LWES Technology: Digital Story Telling
Lesson Plan and Project Elements 
Teachers use this guide to help you lay out your lesson for developing digital storytelling. With any lesson changing the lesson plan to fit your classroom may be required. Modeling of each step is crucial to the success of the lesson.

Lesson Guide & E-mail Exchange Guidelines

Each lesson is numbered. the amount of time each lesson will take depends on your schedule and your students. Lessons can be split into multiple days but no lessons should be skipped or cut.
1. Understanding Story Telling: Engaging Students, Determining Prior Knowledge and Building ContextPlan to spend around 1 -1.5 hours working on this step, if this time is not available, consider splitting the first lesson into multiple days. 
  • Introduce storytelling via this website. Pick and choose what to show them consider showing a few of the videos.
  •  After viewing the videos and the website use this prompt. Consider using the computer to compile the responses or make copies and use as a lesson starter. (This is a Google Doc, each child would need a computer and the link prior to the lesson.)
2. What makes a good story?
  • As a class pair students together in groups or tables and have them discuss, "What makes a good story?" 
  • Chart a student-generated class definition for a “good” story. Consider making a web at first and then taking the top choices and listing them on a chart for easy viewing. Once the criteria for a “good” story is agreed on by the students, the students should also record it in their journals so that they can refer to it when creating their own digital stories. If this time isn't available, post the criteria for all students during the planning and working time. 
  • This lesson will also be your students first e-mail exchange. The students will have practice answering this question prior to the e-mail exchange by discussing in small groups and charting their responses. Their first e-mail exchange will be with the teacher to help them form the correct response and practice responding appropriately to an e-mail. After the teacher is satisfied with the response, the students can respond to their e-pal e-mail. 
  • The first e-mail should include these questions: 1. What did you learn from the videos you watched? 2. Is your life similar or different to the child in the video? 3. How? 4. What made these videos interesting to watch? 5. What else would you have liked to have seen? 6. What do you think makes a "good" story?
  • * Teachers note there are six questions to e-mail to their e-pal consider only asking 2-3 questions if time doesn't allow for all six. 
3. Developing a story topic
  • In their notebooks students will start to generate ideas to begin their story. Refer back to the chart on "good" stories. 
  • Here are some ideas that students can pick from (consider limiting their choices). 
  1. A day in the life story (consider modeling this for the students- a day in the life of a teacher)
  2. A story about a friend or family member who is important to you
  3. A story about honoring or remembering someone 
  4. A story about a special place (can be fictional)
  5. A story about an accomplishment you have earned
  • After they have decided on a topic of their choice they will share with a friend and then tell you for final approval. 
  • This will then be the second e-mail exchange: What type of story are you planning on telling? Tell your e-pal your topic and some of the ideas you have for your story. Do not go into too much detail but enough so they understand what you want to write about. 
  •  Explain to your e-pal why this was your final choice. Ask them for advice on the story, if they have any questions about your topic. 
4. Writing the story (this will take around 4-5 class sessions)
  • Students will begin to write their story based on the topic. Before they begin writing in their journals, they should use this graphic organizer to help them begin the writing process. Teachers should think about modeling this piece with a day in the life of a teacher. 
  •  Remind them their final product will be approximately under 3 minutes. Also, remind them about the criteria for a "good" story.
  • After the organizer is complete students will exchange papers with a classmate and using this check sheet score their graphic organizer. 
  • Respond to any e-mails you have received from your ePal. Give them feedback on their topic ideas. Give them a summary of your story. 
  • Tell your ePal how you felt when writing your story.  Was it easy or difficult for you?  Are you excited about how your digital story will turn out?  Do you think people will be interested in seeing it? Why?
5. Creating the Images (this will take around 3-4  class sessions)
  • The students will use this story board (or Comic Life) to help create the images they want for their project. 
  • Have the students close their eyes and imagine the story in their heads. This might prompt a unique image to appear. As they done thinking have them sketch their idea on their story board. 
  • Have a class discussion about images and how they enhance something. Read them any picture book but do not show them the pictures, ask them about what they saw? Did it match what the Illustrator drew? Is it ok that their image was different? How did they come up with the image?
  • E-pal E-mail: Discuss with your ePal how images can be important in a digital story.  
  • Tell your ePal some of the ideas you had about how to make your story better with images.
  •  Was it difficult or easy to figure out how to use a storyboard?  Do you think a storyboard is helpful when creating a digital story?  Why or why not?
6. Sharing and Reflecting (the creation of the project could take 4-5 class sessions- consider collaborating with the media or technology teacher)
  • Using Garage Band, Audacity, Freecorder (or something similar that has an audio and image capability). Students will create their podcast and inserting pictures they find. See the list of picture sources and podcast directions from teacher resources. 
  •  Final E-pal E-mail: Share your digital story with your ePal. 
  • Tell you ePal what you thought about their digital story.  What was your favorite part?  What did you learn?  How is your story the same as or different from their story?
  • Reflect on the project with your ePal.  What was the hardest part?  What did you enjoy about this project?  What have you learned by making a digital story and by watching other stories?

7. Evaluate the final digital story. 
  • Evaluate the final product as a class
  • Compile all the stories and have a viewing party 
  • As the class is listening to the stories, they will complete this rubric. Remind students they are listening for the story elements as well as making sure the images match their story.
  • Collect rubrics and you will also complete a rubric on each project. 

Essential Questions
Discuss prior to the lesson 

1. What is digital storytelling?
2. What are the elements of a good story?
3. Why do people tell stories?
4. How is my personal story the same or different from others?

Extra Support Questions 
How is digital storytelling the same as traditional storytelling?  How is it different? 
When/why would you use digital media to tell a story?
What is point-of-view?
What role do images and sounds play in storytelling?
What is editing?  Why is it important?

Materials and Preparation

  1. American Memories- Library of Congress 
  2. Flickr
  3. Pics4Learning
  4. Freefoto
  • Additional Resources for teachers: 
  1. Digital Storytelling 
  2. Technology article on digital storytelling 
  3. 7 Things you should know about digital storytelling
  4. Examples of story telling from students
  5. A video on teaching students about digital storytelling