DRAFT: What does it mean to be remarkable?

I love words. I love stating what they mean. I love learning about what they mean to me. In other words how can I connect that word or associated with a fact, a process, or a goal of mine. what does it actually mean? It means something that is worth remarking on. Simple, But, very powerful.

I am a sucker for a remarkable moment. In fact, that’s a photographer, my goal is to make people interact with my images. In other words make them ask questions based on what I am presenting. This created interactivity includes the viewer into my world. It helps me create an immediate team: Me, my art, and the viewer.

Think about the experiences in your life this week. What was worth remarking on? In schools, what was remarkable this past week? via empirical evidence, when I asked my cousins or nephews about their remarkable experiences with their schooling this week, their number one response was “nothing.” As a storyteller, I am intrigued by the challenge of what could’ve been done to create more remarkable moments.

Guiding question: what is a remarkable moment for me? Who is a remarkable teacher? What was a remarkable lesson? What was a remarkable experience/project? when I look at a meal, I ask myself how can I make it more remarkable? Did ingredients need it, do I need to adjust a technique, how do I make a more engaging presentation of my meal?

Remarkable moments create loyalty. Human beings like to feel good. They like to feel special. They like to feel included. And, in many cases– they love challenges. Remarkable moments create a syncing of communities. As Seth Godin explains in many of his blogs, these moments create tribes, Loyal tribes.

So, how can you create remarkable moments? how can you adjust to create remarkable moments? How can people around you create remarks based on an experience they had with you? People are fans of specific foods because of the remarkable experience they had with it. They are loyal to hotels and restaurants because of their remarkable experiences with them. They are fans of musicians, artists, athletes because of the remarkable moments they provided emotionally. These remarkable moments make people care.

These are stories that need to happen more often in our schools, workplace, and even families. take some time every week to evaluate, reflect, and rethink about your remarkable moments.

Share those stories. Create or join a loyal tribe! Make people care!

(PHOTO BELOW: A redefining and very remarkable moment: Steve Gleason of the New Orleans Saints blocks an Atlanta Falcons kick during the first game back after Hurricane Katrina shut down the city.  This remarkable moment symbolized a moment that the city didn’t  give up.  They won this important game against their rivals, too.  The city and the New Orleans Saints immortalize this moment by making the statue and calling it “Rebirth”. Although it is a Sports moment that lasted a few seconds, it was one VERY important and remarkable moment that redefined a new beginning of the city).




DRAFT: lessons learned about the value of a story.

Frederick J. Kelly of the University of Kansas designed a multiple-choice test in 1914 to help the military organize soldiers during WW1. After the first several tests of this process Dr. Kelly realized that this was not a good indicator up soldier talent, skill set, and contribution.

DRAFT. From idea to a finished movie.


Let me make this clear. It’s not the technology that should stop you from creating a movie. there are many stops to make a movie and the technology is a tool used on some of those steps. For example, here is a brief outline of what a project can look like from start to finish. Most directors don’t know all of the pieces, however, they know what they want. Their goals are clear-ish and they trust they have a team that will figure it out.

The key is workflow.

If I want to make lasagna, I know I need the following items: lasagna noodles, minced meat, tomato sauce, spices, and cheese. I call this the “noun” part of the plan.

The second part of the process is what to do with those ingredients:

Boil the lasagna noodles, cook the minced meat, heat up the tomato sauce, add the spices, and finally layer the cheese as needed. Finally, we bake the assembled dish. This part of the plan I call the “verbs”.

Lastly, we talk about the tools. We boil The noodles using a stove and a big pot. We use a smaller pot to heat the tomato sauce. Will use a wider pan and a spoon to help cook the minced meat. We use a baking pan to assemble the lasagna components. At last, we use the oven to bake the lasagna dish. This part is the tools part.

And the sections, there are parts that we know and parts that we don’t know. To figure it out, we ask what do we know and what do we need to know.

This is how I produce my version of lasagna a.k.a., movies. I think about what those nouns are going to be, then I figure out the verbs I need to help me deal with the nouns, I then look at my resources or tools to see what I need or what questions I need to be asking. for some of this, I have knowledge as well as solutions, however, for other means, I may need to go online and find out, talk to someone, or connect with someone who can do it for me.

As a filmmaker, we don’t think about the tool first. We think about the story. The lasagna. If we thought about the tools first, it would prevent us from focusing on the most important part of this process. So, advice: start with your needs, goals, nouns, and then find your verbs and your tools.

I remember early lesson in a film class at a true filmmaker, storyteller knows how to figure things out. to this day, I use this as my motivation. If I don’t know something, what do I know, what do I need to know, and where can I go for help. this is my initial process.

For me, this is called learning. And, I love it.

DRAFT. Leveraging your iPad and tablet to create a digital storytelling classroom.

Recently, I came across an blog post that a friend shared with me regarding using the iPad for digital storytelling

I still get asked a lot how can we use the iPad/tablet more in the classroom and I keep going back to digital storytelling as my obvious choice! It’s such a wonderful way for your students to personalize how they can report back their learnings and reflections. Instead of everyone JUST writing a paper, you now have options for students to showcase their assignmnets.

For example, some can make a song, others can make a newsletter, another group can write a blog post, other students can create a podcast, and maybe another group can create a documentary style report. The options are limitless now. As a group, you can create a rubric on what you want to see included in the project. What evidence do you want to see. You can still ask the students to display evidence of the learning goals you set out at the start.  Once the expectations and the possibilities are discussed, allow the students to search for a medium to collect, curate, cultivate, and create their projects.

See this list below for ideas that I copied from Sam Glicksman’s KQED blog post:

• Create a narrated slide-show story to demonstrate the understanding of new vocabulary.

• Use a video or screencast (a recording of interactions on a computer or iPad display) to explain a complex scientific concept.

• Create an audio or video interview of your grandparents for a family history project.

• Create a historical narrative of a pivotal event using images and audio.

• Create a first-person audio journal of a person who lived during a significant event in history.

• Explain a mathematical concept by creating a screencast tutorial.

• Use audio podcasting to practice reading and speaking in a foreign language.

• Demonstrate a portfolio of work with personal narrative describing each piece, its objectives, and development.

• Narrate a character story or a personal journal with a musical soundtrack.

Having options like these now, make the classroom experience so much more engaging for everyone. Finished projects don’t have to look the same anymore.  This way we can create a more personalized (or differentiated) experience.

Personally, as a social studies teacher, I have used digital storytelling as a way to connect my students with my learning goals. It provided me with many more options to create success in the classroom. I hope this list can inspire Instead of the students record your Theden consumed information, they produced information. This also helps grow their portfolios!  Its a WIN WIN WIN!!!

[DRAFT] How to make a HOW TO video look GREAT! 

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 8.32.11 AM

We’re going to shoot our video like a cooking show producer directs and produces their “how to” shows. So, if you’re thinking like a cooking show producer, You’re on the right track.  We’ll be ready in no time!!!

It’s a simple recipe.

  1. Plan the video. There will be two pieces needed to be shot. Stay tuned for the specifics.
  2. Write a quick script-ish of what you want to show.
  3. Shoot the main video (A Roll): It’s the explanation.  Also, use a tripod on the recording device or make sure it stays as still as possible! USE A TRIPOD!
  4. Shoot the close ups (based on the main video commentary).This is also known as B Roll. This is the second part that you will shoot, capture.
  5. Using an editing tool like iMovie, you’re going to assemble the two clips together.  A roll below, B roll on top.
  6. Fix audio levels (between -10 to -0), add a music track in the background (make sure its a much lower level than the speaking audio).
  7. Add text, if needed.
  8. Export, upload to the global stage.
  9. Get a producer chair with your name in it.

Let’s watch how the completed movie looks like?


Let’s watch how this process looks like?


Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 8.32.39 AM

iMovie: You see the Blue tracks  are the video and their   connected audio.  The bottom blue track, AKA the A roll, is the  video with the audio description of what I’m doing. The top one, AKA the B roll, are the close up (CU) shots of what  I’m saying to help provide necessary details. The Green track is the song.  The small   home plate-looking things above the video track are Markers that I added (using the M key) to help me see where I need to add the B roll.  They’re just guides.

This process should help move the description and instructions much faster.  It keeps the video interesting and it also provides the necessary details needed to TELL your stories.  Use this as a tool and guide to make your very own “cooking style” video.


[DRAFT] How to make a HOW TO video look GREAT! More A Roll B Roll Tips.           

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 8.32.31 AM

Here is another example about how B Roll can help A roll (or talking head) provide a bit more context.  Although the B roll isn’t detailing what Stephanie is saying— it is functioning as a tool to help add value to the story watching experience.  It helps provide context.  For many, it’s “less boring”.  Look how I use the markers on the A roll with ease clips.  The B roll clips, like with the previous example, are placed above the A Roll and their markers.

This is another video editor called Final Cut Pro.  You’ll see the similarity between the FREE version and the professional version.  Learning with the FREE version helps you transfer to the more professional siblings.  Think about A Roll like the description and the B Roll as the “for examples”.  It’s all grammar— visual grammar!

For this video, Stephanie is talking about the importance of thinking through smarter passwords, contextualizing the learning lessons about being smart online, and even shares a tip.  This is the A Roll base.

Here is the sample video.


DRAFT: license plus.

Friends, this is an interesting dot connection.

For the past year, I’ve been fascinated with the The concept of assessment and all other areas, outside of school. Now, because of mobile technology and social networking and a variety of monitoring devices that are accessible, people have a greater opportunity to get immediate feedback to make immediate adjustments.

This is very interesting considering this doesn’t happen as much as we’d like at school. Since we don’t ask the right questions, in many situations, the quest for the right answer derails us from an alternative point of view– the association.

I am impressed and happy to see the early stages of how technology is helping people with their quality of life choices. I think it’s how the essential question now is “how do I leverage connected mobile technology and my social network to help me make better decisions with my health”. From there, the challenge is clear(er) to developers to connect dots between these technology points and more importantly the learning goals.

Automatic is an app that I use for my car. It tracks how I drive and give me a score based on a very easy to understand rubric. Except they don’t call it a rubric. They also provide you with a visualization of the data in a way that makes sense to more people. More importantly, it makes recommendations on what to do to help improve your score. The question for me, with this app, is not am I doing it right, however, it’s “how can I improve, maintain you’re driving decisions.” So, these developers have taken the concept of conditioning and making healthy eating choices and have dot connected it to driving.

Now, they have added another interesting concept: license+. In their own way, it’s badging system that provides students with a victory, which is a badge for a license that showcases evidence that they are a good driver and they have been making smart decisions. It also provides feedback to make adjustments. Also, in a very non-threatening way, it has a series of beeps that shares with you concerns (reminders) and needs that need adjustments..

I just thought I’d share it with you. I think examples in the real world like this one make for good conversation starters. I know, for me, they help me start the discussions around the right essential question.

Just some thoughts. Here’s a link below:


Sent from Marco’s cool iPhone

Marco Antonio Torres
Director of Story