Digital Storytelling: How to Deepen Literacy Skills with BrainPOP Make-a-Movie
When students reflect on their favorite parts of school, it’s common to hear about the incredible projects their teachers planned. Whether it’s a nostalgic favorite, like building a volcano, or a new project like creating a vlog, it’s clear that students love the opportunity to show what they know in new and creative ways.
And teachers, it’s not lost on us how much time it takes to prepare these projects. At BrainPOP, many of our team members are former teachers who remember the crunch of trying to make copies, submit paperwork, and put together unit plans during a half-hour “break” that feels like half a second. Former teachers or not, all of us have a deep admiration for the work you do, with the understanding that there’s just never enough time in the day to do it all.
That’s why learning activities like Make-a-Movie exist. Students deserve engaging tools that help them deepen and extend their knowledge across various contexts. Teachers deserve to offer students such tools without sacrificing their Sunday nights to do so. And everybody deserves to know that students are deepening essential literacy skills.
Here’s how Make-a-Movie fuels literacy growth
- Comprehension: Creating a movie requires students to understand the subject matter deeply. Students who make movies summarize their understanding of complicated topics to create interesting narrative videos. This enhances their comprehension skills, allowing them to translate abstract ideas into accessible content.
- Vocabulary: Effective storytelling demands a rich, varied vocabulary. As they craft their movies, students integrate subject-specific terminology in context with their scripts, titles, and descriptions. This immersion in newly acquired, relevant vocabulary reinforces their language skills, enabling them to communicate with precision.
- Critical Thinking: To tell a compelling story, students must think critically. They analyze information, identify key details, and arrange them logically to construct a cohesive narrative. This honing of critical thinking abilities enhances their capacity to dissect information in all areas of their education.
- Communication: Storytelling is the art of communication, and Make-a-Movie is the canvas. Students not only learn how to structure their ideas but also how to convey them effectively. They develop essential communication skills through narration, dialogue, or on-screen text.
- Creativity: Perhaps most importantly, Make-a-Movie nurtures creativity. It invites students to explore new ways of expressing themselves, fostering their imagination and innovation. These creative sparks extend beyond moviemaking, infusing every facet of their education.
Ignite students’ passion for storytelling with BrainPOP
Digital storytelling, particularly with tools like Make-a-Movie, transforms learning from a passive to an active experience, amplifying students’ engagement and retention. But beyond just being an effective educational tool, Make-a-Movie harnesses the innate human love for stories, allowing students to become not just consumers but creators.
It encourages them to dive deeper, question more, and express themselves in ways they might not have thought possible. And as they journey through this process, they aren’t just learning about subjects—they’re learning about themselves. By intertwining literacy with technology, we’re not just preparing students for tests or the next grade; we’re preparing them for life, equipping them with skills that will serve them in classrooms and boardrooms, at home, and in the wider world.
Embracing digital storytelling is, in essence, embracing the best of education, where every student has a voice, a vision, and the tools to bring both to life.
Make-a-Movie in action
Katie Pothireddy is a product marketer on the BrainPOP team and a former vice principal, teacher coach, and classroom teacher. She holds a Master’s in the Science of Education from Johns Hopkins University.