Digital Storytelling

19th January
written by Tom Banaszewski

Select a challenging vocabulary word from the SAT list. Think of at least three scenes that would illustrate the meaning of the word. Take a look at a few of these student-produced videos @

How would you show the meaning of  “abrogate” or “abscond?” Try to keep the length to around 2 minutes.

Remember to include the word and its definition at the beginning and end of the movie.

15th January
written by Tom Banaszewski

Great video showing how to use a video camera for recording footage that doesn’t look like junk. For middle school students, the first minute of this video is what’s most important. Learn how to record the ESTABLISHING SHOT, LONG and MID RANGE-SHOT and the CLOSE-UP. Students who skip over learning these types of shots will produce films where the camera follows the action and will often record much more footage than necessary. Learning how to frame a shot takes practice. Before moving onto filming fight scenes or recording a chase scene, students need to have a solid understanding of these basic shots.

14th January
written by Tom Banaszewski

Try this. Before throwing students into the deep end of creating a short film, make sure you give them some experience in creating a film that already has a clear story line. Also, make sure it can be filmed at school or with a minimum of actors and props. For this activity, all you need is a FlipVid camera or still camera that has video recording.

Download this story outline: Go to the Dance with Me story outline

For another story outline, check out these: Film This Story


1. Give trio of students the story outline.

2. Students review the outline and make any modifications to the story.

3. Students create list of scenes for the story (or give students a Sample Scene List or Completed Scene and Shot List).

4. No dialogue.

5. Film in classroom, hallway or other nearby location.

6. Delete scene(s) you don’t need.

7. Plug camera into computer (MacBook with iMovie 09) and import your scenes.

7. Drag and drop these Events (scenes) into a New iMovie Project.

8. Each group shares their film and looks for how each group filmed the scenes.

Most often beginning film students will record much more of a scene than necessary. The film from the above activity lends itself to another activity where each student is given a scene and told to re-shoot it using a minimum of camera angles and no sweeping moves of the camera.

1. Give pair/trio of students Character and Goal, they create the Conflict and Solution.
2. Students complete the Tree outline for their story.
3. Students create shot list. No dialogue.
4. Film.
5. Edit on camera. Delete scene(s) you don’t need.
6. Plug in camera to share with class to see different ways groups solved the Conflict.

12th January
written by Tom Banaszewski

Here are three resources that will help you plan to tell an effective story. While these are intended for Digital Storytelling, they apply to all forms of story writing.

7 Elements of a Digital Story (PDF)

Tools for Visualizing Your Story (PPT)

Sample Completed VPS of Stories (PDF)

Newbery Book Story Snap-shots (PDF)

8th January
written by Tom Banaszewski
Try this. Watch these short pieces of work and then answer the question is it a movie for each one. I did this activity with a group of middle school students and the results were very interesting.

A movie is a continuous video that tells a story:)” – Mae T.

Taking too long to load? Go here.


7th January
written by Tom Banaszewski
Many people often think that anything that appears on a screen is a movie. You’ve probably watched thousands of movies already in your lifetime, but you’d be surprised that finding two people who share the same definition of a “movie” is rare.
Leave a comment with your definition of a movie.

18th November
written by Tom Banaszewski

You that know part of the book where Meg hears her muffled father's voice speaking to her from behind the grip of IT? That's kind of like blogging in China. I haven't been able to post to this blog for months now. Not even sure this will get thru. It is almost 2010, right? And China did send a man to the moon recently. Why can't I get to my blog? The two issues are thinly connected, but still I complain.

I have been blogging on my local school-based blogs. Teach Me This focuses on my edu-gaming work, while my Middle School Tech Tips shares what I do as a technology integration specialist.

Until I relocate or find a way around IT, I'll have to post there.