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John DiCosmo

Differentiated Instruction through Digital Storytelling: Short Story Elements

Rationale: This lesson is part of a larger unit, designed to introduce students to the type of
reading and writing expected of them throughout the year. The unit focuses on increasing reading
skills as well as using quotes and textual evidence to support claims all while allowing for
differentiation within the lessons. This specific lesson is designed to integrate digital literacy
skills and 21st century learning skills into the existing unit. It also suggests specific methods for
differentiating in the 7th grade ELA class.
Timeline and Sequence: 5 class periods. The teacher video model is meant to be viewed at the
beginning of the unit, followed by close readings of the subsequent stories and class discussions,
and then the short story elements video project. The unit will conclude with student writing in
which they state claims about characters and support with textual evidence.
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to: 1. summarize one story 2.
synthesize elements of the story into a video presentation 3. identify literary devices and
character traits 4. state their initial claim about the character
Materials: Computers equipped with iMovie (1 per small group), copies of short stories for the
unit, storyboard templates, “Character Train” graphic organizer copies,
Day 1 Activities: 1. Teacher introduces unit with “Short Story Elements” video, followed by
class discussion of favorite and memorable short stories 2. students form small groups and
brainstorm their favorites and what made them memorable 3. share out on Padlet or Google Docs
4. whole class review and discussion of responses 5. teacher discusses characters, character traits
and introduces driving question “What are the elements of a short story?” 6. Shared reading of
first story 7. Exit ticket: Identify the main character and traits

Day 2 1. Teacher shows clips from movies based on YA books 2. Students form pairs and
identify character traits of these main characters 3. Review of previous lesson 4. Shared reading
of 2nd story 5. Working with groups, identify the main characters and traits 6. discussion of
literary devices
Day 3 1. Recap of previous lessons (character traits, literary devices) 2. Shared reading of 3rd
story 3. in groups, identify the characters and literary devices 4. introduction/overview of iMovie
5. distribute project overview handout and rubric 6. independent reading of 4th and final story 7.
independent work--identify characters and traits and literary devices
Day 4 1. Teacher assigns homogenous groups and one story per group 2. groups identify the
character traits of the main character and develop a claim about the character 3. students identify
the literary devices the author uses in the story 4. students plan digital story by creating
storyboard 5. students draft script for movie
Day 5 1. Groups continue working on project 2. Teacher conferences with each group to check
on progress 3. Review of rubric
Day 6 Students present their projects to the class. Teacher assesses work as per rubric. End of
project!