Creating Digital Movies in the Elementary Classroom (Using Photostory)

Creating a Story

Students create a storyboard in which they write a story and provide pictures to illustrate their story. Students can use pre-made pictures that either they own or are listed as copyright free. From there, they organize their pictures and provide the storyline that they will use to narrate their story. Their narration is what brings their story (made from pictures) to life. The final stage is to add any additional audio or music files and in some cases special transitions or movements throughout their movie.

ISTE Student Standards

  • I.Creativity and Innovation:
    • Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • III. Research and Information Fluency:
    • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  • IV. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making:
    • Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Levels

  • Applying
  • Creating


  • Personal Narrative
  • Math story problems
  • Biographies or Autobiographies
  • Geography Atlas - pictures of landforms
  • Describe/narrate adventures from a field trip
  • How to - expository writing
  • Detail/describe a science experiment
  • Fantasy - write/narrate a make-believe story
  • English - parts of speech
  • Character analysis


Story Design and Creations

Remember that creating a digital story is not just the students having another opportunity to use the computer. This creation is more about the writing rather than the technology. Students will spend a majority of the allotted project time, in the creation and revision stage of their story before they ever get to the computer to put it together. We want to make sure they are creating an interesting writing piece that will attract and hold the attention of the audience before they put the pictures together and begin their recording. (Information source - Tell A Story by Michelle Krill)


Storyboards help students map out their story and allow them to see the story along with pictures they will be using. This allows the students to see exactly how their story will flow once they begin to use the computer. This is also a chance to see how their story transforms from beginning to end to ensure their will be interest from the audience.

Story Template
Digital Storyboard
Storyboard Template pdf
Blank Storyboard pdf

Storytelling Rubrics

Jason Ohler's Storytelling Rubric
Digital Storytelling Evaluation Rubric
Storytelling Rubric
Rubric for Digital Storytelling

Photo Story 3

Meet Granny Smith
from Digitales Training Camp

Free Download from Microsoft - Photostory 3
(note works on Windows XP and some Vista/Windows 7 Versions)


  • Gather your own photos to simulate a movie about a particular story (no video clips)
  • Crop and edit photos
  • Motion to photos provides movement
  • Text to photos provides further details or activates interest
  • Narrate each picture separately to describe your story
  • Use your own music, creative commons music, or create your own from pre-built menus
  • Finalize as a movie for playback on the computer or burn to a DVD for on the TV


  • Pythagorean Theorem

    • Math Example: Using the Pythagorean Theorem to Find a Hypotenuse

Photostory Direction Sheet