Digital Storytelling Lesson



 Tools and Examples

  1. Storyboarding Documents
  2. Storyboarding Websites
  3. Concept Mapping
  1. Digital Storytelling Software
  2. Digital Storytelling Websites
  1. Word Processing
    • Microsoft Word
  2. Collaborative Word Processing
  3. Scripting Websites
  1. Word Processing
    • Microsoft Word
  2. Collaborative Word Processing
    • Google Docs
  3. Scripting Websites
  1. Digital Storytelling Software
  2. Digital Storytelling Websites
Writing with Digital Storytelling
Lesson Plan

Grade Focus: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Subject: Language Arts and Cross-Curricular
Recommended Time to Completion: Two to three class periods


Students will work in teams of four to write a collaborative story.  Each student will choose a photo or visual image for their story prompt and begin to write/compose their own story based upon this photo.  Then, students will switch computers to add to a teammate’s story.  Students will continue to rotate computers until the story is completed, contributing to every teammate’s story at once.  Students will finish their own stories and add additional digital images once the story is completed. The students will use Microsoft PhotoStory 3 to create their digital story.


Students should have a general understanding of how to use a computer.  They will also need to have good keyboarding skills and knowledge of how to use a digital storytelling program.  An array of digital images will be added to the final story.


This activity works best when each student has his/her own computer.  Using laptops offers flexibility.  More information about Digital Storytelling can be found here:

Students will collaboratively develop and write a story using the free Microsoft Photostory 3 software.  They will add and edit images, insert text, narration, music and transitions.
Using a rubric, the stories will be evaluated on their storyline development and use of software for editing and adding images. 
Teams of four will work together to develop the story.  You may choose to “time” each writing session and run the session like “musical chairs.”  Each person will add to the story in a limited time.

To complete your project you will need a computer that has an Internet connection, digital imaging software, and digital storytelling software. 


Before you begin your research you might want to review the Center for Digital Storytelling


Choose a photo for your story starter. 


Photos and pictures can also be found at:




Setting Thumbs


Picture Prompts


Once you’ve found a photo that you like, brainstorm answers to this list of questions:

  • What’s happening right now in this image?  What happened 10 minutes before the picture what taken?  What might happen next?
  • What do you know about the people in the picture?  If there aren’t people there, where might they be?
  • Create a list of adjectives to describe what you’d see, feel, smell, touch, or taste if you were IN the picture.

These resources may help you as you write:








1.   Begin by forming a team of no more than four people.


2.  Practice storytelling with your team.  Choose one of the “story starters” below.  Ask one person to begin telling a story to the group.  This person will continue telling the story until the teacher calls time.  Have each group use a storyboard to map out their ideas and script.


3.  Then, the story passes to the next person in the group.  This person continues the story until the teacher calls time.


4.  The story continues to pass until everyone has had a chance to add to the story. 


5.  The first person finishes the story.


6.  Discuss these questions as a team:


  • How did storyline grow as each person added to the story?
  • Why was it important to be good listeners during this activity?
  • How did the final story reflect each person’s interest?  Personalities?
  • What were the benefits of telling a story collaboratively?

7. Look for photos.  You and your team will choose ONE photo as the basis of the stories that you will be writing.  Each person will begin their own story using the same photo for inspiration.


8. Your teacher will determine the length of each “writing round.”  You will have at least five minutes to write before the round closes.  You will start your own story and write at least a sentence or two. Be sure to save the story. Be careful with your file management. Save the files on a computer’s desktop and in the same place at the end of each writing session. 


9. Move to one of your team mate’s computers.  Carefully read what your team mate has already written.  When the teacher officially starts this “writing round,” begin adding to your team mate’s story.  You must pick up the story where your team mate left off.  Continue writing until the round is over.  Save the work again, adding your initials to the end slide.


10. Continue moving to new stories until you return to your own story.  Carefully read to follow the growth of your story.  Write your story’s ending.


11. Pair with another classmate to “peer edit” each other’s work. 


12. Revise your writing based upon comments from your peer edit.  Add images throughout the story to help tell your tale.


13. Add an acknowledgement page that will include your name, the names of your collaborative team, the year, your school, and city.


14. Read your story to the class.  You and your classmates may also choose to record your stories as audio and video podcasts to share with other students.












Up and Coming



Central Idea

One central idea for each piece.  All writing is consistently focused on the topic.

Clear idea but occasional loss of focus.

Unclear central idea.  Unfocused writing.  May have more than one

central idea or may ramble.



Each piece of writing supports its central idea with many details.

Details are included but do not support the central idea.

Lacks details and support.


Tone and Word Choice

Tone and word choice match the audience.

Tone and/or word choice sometimes match the targeted audience.

Inappropriate tone and word choice for designated audience.


Writing Quality

(spelling, punctuation, sentence structure)


Writing is mostly free of spelling, grammatical, and mechanical errors.

Writing has several spelling, grammatical, and mechanical errors.

Needs editing because of numerous spelling, grammatical and mechanical errors.


Applied understanding of digital storytelling software

Applied understanding clearly evident

Applied understanding somewhat evident

Applied understanding is not evident


Overall  Final Product

Image(s) demonstrate technical skills and creativity with purpose

Image(s) demonstrate some technical skills and creativity

Image(s) demonstrate limited technical skills and creativity