Lesson Plan

Enhancing Student Writing With Digital Storytelling

In this app flow, students will explore the writing process using mind maps, Google Documents and Powtoons. Students will use each digital tool to develop and enhance writing skills leading to a final draft created in Powtoons.
Christi C.
Classroom teacher
Wise Primary School
Wise, VA
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My Grades 2
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to write and present a story using digital storytelling techniques.

English Language Arts
Grades 2 - 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 The Hook

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  • Before beginning the lesson, teachers will need to create a free account in Powtoons.
  •  Once the account has been created, begin the lesson by exposing students to pre-made templates of Powtoon presentations that can be created.
  • Once students have viewed several template examples, prompt them to think about possible topics they could write about.

2 Direct Instruction/Guided Practice/Independent Practice

Google Drive
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Day 1-Begin the lesson as a whole group activity by demonstrating how to use a mindmap to brainstorm writing ideas.

  • Using Popplet, model how to brainstorm writing ideas on the Smartboard by beginning with a sample topic. Provide several ideas with images to begin this process.
  • Ask students to contribute an idea to the topic until everyone has given an idea. Add pictures to each idea to engage visual learners.
  • Review the completed mindmap orally with students before asking students to create their first mindmap on paper.  Display the class Popplet as a student guide on the Smartboard.
  • Instruct students to complete their first mindmap on paper as a draft copy.  Then provide students with assistance to access and create their first Popplet from the draft copy.

Day 2-Begin the lesson by reviewing the mindmap activity that was created yesterday.  Model how to develop sentences from the ideas generated in the class Popplet.  

  • Open the class Popplet that was created the day before and demonstrate how to create topic sentences from the ideas.
  • Begin by signing in to your Gmail account and then opening Google Drive (you must create a free Gmail account before demonstrating this step).
  • After opening Google Drive, click "New" and select "Document" to access a Google Document.
  • Discuss how a Google Document is a word processor similar to Microsoft Word and can be used to collaborate and communicate with the teacher.
  • Using the class Popplet, begin typing numbered sentences using each idea.  Emphasize the importance of beginning each sentence with a capital letter and ending with punctuation.
  • Once sentences have been created for each idea in the class Popplet, model how to group the sentences in order of importance to tell a story.  Provide examples of good keywords to use (Ex. First, Next, Then, Last).
  • Display the Google Document on the Smartboard as a guide. Ask students to use their own Popplet that was created the day before to begin writing sentences for each idea on their mindmap.  
  • Once students have written sentences for each idea on their mindmaps, assist individual students in accessing and naming their Google Document inside your account.
  • Ask students to type their sentences, using capital letters and correct punctuation.  Before beginning the lesson for day 3, access student sentences in your Google Drive and make suggestions for revisions in their Google Documents using the comments option.
  • To make comments, highlight the error or area needing attention.  Right click to access a menu and choose comment.  A comment box will appear allowing you to type in comments.

Day 3- Review the activities from Day 2 using the Google Document that was used to type sentences from the class Popplet.  Then model the editing and revision phase.

  • Begin the lesson my demonstrating on the Smartboard that Google Documents allows teachers and students to work together.
  • Type several errors in your Google Document and explain to students that misspelled words and other revisions will be highlighted by the teacher through comments.
  • Click on and highlight each error and add comments to provide examples of teacher comments.  
  • Then click on each comment box to show students how to fix grammatical errors and resolve the comment.
  • Assist students in accessing their Google Documents and provide individual help to make sure each student is able to make revisions and resolve comments.
  • Ask students to make all necessary revisions to their documents before printing the final copy.
  • Before beginning day 4 activities, visit the Powtoons website and become familiar with how to create a Powtoon.  Access the help section to view tutorials for getting started and experiment by creating a sample Powtoon presentation.

Day 4- Begin the lesson by reviewing the revision process of writing from day 3 with the class.  Explain how digital tools can be used to present a story that is engaging to the audience.

  • Begin the lesson by going to the Powtoons website and accessing the help section with tutorials for getting started in Powtoons.
  • Show the students a tutorial video on the Smartboard to familiarize them with the Powtoons interface.
  • Demonstrate how to choose a pre-made template and discuss how to add text, images and voice recordings.
  • Explain to students that their first Powtoon will be created using a pre-made template and that once they become more familiar with Powtoons, they will be able to create their own blank slides from scratch.
  • Assist students individually in choosing their pre-made templates in your Powtoons account.
  • Provide students with two choices:  1. To record themselves reading their story in Powtoons and creating visuals to match.  2.  Demonstrate the story with visuals and text to communicate with their audience.
  • Assist individual students in recording narrations, accessing images and adding text to their Powtoon presentation.  

Day 5- Review instruction from day 4 and discuss the importance of using digital tools to communicate and engage an audience through storytelling.

  • Begin the lesson by inviting students to share their Powtoon presentation with the class.  
  • Open the Powtoons website to access student presentations.
  • Ask each student volunteer to assist you in playing their presentation on the Smartboard to the class.  Allow each student to take a leadership role by playing their presentation and answering student questions about the story afterwards.




3 Wrap-up

Activity: Conversing

Day 5-  To wrap up the entire week discuss how each daily activity was crucial in order to obtain the final goal in creating a digital story.

Digital Storytelling Overview

Day 1-​The topic and ideas were developed in a mindmap using Popplet.

Day 2-The mindmap was used to develop and write sentences for the story.  The sentences were typed in a Google Document.

Day 3-Edits and Revisions were made to the comments made by the teacher in Google Documents.

Day 4-Presentations in Powtoons were created from the revised story in Google Documents.

Day 5-Students presented Powtoons presentations to the class and answered questions about their stories.

Class Discussion

Invite students to share their experiences by asking students to answer the following questions:

1.  Why was it important to break the writing process down into a week of daily tasks?

2.  How did this strategy allow you to produce a digital story?

3.  How did this strategy help you learn more about the writing process?

4.  Which digital tool did you enjoy using the most and why?