Secondary English Language Arts
Material Type:
High School
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Lesson Plan
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Personal Digital Storytelling

    Personal Digital Storytelling


    The focus of this project will be a personal narrative of an event or situation that caused a major change in the students' lives for the better. Instead of a traditional written story, students are required to complete a digital story using school tools available to them through the school license or on their personal devices. The face-to-face lesson instruction will take 45 minutes. The remainder of the 90-minute block will be given to students to work on their projects. An additional class period should be added to finish, revise, edit, and share their projects within small groups. This plan is for high school grade levels. 

    Tie to the Utah State Core

    We will be specifically applying Utah English Core Standard Writing 3.c: Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution). 


    Sticky notes, Chromebooks, Canvas, Google Drive, storyboard template, and Adobe Spark. A digital camera of any device is optional to create and add personalized content. 

    Background for Teachers

    In this section, explain what teachers need to know before teaching this lesson. This is a great place to include articles, files, and web links that will help teachers research the topic covered in the lesson. Here are some sentence starters that might help you compose this section of your lesson:

    • To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of Adobe Spark
    • You will need knowledge of basic plot structure and digital storytelling before teaching this lesson.
    • The following resources can help you teach this topic.

    6 Elements of Good Digital Storytelling

    Students Prior Knowledge

    Before starting these lessons, students should be very familiar with basic plot structure and the elements of personal narrative. 

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    Students will identify, create, and share a meaningful moment in their lives using a digital storytelling medium.

    Instruction Procedures

    1. Make sure one sticky note is on every desk before class begins. Warn them not touch or write on it yet. 
    2. Discuss the topic of discuss the concept of storytelling. Ask for examples of storytellers in different cultures and times. 
    3. As a class, watch the provided example, Progression - A Digital Story.
    4. Once the clip is over identify the elements of plot within the story, making sure to diagram each element of plot.
    5. Once the story's plot is clear, analyze how digital storytelling seems different from tradtional verbal storytelling. Are there ways in which the are the same?
    6. Introduce the project to students. Explain that they, like Nick will think of a moment in their life where something change for the better. This could be something as simple as changing their mindset or an intense situation which changed everything in their life forever. Have students come up with three such events and write them on the provided sticky note. Have students then share these ideas with a neighbor and circle the one they feel most confident in working with.
    7. Verify that each student has an idea. Then have students acces the Digital Storyboard on their devices. You can also have hardcopies of the Storyboard for those who prefer to draw out their ideas. Demonstrate how to break down their Storyboard. Each story will need at least 6 slides or scenes, though more maybe added to get the complete story. Allow students time to develop their Storyboard.
    8. Because students complete independent work at different rates, it is best to introduce the next step during the same class period, though it maybe reviewed the during the next work day.
    9. Using Adobe Spark or another digital film tool, create your storyboarded digital story. This must be a personal narrative (not fictional account) of something that changed their life for the better. Students will have the remainder of this class and the next to work on the project, edit, revise, and share it with a partner for feedback before submitting online. Students may submit by posting the link or uploading to YouTube using their prefered software. 


    Assessments Plan or Rubric

    Students will present their digital stories in groups of 4-6, as well as posting on the classroom Canvas site. Group discussions on the stories may be done informally or on a Canvas Group Discussion as time and productivity permits. The final project will be graded as follows:






    I clearly addressed the topic and made connections beyond it.

    I addressed the topic, BUT it is NOT clear throughout the story.

    I did NOT address the assigned topic.


    The main character/s is/are described well. The audience should have a good understanding of the characters and could easily describe them.

    The main character/s is/are described. The audience would mostly be able to describe.

    There is/are character/s but there is little information/development of them.


    The narration maintains itself in the correct person and tense, unless there is an apparent reason not to. 

    There are very few narration errors concerning person and tense. 

    Person and tense of narration is not consistent.


    There is conflict, action and events, a climax, and resolution and they transition well together. The plot makes sense and is interesting.

    There is conflict, action and events, a climax, and resolution, but it seems forced or confusing at times. 

    The plot is missing an essential part or doesn’t make much sense.

    Creativity/ Aesthetics

    There are good details and descriptions in the story that makes for a unique viewing experience. There is interesting symbolism. The author has definitely used his/her imagination to produce a creative story. 

    There are few details and descriptions throughout the story, but the author has used his/her imagination to produce a creative story. There is symbolism in the story.

    There are few details and descriptions throughout the story. There is no symbolism, and the story doesn’t feel very unique or creative. 

    Sound Quality

    All auditory items are understandable and have a purpose. Speech is clear and understandable. 

    There are very few issues with the auditory feedback from the clip.

    It is very difficult to understand the speech and what is going on from the sound quality.