Individualized Education Plan

"To learn, read
To know, write
To master, teach."

As a tech novice I had a lot of options to choose for my IEP. For my educational philosophy and digital story I used iMovie, but felt that I could further improve my skills if I incorporated this program into a project for my students. I also felt that I needed more practice with the digital story format because my digital story was more of a report than a story.

So, for my IEP I chose to use iMovie to create digital stories with my students. To prepare myself to teach this unit I conducted more research about the storytelling process and about the iMovie program. I found some great resources that I was able to incorporate in to my unit:

Into the Fire is a collection of digital stories created by teenagers who live in war torn countries.
Story Center has excellent examples of digital stories and other great resources.
Tech & Learning had an interesting article about the case for digital stories in education during the age of standardized testing.
The Apple site has a great tutorial on how to use the iMovie program.

I decided that a great end of the year project would be to have my students choose a country to research and then present what they learned as a digital story in which they narrate the story as a student who lives in that country. I outlined the basic guidelines of the project – what topics and technical elements they would need to include in their story.

Students learned the basics of storytelling and watched examples of different digital stories. They then gathered information about their countries and found visuals for their projects. Once the information was complied they then began to design their movie. I think the biggest challenge was being the problem solver when technical issues arose. Luckily, I was fortunate to have students who were very familiar with the program and they were able to help their classmates and well as teach me.

This unit has definitely helped me improve my skills using iMovie and has increased my appreciation for digital storytelling as a way to teach students about different topics. I think one of the most significant things I learned however, was that my own students are great resources. As I taught them, they also taught me.

To explore more of the project visit the links below:
Lesson Plans
Project Handout
Project Rubric


Digital Story

“There always seems to be someone looking over your shoulder -just waiting for an opportunity to lecture on The Darker Side of Chocolate.”
- Sandra Boynton

I was inspired to do my digital story during a mini-lesson I did with my 7th grade Social Studies class. We had been studying the continent of Africa and I shared with them articles about the chocolate industry and child labor in West Africa. After the short lesson many of my students asked where they could find more information; they wanted to know what they could do! Because of their curiosity I also wanted to become a more informed consumer. I read books and online articles about the history of chocolate, the chocolate industry, and the fair-trade movement.
I have created a short story about the history of chocolate, from the time of the Mayas to the present day problems in West Africa. I have also shared how we can do our part as a chocolate loving society to alleviate some of the inequalities and abuses that occur in the industry.

A Brief History of Chocolate. Storyboard. Rubric.


Web Community

This semester I joined the ProTeacher Community online network. ProTeacher is a community of K-8 teachers who share valuable information with each other. The site offers bulletin boards about various subjects and topics such as classroom management, issues and politics, and future teachers. I did more reading on the site then I did writing and found it to be very helpful in finding new lesson ideas and in answering questions about being a student teacher. Recently I finished a 4-week unit on Africa and I was able to share one of the lessons I did with my 7th graders about chocolate in the Ivory Coast.

I think it is very valuable, especially to new teachers, to have a network of support. Using a web community such as ProTeacher is another way teachers can connect to other professionals from around the country to share ideas and inspirations. I have been fortunate in my student teaching experience to have worked with some veteran teachers that have been happy to share their wisdom with me, but I know that the more resources I have available to me, the better prepared I will be to meet the demanding needs of being a teacher.