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Storytelling for All: Equity and Social-Emotional Learning Through Moviemaking

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Location: Room 260-2
Experience live: All-Access Package
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package

Listen and learn : Ed talk

Jessica Pack  
Georgia Terlaje  

Students exercise autonomy and develop social-emotional skills through telling their own powerful stories. Learn about how moviemaking can build equity while fostering student voice, creativity, and communication. Leave this session with moviemaking lesson frames that work for any content or grade so you can confidently approach post-pandemic learning.

Audience: Teachers, Curriculum/district specialists, Library media specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None required.
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Related exhibitors:
WeVideo, Inc.
, moozoom

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to present digital storytelling through moviemaking as a culturally relevant instructional strategy that can be used to foster equity and social-emotional learning. Attendees will understand how storytelling connects to learning and the impact of stories on the brain. Participants will also learn about several moviemaking lesson frames that can be used with any content/grade level. An array of student-created movies will be showcased as exemplars. Attendees will leave with a clear understanding of the capacity moviemaking has to lift under-represented voices, as well as to help students process their emotions and clearly communicate diverse perspectives on a variety of topics.


1. Welcome, presenter introductions - 3 minutes
2. Description of educational context in which presenters work (i.e. student and community demographics, barriers). Identifying the challenge: Structuring opportunities to build equity and social-emotional skills in post-pandemic classrooms. - 5 minutes
3. The appeal of storytelling as it pertains to learning. Presenters will share research as they connect storytelling to the learning process and brain science. - 5 minutes
4. Storytelling as an equalizer: Presenters will showcase the "In My Time" moviemaking lesson frame and how it can be used to lift under-represented voices. Includes several student-created examples pertaining to Black history. Next, presenters will share the culturally relevant "Where I'm From" movie project and show several examples created by Latinx students. - 20 minutes
5. Storytelling as social-emotional learning. Presenters will showcase the "Quarantine Voices" Acrostic Poem Project, including student-created examples. Presenters will also feature personal "I Am" Projects created by students from a variety of backgrounds. Finally, presenters will share a moviemaking lesson frame based on the SODAS social-emotional learning strategy for analyzing problems and solutions; this project promotes metacognition. - 20 minutes
6. Presenters discuss how teachers can scaffold storytelling for success in the classroom. This includes examining the emotional current that creates compelling stories, the storytelling process, and helping students recognize the potential value of sharing their work with others. - 5 minutes
7. Closing and additional resources. - 2 minutes

Supporting research

Pack, Jessica (2021). Moviemaking in the Classroom: Lifting Student Voices Through Digital Storytelling.

Gallo, C. (2019). Storytelling to Inspire, Educate, and Engage. American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(3), 469–472.

Peterson, L. (2018, October 17). The Science Behind The Art Of Storytelling. Harvard Business Publishing: Corporate Learning.

Vu, V., Warschauer, M., & Yim, S. (2019). Digital Storytelling: A District Initiative for Academic Literacy Improvement. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 63(3), 257-267.

Zak, P. J. (2013, December 13). How Stories Change the Brain. Greater Good Magazine.

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Jessica Pack, James Workman Middle School

As a middle school teacher for 17 years and a California Teacher of the Year (2014), Jessica has continually worked to redefine what learning looks like in her classroom. An ISTE author, Jessica's book, Moviemaking in the Classroom, was released in October 2021. She is an advocate for student choice and voice, as demonstrated by the original content her students regularly publish for a global audience. She also spent over a decade as a professional development instructor and Consulting Teacher for a digital storytelling non-profit organization called DIGICOM Learning, aimed at promoting moviemaking in southern California classrooms.

Georgia Terlaje, Palm Springs Unified School District

Georgia Terlaje has taught for 33 years and is currently and instructional coach for Palm Springs Unified. She has used digital storytelling as an instructional strategy for 11 years and has presented on the topic at both regional and national conferences. She was also instrumental in creating PSUSD’s first elementary film festival that is now in it’s 4th year. Georgia is also a teacher-consultant for DIGICOM Learning. In this role, she is a lead instructor for professional development courses for teachers in the area of digital storytelling. Georgia has a digital storytelling podcast, “Storytelling Saves the World”.

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