Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Integrating Digital Storytelling into the Curriculum

          For my gifted fifth grade Language Arts students, I would assign a digital storytelling project as part of a genre study. For example, if we’re studying mysteries, they would read at least one mystery, identify the required elements of a mystery, identify optional elements of a mystery, and then craft a digital mystery story using these elements. This same project could be done with any genre. This assignment would demonstrate mastery of the elements of that particular genre. This would require them to access all levels of Bloom’s for completion.

           At the beginning of this unit, I would familiarize students with web resources such as Powtoons, PowerPoint, Animoto, Voicethread, Crumbles, and Zeega. I would also have them watch tutorials such as: What is Digital Storytelling? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfNzsFFgQ4&spfreload=10) and Digital Storytelling Tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sgMEFJUpqI&spfreload=10). Ideally, I would try to find an expert in digital storytelling to speak to the class. This unit will require access to computers in school, so use of a computer lab will probably be necessary. I would also prefer that each student have a jump drive so their work can be saved and they can continue working at home.

           As this unit is for gifted learners, much of it will be self-directed with the teacher acting as facilitator. In the final product, I would be looking for a complete story (beginning, middle, and end) as well as a minimum number of elements usually found in the genre. These elements should be fairly easily identifiable in the final product.


  1. Hi Aly! I love the idea of doing a digital storytelling for a mystery! That would be really fun. Doing this project as a genre study in general would be a good learning experience for your gifted kiddos.

    I like how you mentioned the issue of requiring each student to have a computer because that is my biggest challenge when thinking about how to utilize digital storytelling with my class. Our school does not have an accessible computer lab, we just have laptops which may be more difficult for students to navigate. I really want to use digital storytelling, but the practicality of the laptops makes me nervous!

    1. Yes, computer access is one of the biggest challenges for a project like this. Unfortunately, not all schools have the same access to technology. Laptops would make me nervous, too. Ours are always having problems and I would worry that they might lose their work!
      This all comes back to one of the first topics we discussed in this class, which is getting current technology into the hands of our students!

  2. Aly,

    I really like how you give a specific genre for the digital storytelling. I chose mystery to, as I feel that students would love to write a story about themselves, especially around Halloween. I am sure your fifth grade students would enjoy that!

    Also, I was a huge fan of your suggestion about bringing in someone who has experience in this kind of storytelling. I think as an educator we can provide all the information, but I think information coming from an expert will make it that much better. Even if the information comes from a Skype Call, or an email.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    1. I agree that bringing in a expert is fun! It can add a whole new dimension to your teaching. And kids get tired of listening to the same person all the time! :-)

  3. Aly,

    I love the idea of having students create a mystery! I absolutely love mysteries and many students do too. Your assignment is also interchangeable to any genre, which is great. If the first assignment goes well, you can implement a similar assignment with poetry or fables. Explaining digital storytelling to students in detail, would definitely contribute to their success. On my blog, I have a link to a video that shows students "how to create a digital story". If you could have an expert on digital storytelling come to your classroom and talk to the students about what it is, I am sure your students would love it! What an informative session that would be.

    I enjoyed reading your post!

  4. Thanks! I think that using this unit plan would be fun! I'll have to check out that video on your blog.