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Mobile Learning Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 7: Using Basic Digital Cameras to Engage Reluctant Writers

Try the lesson plans below to bring the power of mobile learning into your classroom! Share your own successes and challenges in teaching with cell phones by emailing us at instructor@scholastic.com.

Students will...

  • divide a story into its relevant parts.
  • create a "frozen" drama scene (along with peers) depicting these parts using digital cameras and computer programs.
  • construct a narrative retelling in writing or speech.


  • Digital cameras (can be standalone or contained in devices such as the Nintendo DSi or cell phone); computer loaded with software such as Powerpoint, MS Photostory, or iMovie, (or even mobile apps) that allow the creation of slideshows/podcasts; printer
  • A chosen class story or topic relevant to current student interests and/or learning
  • A "parts of a story" planning template
  • A "frozen scene" rubric checklist (listing things such as: How accurate are the expressions and body postures? Do they show what the scene is about?)

1. The teacher ensures that digital cameras are charged and have sufficient storage capacity.
2. Students and teachers check that memory cards or camera cables are compatible with the computer to which images will be transferred.


1. The teacher explains that students will be working in groups to make their own frozen-scene versions of the chosen text/story. The teacher explains how a freeze frame is the same as a photo. Sample images can be discussed by the class. The teacher then divides students into groups of two to five students and the story/text is provided.

2. Groups need to become familiar with the story, and decide what the main scenes are that correspond to the parts of a story (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion). The teacher provides a planning template using the parts-of-a-story headings, or students can create their own.

3. Once scenes have been decided, cameras are handed out and the groups begin to create the dramatized frozen scenes. The teacher can either hand out checklists, or assign one student per group to check that the frozen scene is accurately depicting the appropriate part of the chosen story or text.

4. Once prepared, the teacher or students take photos of each frozen scene. These images are then downloaded from the cameras to ready them for sequencing and narrative construction in the next part of the lesson. Photos may be printed at this point, or stored digitally.

5. In this second part, students begin by arranging the photos of their scenes into an order that matches the parts of the story. This can be done with images on paper, on a computer, or on a mobile device with an appropriate app.

6. Students write a description of the scenes to construct a retelling of the story. This could be done on paper using the printed images, or on a computer using software like Word or PowerPoint, or even on a mobile device with the appropriate apps. Some students may even like to voice-record their retelling if typing or writing is difficult.

7. Finally, the newly created retellings can be tested against the original story. The class can choose examples to discuss if all the parts of a story were properly included.


  • The teacher can give advanced students a set of scenes created by a different group and have them order the scenes to create a narrative.

 Hints and Tips: 

  • Struggling students may be given shorter texts with only three scenes, while advanced students may want to create the text themselves first with all five main parts of a story, then swap their resulting digital storyboard with another student before constructing the retelling.
  • The teacher will be able to use the story text in writing or speech for later assessment, as needed.


By Wesley Alder

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