Finishing Our Storm Stories


On April 3, I was able to make a trip and visit the grade four’s to continue working on our digital stories.   I was a bit nervous starting the day because it had been a few weeks, since my last visit and we had a lot of work to do in order to get the stories completed.   After reflecting on my previous lesson, I decided that the best way to teach the students about creating digital stories using Photo Story 3 was to work with one group at a time.   Since I only had one day to finish the videos,  I felt that this was easier for me to monitor and help the students with questions during the process.  As well, I felt that I could focus on each group by helping them organize and arrange their stories.

I was fortunate to have help from @peglaws, who spent the day working on the stories with the students.  I took one partner group and she took the other group of students.  We worked in the same computer lab, so we were able to help each other and support the students together.   The day started off a little slow because it took time to get the students set up and ready for the process.  As we continued working, Peggy and I became more aware of how to support the students, as well the students became more confident with using the program.  It seemed that with each group, the time spent became shorter and shorter.

Here is an outline of the digital story making process:

Peggy and I each took a group of students to teach them the process for making digital stories.  Each group had one computer to share and work on creating their storm story.  The students had to take turns working on the stories and share responsibilities during the step-by- step process.


Step One: Open Photo Story 3, create a new project and import the pictures we saved last day on the student’s account. This was very interesting process because some students had trouble saving their pictures properly to their account, so many pictures were lost.  We helped the students find any pictures saved in their file and import into the program. Then, if more pictures were needed, we searched on Flickr or Google Images and saved them in a digital story folder.  Peggy and I assisted the students to ensure this step went quickly, so not too much time was spent searching for pictures.


Step Two: When all the pictures were imported, the students worked putting the pictures in order by clicking and dragging them into place.  They used their story boards to help them place the pictures in the correct order.  During this step, the students deleted some pictures as well as decided to add a more pictures to complete their stories.


Step Three: This step allowed the students to add titles to their pictures.  The students discussed the importance of titles and experimented with creating titles for various pictures in their stories.  The students were able to decide on font style, colour, size and positioned the text appropriately on the pictures. As well, at this time students added a title page for their story.  We retrieved a variety of coloured blank slides from Jakesonline.  The students decided on a title page colour, then added the story title and author names on it.  During this step a few students tried changing the effects of their pictures, but most preferred the original pictures with no effects.


Step Four: The students had the most fun recording their narration for the stories.  Previously, I had explained to the students that they could decide on how to record the narration with their partners.  I challenged them to try and think of different ways to record their story.  Most groups took turns reading every second page and read the title page together.  Only one group choose to have one partner read the text while to the other partner made sound effects in the background.   It was very interesting to hear the students practice and record their voice narrations.  It was a neat partnership to see the students share responsibilities and help each other with the recording.  In pairs, the students decided who would record the voice and who would click the record button.  It was a valuable step for the students to be able to review their recording and choose to erase and re-record when necessary.  The erase option helped take the pressure off the students when recording their part of the story.


Step Five: The next step with using Photo Story 3 is to customize motion.  I allowed the students a few minutes to explore this option, but due to time constraints, many groups skipped over this step.  The students thoughts that the automatic transitions and motions looked good.  If I was to work with the students again, I would allow them more time to play and explore with picture motions and transitions because now they have an understanding of the program.


Step Six: This step is for adding background music to the story. For my lesson, I decided that the students would not complete this step for this particular story because we did not have time to discuss or explore the options of adding background music.

Step Seven: The last step is saving the projects to a computer file.   Peggy and I helped the students saved the stories to each students account, by browsing through files and selecting the correct location.  We made sure to save it as a Window Media Video (.wmv) file.  Then, we had the students change the settings of the project because I planned on uploading their videos onto my You Tube account.  We rendered the movie as 320 X 240, which makes it easier to post on-line, rather than the normal 640X 480.


Step Eight: Each group viewed their story 😀


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