a Story Unit
1. Digesting a Story….What is it?
It is a multimedia project which meshes higher order
thinking skills, Language Arts/Reading Grade Level
Expectations, food and technology. The students will
use the internet (Read
Write Think Interactive Story Map site),
MS Word, digital cameras, video camera, computers,
printers, edible character (cookies, gingerbread houses,
etc. to enhance a creative reading/writing unit. Through
the use of all of the above listed, the students will
create little movies using the edible items as their
characters and settings.
2. How can it help in my classroom?
It can be used to incorporate higher order thinking skills,
reading and writing skills in a fun, yet productive and
effective manner. (See each holiday link
3. How will it fit into the Comprehensive Curriculum?
4. When can it be done?
Anytime for any reason. Holiday themes are popular and easy
to use because of the availability of edible characters and
settings at that time of year.
Where can I find the information?
6. What do I need to do to begin?
Explain the "goal" of this unit is for them to write their
own stories and a chance for them to use digital photography
(both still and video) to create a little movie using edible
story characters and the setting. Teacher will need to
gather a video camera, a still camera, a tripod, an empty
video tape or memory card for cameras, edible
characters/setting items, a fire wire, computers (with an
appropriate word processor),
Story Map to be printed
Story Map Template
to be done on the computers, a program which can be used
to capture the digital footage and can also edit. Internet
will be needed for online graphic organizer.
is an excellent tool for grading multimedia projects which
will also be needed.
Teacher will decide number of stories expected from the
If digital video equipment is unavailable, the students
may take “digital still photographs” and create a
What is the purpose?
The purpose is to help children think creatively and to
teach them to use higher order thinking skills through the
use of technology.
What are the project goals
The students will decide on a central idea for a story. The
story has to include a feasible plot, a descriptive setting,
several characters, a problem and a resolution. Using edible
props, the students assist in creating their own settings
and characters. Then using a standard four component map,
they describe the setting they were going to use. The next
step is looking at gathered edible and non edible pieces
that could be designated characters in their story. Finally
as a group, they will discuss and decide on a problem for
their story and "how" they would choose to resolve it. The
final result will be a video tape, CD or DVD of their
original stories and created settings.
9. What are the
the students will
create original group stories using the objects and
items provided to them.
the students will create their own edible setting and will
choose their own story characters (and will name them).
the students will work in peer groups with leaders guiding
them through the brainstorming, story mapping and the use of
the students will be able to identify the four story
components (setting, characters, conflict and resolution).
the students will create a story with a plot which involves
a hand made setting, edible characters, a conflict and a
the students will be able to write and produce a story to be
the students will be able to create their own story
questions using their original stories.
the students will use the computers to type their stories.
the students will use the writing process to produce a final
draft to be shared with others.
the students will read each
other’s stories and will map the story using the four
components (setting, characters, conflict and resolution.)
Printable Story Map
may be used for the children to write on or they can use the
MS Word Story Template.
the students will read all final reading stories and will
complete the assessment questions created by each other.
the students will check spelling, edit and proofread their
the students will be able to retell each story.
the students will use higher order thinking skills in
producing a story conflict and the resolution to that
the students will be able to use
digital photography to enhance the project.
What long should it last?
One week (Reading, Language Arts Block) -
Reading/Language Arts Block Time
Time divided by the teacher as to how and when to work
through the process.
How do I Set up?
May be done as a whole class or divided into groups.
Time management is crucial. Be prepared with a set goal
in mind. Flexibility plays a part in this process.
Purchase or create edible items which could create a
setting and characters. Example: Setting-Gingerbread
House Kits, powdered sugar and marshmallows (snow),
trees (Little Debbie Brownie Trees) or Christmas Tree
Cookies, Candy Canes or any other items that could
create a scene for the stories. For Spring or Easter
grass, dying shredded coconut green is an option.
Optional: Have parents donate treats or go to a local
bakery/grocery store. Another hint is to look at Little
Debbie products and seasonal trees. |
Once all of your ingredients are in place, allow them to
look at the items displayed. Then explain that the goal
will be for them to write a story using the "Steps of
the Writing Process". Each group will create their own
setting, name their characters and create a story
problem and solution,
Choose a "Photographer" each day to
document with a digital
cameraman or a crew to film the segments.
Pre-requisites -The students will have to be
knowledgeable in completing story maps. This
Write Think Interactive Story Map
site can serve as a platform in helping the students understand
the concept of story mapping and how to identify conflicts and
resolutions quickly and confidently. Practice this type of
activity before this project begins. The children also have to
have some type of knowledge of how to use MS Word or another
word processor program.
a. On the board or on a display area, write the words:
"Setting ???"; Characters ???; Conflict ???; Solution ????
b. Ask why they think the question marks were placed there?
Discuss their theories.
c. You will then ask and discuss these four components of a
d. Now you will explain to them what is the “goal” of this unit.
Then decide on how many stories you expect to come from the
You may divide them into groups or do as a whole class.
You can show them an empty "journal" or book with blank
sheets and a real book already written.
Ask them to describe the difference between the two.
Explain that the "goal" is for them to fill the empty
pages and create a story which will have the four story
components (setting, characters, conflict and
Model a story that you have created or use one of the
stories in this lesson. All of the following stories and
test questions are actual student work. (Christmas
Christmas Story 2,
Christmas Story 3,
Easter Story 1,
Easter Story 2,
Easter Story 3,
Easter Story 4,
e. Now create a setting using props that the children may use
for each of their stories.
Example: If you are creating
a house or village, etc. you build that with their
help. This could be an excellent art project to get
f. You may find small edible Christmas trees that enhance the
scenes. Once the setting is complete, have the students look at
would could be characters. Example: Gingerbread men, or other
types of seasonal cookies. For Halloween pumpkin, ghosts, witch
cookies, etc. Turkey cookies for Thanksgiving. For Easter,
Chocolate bunnies, little marshmallow chicks, etc.
g. The next step involves their creativity and their ability
to describe their group's setting, the characters they would
like to see in the story, a unique problem and how to solve
their problem. Hand out the
Printable Story Map
Word Document to print or use the
Template for the children to work on the computers.
h. Allow the groups to work through their ideas and have them
document it on the "Digesting
the Story Map". Walk around and listen to the group share
ideas. If needed, probe them with questions to get them
thinking. You may divide this into different sessions, depending
on how well your child "map" stories. Suggestion: As a
prerequisite for this have them work on the
Read Write Think Interactive Story Map
site a few times to become familiar with story mapping on their
own. Or have them create written story maps as often as they can
before you start this. Place two children who are strong leaders
in each group to guide the others. Explain to your leaders that
they will not “do" the work, but "guide" or "lead" the group to
work as a team, just as a teacher does with his/her students.
Once they complete the four components of their story, they take
the information and write a story.
Remind them of the Writing Process.
Stress they include a title, the author, an
opening and closing sentence and the four
components discussed in the story map
The group can discuss how they want to write the
story. One person can write as they discuss it.
It goes faster if one faster writer serves as
i. Once the story is complete, the teacher will sit and
discuss the story with them to see if all of the information
is included. The teacher will allow one child to read it. If
grammatical errors are heard then the teacher can ask does
that sound right. "Could it be stated differently", etc.
Examples: If they wrote "is" and the appropriate term should
be "are" talk them through it. Model what would beright if
they don't know the answer. Use the words and phrases
problem, conflict, resolution, solved and solution and fixed
the problems, over and over again. The teacher should be
probing constantly as each group continues to write as well
as when they are done with the story.
j. Now the group will go to a computer and take turns
typing the story. Each student may type 2 or 3 sentences.
(Each child should sit at the computer to assist. Again it
is important to stress the importance of working as a
group). The teacher should be walking around monitoring
k. The students will type and proofread and edit, then the
teacher will conference with the group to edit the final
l. Once the writing process is done, filming will take
place. A digital video footage may be transferred into a
program on the computer and a CD or DVD may be created.
Students will have to work through the movements of their
scenes using the characters. Allow time to practice the
reading as well as the movements of characters. Also stress
that to speak slowly and clearly to be heard on the footage.
m. Students will be told about assessment of grades. After
the filming takes place, the teacher will make copies of
each story to give to the students. Each story will have a
blank story map sheet.
n. Once modeled by the teacher, the students will create
five questions about their own stories to be placed on a
final test. The group will create and type the questions for
their own story. The teacher will help guide the students
with trouble. Each student will then be given a final story
and test questions to read and answer. Each of the stories
will also be mapped. All of these activities can be
combined and graded with a multimedia rubric.
o. Now comes the part where the students literally
their Story" setting and characters. Discuss how they
can digest it mentally and physically. (This will take a
few days to get to this stage, so cover the settings each
evening). The children should wash their hands each time
they will touch the setting, etc. Don't unwrap all items.
Then the students can eat the unwrapped gingerbread cookies,
marshmallows, and items that you know are sanitary. Each
night carefully store and wrap the food carefully.
p. Optional: Creating a CD or DVD: Movie Maker on XP
machines allow for the video to be "captured" from the video
recorder. A fire wire is needed to capture the footage. Once
captured, the footage may be edited and transitions may be
To upgrade to
Movie Maker 2, click here.
Adobe Premiere and Premiere Elements work wonderfully with
this type of project.
q. Once the editing is complete, the filmed stories are now
viewed. The teacher may show the video tape or transfer the
video footage into a CD or DVD. The
Adobe Premiere Elements
and "capturing" with the use of a fire wire produces
clear footage. Be aware of "capturing
settings" during the process. For clarity, try to choose
the higher setting.