Lesson Plan

Exploring the Story Arc

Learn key principles of storytelling with Toontastic
Launchpad Toys, San Francisco
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Students will..

  • learn and develop digital storytelling skills through cartoon creation
  • better understand key storytelling concepts like Story Arc, Character, Setting, and Emotion
  • create a cartoon in Toontastic using the Story Arc 
English Language Arts
Grades 2 – 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Watch “Monkey’s Quest To Banana Island” by Lily123

This kid-created cartoon is a great example of a Story Arc that can help students start to think about the scenes and parts of a story. You can watch the cartoon online or find it in Toontastic by searching for Lily123 on ToonTube.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Conversing

Together, discuss and analyze the Story Arc of "Monkey's Quest To Banana Island"

​Begin by looking at the Story Arc in Toontastic:

  • The Setup introduces the characters and story setting
    • What happens in the Setup scene of “Monkey’s Quest To Banana Island”?

  • The Conflict creates a problem for the main character
    • What problem did Monkey face in the Conflict scene? 

  • The Challenge makes the problem even more difficult
    • How did Monkey’s problem get even more complicated in the Challenge scene?

  • The Climax is where the main character solves the problem
    • How did the characters address the problem in the Climax scene?

  • The Resolution is where you show that the problem has been settled
    • How did Lily123 show that the problem was solved in the Resolution scene? 

3 Guided Practice

Plan a story using the Toontastic Storyboard Template and Notability

Open the Toontastic Storyboard Template PDF in Safari on your iPad, then select "Open in.. Notability" to import it into Notability. Our Storyboard Template is a graphic organizer that helps kids plan their cartoons before diving into animation. 

Encourage kids to use the Storyboard Template as a jumping off point by choosing the main settings and characters for their stories, then writing a few sentences describing each of the scenes in their cartoons. Finally, kids can add the Scene Type (Setup, Conflict, etc.) and Emotion of each scene. It's okay if kids don't completely fill out the planning worksheet - it's designed to help them articulate their ideas and develop a clear Story Arc. 

4 Independent Practice

Animate your stories using Toontastic

Use the Story Arc in Toontastic to animate the stories you drafted. Remind kids to look back at their Storyboard Template if they get stuck as they animate their cartoons. Allow a few minutes at the end for kids to title their cartoons and add their names as directors. 

5 Wrap-Up

Upload your cartoon to ToonTube and add it to your Notability document as a web clip

Upload cartoons to your ToonTube account, approve them online for sharing, and note their URLs. Next, open your Notability planning document, add a page, and import your Toontastic cartoon as a webclip.

If desired, students can write a summary or reflection of their cartoons on the last page of their Notability documents. Finally, share cartoons with friends and families!