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Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

Author: Paula Dillon

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create

1.  Digital Stories that include original student narratives

2  Digital Stories that include original student art

3.  Digital Stories that include embedded voice 

Review of tools and steps to create digital stories with all grade levels.  

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Reflection on Digital StoryTelling

Recently I was asked to teach a six week enrichment block for students in grades 1-3 as a guest expert in my district. I was honored, and immediately knew that I wanted to take this fantastic opportunity to work on writing with technology embedded. The overall goal would be to have students collaboratively write their own creative stories and publish them for a real audience. 

I began the sessions by reading a digital e-book with the students that followed a problem-solution plot.  We reviewed Freytag's Pyramid (yes, they were in grades 1-3) and plotted that story on the graphic organizer. They were then provided with a story board to outline their own ideas for a story that followed a problem-solution plot scheme.  They were given the following options:  1.  You can write with a partner or independently  2.  When you publish, you can select a program to illustrate your story or you can draw your illustrations  3.  If you have time after your story is edited and published, you can create a digital book trailer for your story.  

The students were immediately engaged and began the process with a great deal of energy.  I wondered if the excitement would continue for the six weeks, and it did!  Several students opted to co-write, while about half of the students decided to write independently.  Every student did partner for edits and reviews along the way.  

In the end, the students chose to use either Storybird if they wanted to select illustrations or Flipsnacks if they wanted to illustrate their own stories.  The students published their stories and shared them with their classmates, the school, and their families.  Each story is now located on the school library website for other students to "check-out."  Pride in publishing, choice, and collaboration were tremendous motivators for the students.  One student did finish early, and created the beginning of a book trailer for her book on Animoto. The other students want to create their book trailers now, even though the six weeks are over and there are no requirements to continue with the learning or creation!  

This was one of the most exciting opportunities I have had since I left the classroom to enter administration.  I learned as much, if not more, than the students.  I am grateful to Carroll Garland for her hard work, dedication, and the opportunity.

Below I have included tutorials and resources for you to begin your work on digital storytelling.  If you review the articles below, you will find other resources that you could use with digital storytelling depending on the age of your students and access to technology.  In addition, I have included information on two other tools that I am exploring, Boomwriter and Writeaboutapp.  Boomwriter is great for collaborative story telling in grades 3 on up.  The downside is that there are no illustrations for. Writeaboutapp uses images to inspire student writing.  The downside is that it is only available as an app.

Consider taking student stories to the next letter by embedding sound and video.  Screen casting can also add another layer to the digital stories.

Source: Paula Dillon updated 12 July 2013

Related Articles and Resources

Digital Storytelling : Digital Storytelling Meets the Common Core via Kathy Schrock, Kathy Shrock's Guide to Everything ***this is an amazing resource!!!

5 Great New Digital Storytelling Apps for Kids by Med Kharbach via Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

7 Things You Should Know About Digital Story Telling by Educase

Digital Storyteller: Students use their own voices to create short movies

Digital Storytelling Portfolio by Dr. Helen Barrett

Digital Story Telling Tools by Digital Stories from an Elementary Classroom via Edublog

Source: List compiled by Paula Dillon

Storyboard Template from Scholastic



Story Map Graphic Organizer


Source: Thinkport Graphic Organizer

Storybird How To

Source: Paula Dillon using Storybird via Youtube

FlipSnack Cheat Sheet


Source: Paula Dillon 12 July 2013

Student Example of FlipSnack

Created by two second grade students at Sowams Elementary in Barrington, RI

Source: Paula Dillon

Student Example of StoryBird

Created by a third grade student at Sowams Elementary School in Barrington, RI


Source: Paula Dillon

Student Example of Animoto

First draft of Animoto book trailer created by third grade student for their original story, Ivery and Rocky

Source: Paula Dillon updated 12 July 2013

Student Example of StoryBird

Created by two first grade students at Sowams School in Barrington, RI


Source: Paula Dillon 12 July 2013

Write About This App

This is an app that uses images to inspire student writing. I am in the process of investigating further, but it looks promising!

Source: Brad Wilson Write About This App via Youtube

Overview of Write About This App


Source: Write About This App

Introducing Boomwriter

Description of BoomWriter