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Assignment 1: Creating a PhotoStory

Each ILAS student will create a PhotoStory on one of the following topics. Each PhotoStory will be between one-and-a-half and two-minutes in length and will include images, background music, and narration by the student. Each PhotoStory will require between 18 and 24 images. The narrative must be original work by the student, though it may include clearly identified quotations.


  • January 24:
    • Project topics sent out by email
    • Send Sara ( an email selecting your topic from the list below (first come, first chosen)
  • Between January 22 and January 28:
  • January 29 (during class):
    • Select your images for the project
    • Review ten essential points you have written with Steve and Sara.
  • Between January 29 and February 5:
    • Write and polish your script
  • February 5 (during class):
    • Record script
    • Put images in final order
    • Create your Photostory
    • Present your project to the class

Useful sources for your information and images:

Information and images:

Digital Storytelling:

What to do:

1. Research your topic: Identify the most significant issues that your presentation will need to cover and write down the websites you consulted.

2. Locate and save high-quality images. These might be photographs, art works, or images of newspaper articles or headlines.

3. Identify a song that you will use for background music at:

4. Write a script. First, identify ten essential points about the topic. We will review these during class on January 29. Then, write up these points as clearly and succinctly as you can and arrange them in a logical fashion. This will be the basis for the narration that you will include in your PhotoStory.

Topics: (only one student per topic)

1. Lynching (author: Greg Dial)

Between 1882 and 1968, mobs murdered 4,743 people in lynchings, 3,446 of whom were African Americans.

2. Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech (author: Alicia Gantt)

Thirty-one years after General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops burned Atlanta to the ground during the Civil War, Atlanta held an exposition at which a new African American leader, Booker T. Washington, a former slave, rose to national prominence.

3. Spindletop (author: Elaine Wright)

On January 10, 1901, at a salt dome south of Beaumont, drillers struck oil, marking the beginning of the great Texas oil boom.

4. The Statue of Liberty (author: Kristin Howard)

Dedicated in 1886, the Statue of Liberty, which stands 22 stories high in New York harbor, symbolizes freedom and hope to immigrants and refugees around the world. On a tablet on the statue’s pedestal is a poem by Emma Lazarus which contains the famous words, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

5. The Early History of the Skyscraper (author: James Stark)

In 1889, the tallest building in the United States was New York's Trinity Church, near Wall Street. It stands 284 feet tall. In contrast, the Empire State Building, which opened in 1931, stood 1,250 feet high.

6. Irving Berlin (author Veronica LeBlanc)

Trace the life and career of 20th century America’s most popular songwriter.

7. George M. Cohan (author Kelly Stavinoha)

Trace the life, career, and music of early 20th century America’s pioneering songwriter.

8. Early African American Theater (author Derek Young)

Sources are available at:

9. Susan B. Anthony (author: Kelly Daiell)

A crucial pioneer in the struggle for women’s suffrage.

10. Songs of World War I

Before 1917, there were songs favoring and opposing American intervention. After the United States entered the war, there were rousing patriotic rallying cries, but also many other kinds of songs, from bitter attacks on Germany to poignant meditations on family separation.

11. L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, and Populism (author: James Lee)

In what ways does the book and the movie of The Wizard of Oz illustrate key issues raised by the Populist revolt?

12. The Spanish-American War (author Jacques Turner)

The U.S. Ambassador to England called it “a splendid little war.” The Spanish-American War marked the United States’s rise to a position of world power. Why did the United States declare war on Spain?

13. 1913 Armory Show

In February 1913, at a turreted armory on Manhattan’s East Side, Americans were introduced to modern art.

14. The Early History of the Industrial Workers of the World (author: Michael Ray)

The Industrial Workers of the World, formed in 1905, clamored for "one big union" to oust "the ruling class" and abolish the wage system.

15. The 1912 Presidential Election (author Dorothy Lackey)

The election of 1912 was one of the most dramatic in American history, featuring four major candidates: Eugene Debs, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson.

16. The 1900 Galveston Hurricane (author: Elizabeth Sanderson)

The deadliest natural disaster in American history.

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