Audrey Ruoff, MSDE Admin, Jennifer Ralston
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
Iowa K-12 E-Curriculum, L.11-12.1, L.11-12.2, MSDE, MSDE ELA, Maryland State Department of Education, SL.11-12.4, SL.11-12.5, SL.11-12.6, iowa-k-12-e-curriculum
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Text/HTML, Video

Education Standards (15)

Grade 11: Writers on Writing (Remix) Days 11 to 15

Grade 11: Writers on Writing (Remix) Days 11 to 15


Unit Overview:  

The Writers on Writing Unit engages students in reading, analyzing, and creating literacy narratives, or stories about learning to read and write. The unit begins by asking students to view and read literacy narratives, and to analyze author’s literacy narratives through annotation, discussion, and writing a formal analysis essay. As students go through the narratives, they are asked to analyze author technique and purpose, paying close attention to style, syntax, and organization in preparation for writing their own authentic literacy narratives and ultimately creating digital storytelling projects about those narratives. By the end of this unit, students will have composed analysis writing, creative nonfiction, and multimedia stories. They will have had the ability to select certain reading assignments, to work in groups and with partners to brainstorm, edit, and revise, and they will have had guided writing lessons on composing strong sentences.  

Days 11 to 15 Overview:  

These plans are for Days 11 to 15 of the Writers on Writing Unit. In this lesson, students expand their written literacy narratives into digital storytelling skills, drawing on all previous lessons and professional videos and narratives to compose their own multimedia videos for presentation.


Image source:  "Be creative" by Ramdlon on

Preparing for Digital Storytelling.

If you did not already do so at the beginning of the unit, show Garr Reynold's TED talk on good presentation skills. Consider showing an exemplar digital storytelling project from the Stony Brook University Library Site or from one of the linked sites of digital storytelling exemplars. Note that some of the sites, like UMBC, have local stories. Consider selecting an example your students will connect with, or allowing them to select an example to watch from a list if they have accessible devices and headphones. The student task will ask students to select their own choice of exemplar from the Stony Brook University Library Site. 

To prepare for your digital storytelling project, watch Garr Reynolds TEDxKyoto "Story, Imagery, & the Art of 21st Century Presentation"  and answer the questions below. 

1. What are some of the characteristics of effective presentations that Reynolds identifies? Why are these effective?

2. What are some characteristics of ineffective presentations that he identifies? How can you avoid these in your own presentation? 

3. How can digital storytellers use text, image, video, and audio all together to tell a compelling story?

4. Identify at least two elements of each of the following that you could use to tell the story you wrote in your literacy narratives:





Now, select one example of an exemplar digital stortelling project from the Stony Brook University Library Website and answer the questions below.

1. What makes this story compelling? What did the author do that you might do similarly in your own project? Explain.

2. What could be improved in this story? What do you see that you would like to do differently or better in your own project? Explain. 

Create a Digital Storytelling Video for your Literacy Narrative

Students create a video version of their literacy narratives using the following steps:

●      Select or create images, sounds, and video

●      Plan the presentation using written literacy narratives as a guide

●      Create a draft of the presentation including ideas for images, sounds, and videos

●      Revise draft

●      Document all sources for credits at the end of the video

●      Record initial video - this could be an activity in computer labs if available, or at home depending on student accessibility. Many students may have access to a smartphone that can record video and audio. If accessibility is a problem, consider assigning this project in pairs or groups and modifying so that students who don’t have access can work with those who do. If you make these adjustments, be sure to explain that all members should include their literacy narratives in the project, and adjust the length requirement as appropriate. 

●      Revise and edit video

●      Finalize and publish digital story

Using your literacy narrative as a guide, you will be creating a digital storytelling video. First, review the project assignment and the rubric. Remember that this video is also a text, so you should keep in mind the same steps of the writing process that you would use when writing an essay. This means you spend time planning, preparing, writing a script, gathering resources before drafting and filming. It also means that after you film, you should spend time revising and editing your movie - that might mean re-filming, finding different resources, and rearranging just like you would during the revision process in writing. Ultimately, you will share this literacy narrative with the class. 

Make sure to review the assignment and rubric carefully.