —would go a long way toward helping your viewers get the most out of your work
- Reflect on how it went. Use this as an opportunity to look back at your composition and evaluate the extent of your achievement as well as note what you would have done differently or better.
*Note: This should be a fluid, cohesive document that reflects on and justifies the rhetorical choices in your New Genre Project. Do not just merely answer each question in list form.
- Genre: Whatever you choose must actually fit in that genre. A video that’s just a single picture for two minutes isn’t a video because it doesn’t move; it doesn’t engage us the way a video/film should. When you write your proposal, you’ll have a chance to set up what the rules and conventions are for that genre.
- Appropriateness for audience: If you’re doing something for 4th grade students, it shouldn’t be full of graduate school words. Appropriate means word choice, approach to topic/issue, use of visuals if you use them – does the way you “wrote” your genre piece fit what would work best for this audience?
- Effectiveness of message: We’ll share these in class so you’ll get a chance to see if you got your point across. Did it fulfill your purpose?
- Length/Timeliness: The genre piece can be whatever length it needs to be based on the conventions of the genre.
- Reflection: Did you thoughtfully reflect on your process, even if things didn’t turn out quite how you wanted?
- Clarity: sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation
Helpful resources for composing in various genres:
The NYT has an entire list of “Mentor Texts” that help you write articles like a sports article and a personal health column. It’s quite useful. It can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-mentor-texts
The New York Times on creating a Podcast:
More resources for creating texts:
Free music: https://www.purple-planet.com/
Free sound effects: http://soundbible.com/free-sound-effects-1.html
Copyright safe images (photos, clip art, etc): https://search.creativecommons.org/
Stock videos (and photos): https://www.pexels.com
Illustrations you can manipulate: https://undraw.co/illustrations
https://www.canva.com/ is a mostly free (especially if you upload your own images) design program that does everything from posters and banners to storyboards and comic strips. A real go-to tool for a lot of people.
Posters, infographics, etc.:
- https://www.canva.com/ The images with crowns on them are extra, but Canva is free if you use your own images.
- https://piktochart.com/ The free version has a 40MB image upload limit.
Online comic maker: https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/
Audio creator/editor: https://www.audacityteam.org/ [easy to use with a full range of tools, lots of videos about how to use it]
- Here’s a review about free audio editing software https://www.techradar.com/news/the-best- free-audio-editor
- https://screencast-o-matic.com/ Screencast-o-matic is free if you want to do screen capture videos from your laptop (note: 15 minute max time).
- YouTube Studio will give you lots of tutorials about how to create videos