We use stories all the time to convey information to our students. This is an incredibly effective strategy because our brains are designed to remember stories. Once you add visuals to that story, you have a recipe for a truly memorable experience. Taking that a step further, when a student is able to synthesize information into the form of a story, they truly are demonstrating mastery of a topic. With the help of digital tools, storytelling can be even more fun and creative!

Think about how students in your classroom can emulate the work of professionals. Creating an authentic experience engages students and can spark their creativity. You can provide parameters to create structure while allowing students choice for how they tell their story. Below are a number of different styles of videos that your students could use depending on the purpose or audience of the project your students are creating.

Common Craft, RSA Animate, and Whiteboarding: Common Craft is a type of video where small paper cutouts are used to explain concepts “in plain English.” One great example is their video explaining Google Docs. RSA Animate uses whiteboard drawings to illustrate a story. You’ve probably seen this famous example that uses Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk as the voiceover. Students can emulate these explainer-style videos using stop motion and a whiteboard or paper cut outs. Here’s an example of a whiteboard video made by teachers.


Crash Course: The Crash Course Youtube channel houses tons of videos created to teach topics in history, science, literature, and more. These fast-paced videos are a great model for student projects. Crash Course stories engage the audience by combining animations, green screens, voiceovers, and live action video. Shakopee High School students created similar videos using a combination of tools to emulate Crash Course-style videos. Here’s one example.

Epic Rap Battles of History: If you’ve ever seen an Epic Rap Battle of History, you know they’re a little rowdy. While it’s tough to find a school-safe example to show students, the concept of an Epic Rap Battle can be an engaging way to have a debate or compare and contrast two topics. Here is a student-created example comparing Lowell Mill Girls to Newsies.

Note Card Confession: Note card confessions are a non-verbal, yet highly impactful way of telling a story. You write out a story on note cards and record one notecard at a time with a camera. Adding music is a nice touch as well. This storytelling style was made popular by the movie Love Actually. Here’s another example that circulated around Facebook a few years ago. Students can use this storytelling technique to take on a persona and share their understanding of an emotionally charged event like this first-person retelling of the Trail of Tears.

Other IdeasIn addition to the professional examples above, students could create video documentaries, public service announcements, personal narratives, love stories, or biographies. There are so many great examples to use as models!

Once you select a video style, make a plan to scaffold student work. For any video project, it is highly recommended that students create storyboards and scripts before they record anything. 70-80 percent of the work in creating high quality projects happens during the planning phase. Once students have a thorough plan, it’s time to explore digital tools. Below is a list of tools and the devices they work on. Each of these can be used in some fashion to create a video project.



MacBooks* and Chromebooks

Stop Motion: Stop Motion Animator

Animation: PowToon, My Simple Show, Squigl

Slideshows: Keynote*, Google Slides, Book Creator

Editing: iMovie*, Adobe Premiere Pro*, Adobe Spark Video

Screen Recording: Loom, QuickTime*


Stop Motion: StikBot Studio, FlipaClip, iMotion, Stop Motion Studio

Animation: ChatterPix Kids, Puppet Pals HD, Toontastic 3D, Puppetmaster, Sock Puppets, TextingStory Chat Story Maker

Slideshows: Explain Everything, Adobe Spark Video, Book Creator, Shadow Puppet EDU

Editing: iMovie, Clips, Green Screen by Do Ink

Screen recording: Screen Record iOS, Explain Everything

Remember that the DLCs are here to support you. If you have any questions about how you and your students can use these tools, want help scaffolding your project, or just want to brainstorm, be sure to request a DLC!

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