Digital Storytelling Activity

Digital storytelling is a great way to see what your students are thinking. As part of my dream fourth grade reading class, I will have my students do digital stories to create “hidden chapters” of one of the books we are reading. Students will be doing more than just reading the stories and forgetting about them. In essence, they will be using small details within the story to create their own short story. An excellent resource I found for teachers was The Book Report Alternative.

The story has to be based on one of the main characters. Students will use their knowledge of the character’s attributes that they learned while reading to create this “hidden chapter”. The chapter has to fall in line with the storyline of the book. It cannot be a random idea. For example, one of the hidden chapters could be how the main character became friends with another character or what happened while they traveled from one place to another.

They will be able to use music, graphics, still pictures, text, and videos to create their story. For video creation, they will be able to use either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. For other materials, they can use Photoshop.  In regards to recording devices, they can use any device they have available. They are more than welcome to use iPads, smart phones, etc. The stories will not be displayed online so they are free to use copyrighted materials as long as they are appropriate.


Web Resources for Students:

Digital Storytelling Examples


How to use iMovie for Beginners


How to use Windows Movie Maker


How to use Photoshop


8 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling Activity

  1. I love your idea for hidden chapters! This is something I would like to do with my students, probably next year. Using digital storytelling as a performance assessment to go along with a formal test after finishing a class novel can be a challenge. Digital storytelling is a perfect solution.

    I like how you included the different softwares that can be used to complete this activity. Do you already have macs with imovie? I would love to use this, however, in my classroom we work with windows program. I would use Prezi in my class because of this.

    Would you do mini lessons on how to use the software and programs before teaching what digital storytelling is? Also, would you create an example of a hidden chapter before allowing students to create their own?

    This was a nice post, with an interesting idea. I enjoyed reading 🙂
    -Lisa Costello

    • Lisa,

      This is my imaginary class since I actually don’t teach. I’m aware of the obstacles of having a specific type of device or software for this project. I didn’t want to restrict what the students could use. That’s why I would allow them to use any software. For you classroom, you could use Windows Movie Maker. I would probably do mini lessons so students can become familiar with the software. I would definitely provide an example of my own but also those websites that I listed so they can get ideas from other people. Great response!


  2. I love the idea for the hidden chapter. It is a great idea to see how the kids are retaining what they read. This is a creative idea to get the students interested in reading and creating their own work.
    The different software they are allowed to use is a great opportunity for them to learn about different programs with out them realizing it. I also like that you mention the different tools that they may have already that they can use, such as smartphones.

    • Kristin,

      I know it can be difficult for students to use an actual camera. I’ve seen some great footage taken from smartphones so I know it’s possible. Thanks for reading.


  3. Kia,

    SUPER COOL IDEA! As I’m sure you know, I teach Freshmen/Sophomore math, but even to this math-minded individual, having your students create a “hidden chapter” is fantastic! What a great way use technology to push those reading comprehension skills while also using Blooms Higher Order Thinking Skills. This definitely seems to take comprehension to a whole other level!

    As far as recording tools, the Smartphones we have access to are tremendous! Many can record in HD, which may be a little grand for what you plan to do, but a nice feature nonetheless. I’m not overly familiar with the names of mobile recording apps, but I do know some are available which apply different filters to the recording, often better than those available in iMovie of MovieMaker. This may prove useful to those students who’s story take them to a different place or time.

    When you create these, please be sure to share some of the final products. I expect them to be fantastic!


    • Thanks Mark! The technology that is in these smartphones now is crazy. There are plenty of things that people can use as recording apps, so I’m sure they’ll be able to find something. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to limit them on the software they use. It’s a way for use to learn new things as a class.


  4. Kia,

    This is a great idea, thanks for sharing! I always enjoy finding alternative ideas for book reports. It’s difficult to have students “excited” about writing book reports. However, this alternative format would be much more engaging and interactive. This really targets their critical thinking skills as well.


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