It is always a great pat on the back when a lesson comes off well. The Digital Story Telling lesson fits nicely into that moment. In the end, the kids were tricked into doing the "writing process" while having a great time. When you see kids staying after school and asking for more time to complete an assignment, you know they are really getting into the heart of the lesson. There is that mysterious line where it blurs between education and fun; where one cannot tell if the are learning because they are laughing or laughing while they are learning; when the teacher fades from the front of the lesson and the student truly directs their own process.
After the week was over I had 67 unique stories to listen to. Some were a little better than sitting at the neighbor's house watching slides of their family vacation and others revealed deeper views into the life of a 13 year old. Once student worked out his trauma from a near drowning incident and another shared the death of her dog. One did do the "family vacation" thing and made it into a revelation of why her family meant so much to her. Even the head of school wandered through and was visibly impressed by the kids work. If you are looking for a lesson that makes you and your students seem like geniuses - give this a shot.