Digital Storytelling: Assessment

In Chapter 4 of “Assessing digital Stories” by Jason Ohler, discusses the importance of assessments of students in education. He includes a list of traits from multiple rubrics that teachers can use for properly assessing students on digital storytelling. Based on this reading, Kayla and I chose to assess four topics for our assessment: Content Understanding, Organization, Flow, and Pacing, Research, and Media Application. We chose these four topics because we think they are important aspects to the overall project and will act as a guide for students to help build their digital story on. We feel as though these are appropriate for second graders to follow and achieve, which is the grade level we chose to direct this project to. Content understanding is vital in making sure each student understands the material and what is being asked. It shows us if the student not only gathered information but also how that woman they chose, changed America. Organization, Flow, and Pacing are important because they provide a clearer overall story, making it easier to understand and see. Research is important and necessary because we want to make sure students are appropriately documenting their findings and accurately answering questions. Also, since our project is based on researching women who changed America, students have to research the biographies of the woman they chose. Media Application is crucial and necessary as well because, since this assignment is creating a digital story, students will use media in creating it. Also, media enhances the experience for both the creator and audience, allowing for greater response and interest. 

Digital Storytelling: Storyboard and Script

Kayla and I decided to do a social studies lesson on women who changed America. For our digital story as an example, we chose to explore the life of Harriet Tubman and her many accomplishments.


Women Who Changed America: Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland by the name Araminta Ross. The exact date of her birth is unknown but it is estimated that she was born around 1820. She was the daughter of Harriet Green and Benjamin Ross and eventually changed her name to Harriet to honor her mother. She had eight siblings but unfortunately slavery caused them to be split apart. At just five years old, Harriet was forced to be a domestic servant where she cared for babies until she was sent to work outdoors on a plantation when she was seven years old. 

From very early on in her life, Harriet dedicated her life to helping others. At age twelve she stepped in between her master who was beating an enslaved man that tried to escape and received a blow to her head from a two pound weight. Because of this, Harriet suffered migraines and narcolepsy for the rest of her life. This would mark the beginning of Harriet’s amazing legacy and her fight for justice.

With the help of the underground railroad, Harriet escaped from her plantation and traveled 90 miles to Pennsylvania. After being freed, Harriet couldn’t shake the thought of her family and friends still being enslaved. So with that, she traveled back to the south using the Underground railroad and made it her mission to free as many slaves as she could. However, in 1850 The Fugitive Slave Act was passed allowing for freed or fugitive slaves in the north to be captured and enslaved, making Harriet’s mission even more difficult. However, Harriet wasn’t going to let this stop her. She made several trips back to the south and it is believed that she led about 70 slaves to freedom as far north as Canada. Her success leading slaves to freedom cause slave owners to post a $40,000 reward for her arrest or death but Harriet was never caught. 

Since Harriet had traveled the underground railroad so many times, she had gained a lot of knowledge about southern towns and transportation routes, making her incredibly valuable to the Union military during the Civil War. Harriet served as a cook, spy, and scout for the Union Military where she would travel through confederate towns and learn about Confederate troop placement from enslaved people. Harriet also served as a nurse during the Civil War where she cared for soldiers with infections and disease. 

Following the Civil War, Harriet moved to New York where she married Civil War veteran Nelson Davis. Together, they adopted a young girl named Gertie. Harriet continued to fight for what she believed in and eventually joined the Women’s Suffrage Movement where she worked alongside Susan B. Anthony and publicly spoke on the issue throughout the Northeast. Then in 1896, Harriet founded the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged where she worked to serve the elderly until pneumonia took her life in 1913. Harriet was buried in Auburn, New York but her legacy continues to live on today. 


Editors of Britannica. (2021, March 10). Harriet Tubman. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from Editors. (2009, October 29). Harriet Tubman. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from  

Michals, D. (2015). Harriet Tubman. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from 


Blog Post 4- Digital Storytelling Lesson Description

The title of the lesson will be “Women Who Changed America”. This will be a social studies lesson where students can learn and explore famous influential women that changed American history. Students will be able to choose any women they want. The learning environment will consist of a class size of 20 students, 10 girls and 10 boys and is racially diverse with varying  learning levels. Available technology for this project includes, school-issued computers and laptops in the classroom or library and students will have been introduced and familiarized with them. Students will be researching and gathering information about the specific women they choose and can work with partners. The unit of study this lesson focuses on is biographies and how people’s actions have shaped our world in which we live in today. By having students  research and learn about influential women allows them to see how they changed the world today, but more specifically The United States. Digital storytelling will allow students to do those things in a more fun and engaging way instead of having a regular literacy writing assignment. By having students utilize digital storytelling will let them be creative but at the same time will allow them to understand and learn about how those women changed our country in which we live today. The goals I have for student’s learning during this unit of study is that students will be able to understand how biographies can show how peoples’ actions have shaped the world in which we live.  

Blog Post 3: Digital Storytelling

In the article, Critical Lessons and Playful Literacies: Digital Media in PK–2 Classrooms, discusses a play-based media literacy curriculum and how it offers a way to expand children’s participation and engage more in literacy assignments by providing children’s many different interests and abilities in play, with technology. Also, by acknowledging roles besides just writers and to include roles that are not typically acknowledged in school literacy curriculum, these may include actors, camera operators or editors. With learning this, the story we created focuses on how digital storytelling increases student engagement and participation in literacy assignments and that anyone can create one, even young children.  

Video Game Exploration 3

Another game I chose to explore from the PBS Kids website was called, “Molly of Denali” where players can learn about dog sledding and the Alaskan native culture and language. Players go on a dog sledding journey with Molly, who is a Native Alaskan. Players have many options for the dogs to pick from and different places in Alaska to pick from to go on the journey. There are different levels for each journey. Players have to figure out what category to pick whenever the dogs need to stop or something needs fixing and etc. Players can learn about what cold weather gear entails such as what the dogs need to wear in order to stay warm and protected from the cold. Also, players learn about night gear the dogs have to wear to stay safe. Players learn about each of these by looking at the app in the game. This game provides voice commands and reads the sentences out loud which can allow players to practice listening skills but also to be able to follow directions. For example, while playing I chose the sunset course and had to help Molly and her brother deliver a tool to their grandfather. On the journey we had to stop and put the cold weather gear on them but I had to figure out what to choose based on three options. Then we had to stop again to put on the dog’s night gear so they could be seen and again had to pick the correct form of gear for the night. 

These are all the trials you can pick from:

This is when I had to pick the correct gear for cold weather and liked how it gave other information about the gear.

This is what it looked like on my journey to the grandfather’s house and you can see the different levels/stop sites.

While playing this game, I realized that it connected to James Gee’s article, Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning when he states on page 24 that people can “build simulations to understand and make sense of things, but also to help you prepare for action in the world”. By playing these types of games can provide an opportunity for children to learn about different cultures, countries and places they might have never heard about. By playing this game can provide an opportunity for children to learn about dog sledding and the Alaskan Native culture when they probably have never learned about that culture. Also, it can allow children to learn about what dog sledding entails, if they ever encounter an opportunity to experience it. 

I chose this game because I wanted to compare it to my experience dog sledding to see if what I learned was similar to the game. On the other hand, I wanted to explore a game that was informational and taught something unique. While playing this game I realized it was perfect for honestly all ages but especially younger children. It can develop their knowledge and skills for interacting with informational texts and real-world activities. I could implement this game during a geography lesson about the states and also Native culture. 

Video Game: Blog post two

The game I chose to explore this week was a math game from PBS Kids website. It is called Bridge-A-Rama where players can learn and practice spatial visualization and transformations. Players have to fill in gaps using objects that are both long and strong enough to make a bridge for the Cat in the Hat characters to cross them. The options of the bridge materials consist of types of wood and trees and steel beams. There are different levels and in each there are eight parts or eight bridges to build. As players keep playing into the different levels, they have to figure out what pieces fit into the length of the different bridges and what materials are strong enough to hold the characters.  In these levels there are eight parts or eight bridges to build. For example, while playing in one of the levels I had to pick from five objects and choose the ones that were long enough and strong enough when put together to make the bridge. Also, there was glue to use when putting together different materials and ones that were different lengths. While playing this game, there were voice commands that said the directions of what I am supposed to do. This game is perfect for younger children because it provides them with practicing their engineering and design skills and how to approach and solve problems. While exploring PBS Kids games, I noticed there is an option for Spanish and thought this was very important. I thought this because it gives children who do not speak English or are more comfortable with Spanish, the opportunity to practice these skills.

Here are some screenshots of the levels while playing the game:

Video Game: Blog Post 1

The game I chose to explore this week was a vocabulary game from PBS Kids website. It is called Rhyme Time where players can practice rhyming words. Players ride around on a train with Grover from Sesame Street where he leads the way to pick which words rhyme. For example, while playing I had to choose from three words and decide which word rhymes with rug or the ending “ug” sound and once I chose the correct word, the train was able to go under the correct bridge with the correct word that rhymes with ‘rug’. After that, I had to collect the word that rhymes with ‘rug’ by catching them into the cart with that word. The more words you continue to collect, the more carts the train gets. This game is perfect for younger students because it provides phonemic awareness by helping with sound and word relationships. Also, it can help children recognize rhyming words easily and can build a foundation for strong vocabulary in higher grades.

Class Survey (Get to Know Me)

Hello I’m Julia and I’m from Boston Massachusetts. I love going to the beach, traveling, exploring new places, and hanging out with friends and family. I am an early education major and enjoy working with children and building connections with them. I am planning on working with students in person and I am excited to be doing that this semester. 

I found this article last year, but I still consider it to be just as important. It investigates creativity of children in early childhood education institutions. This is interesting to me because I have always thought creativity is important in and out of the classroom, especially in early childhood classrooms. I believe this because children need to be able to come up with their own ideas and think differently. Also I have always considered myself a creative person and value creativity immensely.

What aspects do you value most in the education field? What made you want to be an educator?