Tag Archives: digital storytelling

Storytelling and Coding for Beginners

Storytelling and coding are the ideal combination when introducing programming concepts to beginners. If you are teaching a STEM unit with primary or elementary students consider designing an animated story using Scratch Jr. Discover the reasons for blending creative writing with coding activities.

Storytelling is Familiar

The structure of a story is familiar to children. They know a story has a beginning, middle, and end. This knowledge provides a foundation for organizing the scripts into manageable chunks. Student can code the action using separate story pages to animate each event. This can reduce a complex idea into a simple task.

Building Scripts is Similar to Writing Sentences

When students write a story, words are put together to form sentences. When they are read by a person, the sentences explain what is happening. This is similar to building scripts. When students write code, commands or blocks are put together to form a script. When the computer reads the script, it knows what action to do. The similarities provide a foundation for understanding how to sequence commands when coding.

creative writing and building scripts

Combine creative writing with building scripts.

Animating a Story is Engaging for Students

Coding a story is fun. In the past, students will have written, illustrated, and read stories. However, they may have never animated one. This task will hold their attention, not only because it is new, but because it is so enjoyable. Building scripts to have characters speak and move will engage even the most reluctant writer. Scratch Jr has a library of backdrops and characters that make it easy to make a story come to life.

Coding Follows the Stages of the Writing Process

Coding an animated story has a similar design process as creative writing. First students plan and organize the story idea. They must select a setting, characters, and plot. Next, they build scripts to tell about the events. The content is edited by debugging the scripts to enhance the quality of the storytelling. Upon completion, students publish the coding project to share with an audience.

Transform Reluctant Writers into Coders

Not all students like to express their ideas using text. Coding provides an opportunity to tell a story by building scripts using blocks. The color-coded blocks are sequenced together to control how a character looks and moves. This is a unique way to transform reluctant writers into storytellers.

Storytelling and Coding Activities for Kids

Are you interested in having your elementary students in Grades 2-4 code an interactive story using Scratch Jr? TechnoTales has detailed instructions that explain how to create a modern fairy tale. Each story page introduces a new coding technique. Helpful resources support learning. The project includes a teacher guide, workbook, example videos, coding block flashcards, assessment tools, and more!

storytelling and coding

TechnoTales is a technology project that blends storytelling and coding.

NEW! TechnoTales Coding Activities for Beginners

TechnoTales is a new STEM project by TechnoKids Inc. It includes coding activities for beginners. Primary and elementary students in Grades 2-4 follow the detailed instructions to create a modern fairy tale using Scratch Jr. They learn how to build scripts to animate the story action.

coding activities for beginners

TechnoTales has coding activities for beginners. Build scripts to create an interactive story.

Blend Creative Writing With Coding

The lessons in TechnoTales guide students through the writing process. The project begins with an exercise that forms a connection between storytelling and scripts. Next, students answer questions about an example fairy tale to recognize the story elements. Once familiar with the task, they use a planning sheet to select the setting, characters, and plot. Afterwards, step-by-step instructions explain how create the story pages. A checklist is used to help students review the completed fairy tale to make revisions. Upon completion, the Techno Tale is shared with viewers.

story planner for a coding unit

Imaginative resources support learning.

Storytelling and Coding Activities for Beginners

TechnoTales gradually introduces students to programming concepts. Each story page applies a different coding technique:

Page 1 – Once Upon a Time: Introduce the problem in the story. Animate the hero embarking on a quest using Motion and Looks blocks.
Page 2 – Find a Hidden Item: Engage the viewer. Tap objects on the story page to reveal a hidden item that will help the hero.
Page 3 – Get Help: Seek someone that will help to solve the problem. Count the number of steps to produce an animated sequence that triggers an event when characters bump each other.
Page 4 – Happily Ever After: Create the story ending. Send and receive messages to show the characters celebrating.

Download Scratch Jr to Complete TechnoTales

To use the coding activities in TechnoTales you must have Scratch Jr installed on your devices. Scratch Jr is a free coding app for iPad, Android tablets, and Chromebooks. The interface is designed specially for children. To introduce programming concepts, colored blocks are sequenced together to form scripts. It is fun and easy to build interactive stories, animated scenes, and games.

Scratch Jr interface

Combine coding blocks to build scripts that animate the story action.

Teach Coding to Kids Using TechnoTales Instructional Resources

When you purchase TechnoTales, you will receive:

  • Teacher Guide: Detailed instructions for teaching a coding unit provide tips and strategies.
  • Student Workbook: Digital worksheets with screenshots and illustrated scripts support learning.
  • Example Videos: Sample fairy tales created with Scratch Jr help students gain an understanding of the task and spark inspiration.
  • Scratch Jr Flashcards: Large colored or black and white coding blocks can be used to build scripts as a visual aid.
  • Review Questions: Multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, or short answer questions assess knowledge of Scratch Jr tools and scripts.
  • Skill Reviews: Optional activities solidify learning by transferring skills to a new coding project.
  • Assessment Tools: Customizable checklists and marking sheets evaluate the fairy tale.
  • Extension Activities: Enrichment lessons challenge students to expand their coding skills.
  • Offline Coding Exercises: Board game that applies computational thinking to have a player complete a quest.

Spark Student Writing with Animated Comic Strips

Digital Storytelling
For reluctant writers and for creative writing enthusiasts, using technology to write a cartoon is a fun, highly motivating activity.

Digital storytelling sparks students’ imaginations. Adding elements such as images, callouts, text boxes, starbursts, and word art inspires students even more. Then creating animation effects and transitions makes the writing activity exciting and challenging.

How can you integrate comic strip writing into curriculum? Here are a few ideas!

  • Write an Original Story: Plan a story or simple scenario that has a beginning, middle, and end. Divide the action into panels. Use text boxes to describe the scene, callouts for characters to speak or think, and clip art to illustrate the action.
  • Only a Dream: Create a dream sequence that shows a series of imaginary scenes. This is an easy way to plan a digital story.
  • Illustrate a Wacky Scene: Have fun with a cliché or popular expression. Make a simple scene that explains what happens when pigs fly, there is a blue moon, or it starts raining cats and dogs.
  • Invent a Superhero: Create a character and give them a name and superpower. Have the hero save the day! Take part in a rescue mission, engage in an epic battle with a powerful foe, stop a crook, or retrieve a lost item.
  • Tell a Joke: Make people laugh! Use one slide to make a silly scene, two slides to show before and after clips, or several slides to tell a knock-knock joke.
  • Transform a Popular Story: Remake a nursery rhyme or fairy tale into a cartoon. Swap the characters, adjust the story line, or rewrite the ending to create a modern twist on an old favorite.
  • Retell a Story: Summarize the main parts of a story. Sequence the key events using slides as scenes. In the first scene introduce the characters and setting. The following slides illustrate the action.
  • Rewrite the Ending: Produce an animated scene that illustrates a different ending. Include a slide that explains why this ending is better than that of the author.
  • Makeover a Realistic Story into a Cartoon: Consider what a story would be like if the people were substituted with cartoon characters, the setting shifted to an imaginary place, but the plotline remained similar. Create a short animated clip of the cartoon version.
  • Join the Action: Insert yourself into the story. What advice would you share? How would you help? Recreate a scene from the story. Use a clip art character, photo, or web cam image to put yourself into the scene. Does your advice or behavior change the ending?
  • Form a Connection: Reflect on the story. What connection do you have? Do you like the same things as the main character, have you shared a similar experience, or does the story remind you of something you have seen or read? Explain the connection and use evidence from the book or your life to support your ideas.
  • Conduct a Character Analysis: How does the character change as the story unfolds? Create a three panel animated comic strip. In the first panel introduce the character at the beginning of the story. Use callouts and textboxes to show their mood, describe their character traits, and explain their role within the story. In the second panel illustrate an important event that causes a change or growth within the character. In the final panel show the character at the end of the story. How are they different?

Use any of these ideas with TechnoToon and Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint to inspire and spark the inner author in your students.

Cartoon Lessons

Digital Storytelling, Cartoon Style

Digital Storytelling
Inspire students to use their imaginations for digital storytelling with a twist – write in the style of a cartoon. TechnoToon is an all new technology project in which students create a digital story as an animated comic strip.

Students love the visual format of cartoons. The recent boom in graphic novels for children and teens confirms how popular this genre has become. Hook student interest by developing writing skills using the comic strip format and then animating the story!

View a Sample Graphic Story

About TechnoToon

In TechnoToon, students use Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint to construct a story with text boxes, images, callouts, starbursts, and word art. Then transitions are inserted between slides to divide the scenes. Finally, animation is applied to objects to sequence the timing of events. Upon completion, the digital story is published as a link with the slides set to play automatically. Challenging extension activities support learning with optional assignments such as advanced animation techniques, collaborative peer-editing, or screencasting.

digital storytelling

Hook student interest with digital storytelling. Create an animated comic with Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint.

The TechnoToon teacher guide includes many ideas for integrating comic style writing into curriculum: language arts, social studies, science, health, and history. Build computer and writing skills with a highly motivating, fun technology project. In the illustrated, step-by-step instructions, the student workbook includes story ideas, practice templates to complete, a plot planner, image search tips, a checklist, and more. Many sample digital stories created in Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint also inspire creative ideas. Optional extension activities offer enrichment suggestions and advanced animation techniques.

Writing a digital story as an animated cartoon is a sure bet to capture the imagination of young writers!