Story Telling: Teaching Strategies to Increase and Reinforce Learning
For some students, an effective way to reinforce something they have just learned is to have
them place that element into a story. This gives them the opportunity to look at a concept from
a different angle. It’s also empowering, as it shows students how to use a learning tool to
increase their knowledge and impart to others what they’ve learned.
With today’s technology, students have several ways to apply the “tell me a story” concept. Previously, students who had challenges with writing had few alternative options to show what they understood about something they had learned. Now they can tell a story visually, using photos and video.
Best of all, many image- and video-based apps are available that make it possible to create a story very quickly. Two effective teaching strategies to empower students to tell a story about what they’ve learned is to create an electronic postcard, or to make a movie about it.
5 Ways to Use Postcards to Reinforce Learning:
1. Students imagine that they are a character in a story they have read. As that character, they will write home to tell their family about an experience they had, based on the storyline. Students select events from the story that they will detail in their postcard to another
2. Students create a postcard as a marketing piece for a travel agency. The setting featured
on the postcard depicts a location referenced in their reading.
3. Students create a postcard by illustrating a place they would like to visit, and then using 10
adjectives, describe the picture in their postcard in a short message.
4. Students create a postcard that includes a catchy slogan illustrating a figure of speech, a
specific math concept, or another learning concept.
5. Students write a postcard to the author sharing what they liked about the book.
When writing a post card, students should of course observe punctuation rules, spelling, and
proper sentence structure.
PhotoCard by Bill Atkinson is the best no-cost app to create and send virtual postcards and is
available only for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
7 Ideas for Using Movie Makers to Reinforce Learning
1. Students create their own myth/ fairy tale or a modern interpretation of an existing myth/
fairy tale, or a completely original story using digital movie maker software.
2. Students create their own news report about the concept they’ve learned.
3. Students create a book trailer to entice the viewer to read the book.
4. Create a personalized commentary on a piece of literature.
5. Create a public service announcement video on issues addressed in the story and
important to a character.
6. Using different genres in literature, students explore and discuss the characters from the
current lesson’s reading material. With an understanding of those characters, students create
a video depicting the characters in a modern day dilemma.
7. Have students explain, in 60 seconds or less, how they might use a concept they’ve
Toontastic for iOS or Android is a storytelling and creative learning tool that enables kids to
draw, animate, and share their own cartoons. It’s like putting together your own puppet show.
The recommended ages for this app are 4-7 and 8-10; however, don’t let that stop you from
using it as an appropriate app for secondary education. It’s not the look of the app that makes
it worthwhile, it’s how the app is used!
Puppet Pals HD is a simple-looking iOS app with a tremendous amount of potential for
secondary application in all subject areas.
For more information about using technology to strengthen instruction, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your Instruction.