Texas Schoolmarm

Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling Lesson Plan

Grade Band
7-12 (younger with adaptations)

Estimated Lesson Time
Approximately two weeks

Students will have read N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain which tells the story of two journeys: Momaday’s personal journey to connect with his Kiowa heritage and the journey of the Kiowa people. After discussing the book and the role of the storyteller in society, students will be challenged to become their family’s storyteller. They will have written down three personal family stories in three voices as Momaday does in his book, formatting them to resemble the layout of Rainy Mountain. From those stories, students select one to create a digital story.

Students will write scripts for the voice-overs, bring in photos and documents to scan, and find appropriate background music to enhance their stories. Once all elements have been saved to a folder, students use Windows Movie Maker to create their stories.

From Theory to Practice
Kajder, S. B. (2004). Enter here: Personal narrative and digital storytelling. English Journal, 93:3, 64-68.

  • Sharing personal stories allows students to participate within a literacy community and “to take huge strides in defining themselves as readers and writers.”
  • When students write their own stories, they demonstrate what they know about texts beyond just reading words.
  • Digital storytelling provides a natural way for students to learn how to communicate visually as well as verbally while gaining experience using technology as a powerful communication tool.

Student Objectives
xxxxStudents will

  • plan and create original digital stories using family stories.
  • write original scripts for voice-overs.
  • select appropriate images and music to help tell their stories.
  • demonstrate their ability to communicate ideas visually as they use Windows Movie Maker to create their project and render it as a movie.
  • present their digital stories to the class.


  • computers with Internet access to view BBC website and search for music and images
  • multi-media projector for viewing Robert James’ story as a class, as well as for demonstrating Movie Maker
  • assignment handout and rubric
  • story board handout
  • scanners to convert photographs and documents into digital files
  • computers: PCs with Windows Movie Maker or Macs with iMovie
  • microphones for recording voice-over in Movie Maker

Instruction and Activities

    • Have students visit the BBC Capture Wales website at <http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/capturewales/> and view several digital stories.
    • As a class, view Steelworks at <http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/capturewales/background/robert-james.shtml>. Identify and discuss the theme of Robert James’ anger.
    • Explain the process of creating a digital story to students.
    • Give students the storyboard handout and plot out James’ story.
    • Have students reorganize one of their family stories into a two-page script that will become the voiceover in their digital stories.
    • Have students plan out their digital stories using the storyboard.
    • Have students bring in photographs and documents to scan and/or locate images on the Internet to include in their stories.
    • Make sure each student creates a project folder and saves all files to this folder.
    • Have students find appropriate background music and convert it to a digital file, if necessary.
    • Demonstrate how to use Movie Maker with a multi-media projector.
    • Have students place images into the timeline, place music, and record their voiceovers.
    • Have students render their project as a movie
    • Have students share their stories with the class using the multi-media projector. Have students complete feedback forms for each story.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Assess student products using the storytelling rubric.
  • Have students complete the rubric as a self-assessment before turning their rubrics in.
  • Have students complete a feedback form for each digital story after viewing.
  • Have students write personal reflections on the process, the feedback they receive, and implications for future assignments.


Workshop Wiki

Storyboard handout (PDF)

Digital Story Rubric (PDF)

Movie Maker Instructions (PDF)

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Bette's Story


Web Links:

BBC Capture Wales

Center for Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

(Digital Underground Storytelling for Youth)

Telling Their Story: Oral History Archives Project

Denali Discovery Guide

Links on Storytelling

Circle of Stories (PBS)