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Lesson Plan

Tell and Show: Writing With Words and Video

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Nine 45- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Barbara K. Strassman, Ed.D.

Ewing, New Jersey

Sheila Donahue

Boston, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students will enhance their multimedia literacy and expand their understanding of text in this hands-on unit. First, students watch and study digital videos and their transcripts to explore the differences between written and spoken text. As they think critically about the videos, students will discover how text and images can work together to convey information. Once students are comfortable with the ways in which images and words can support and enhance each other, they will apply what they've learned by writing essays and turning those essays into captions for a teacher-created video. At the end of the unit, students will have a documentary film that they have written and designed.

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NCAM Authoring with Video: This website provides free video-captioning software, sample digitized videos, and resources for both students and teachers.

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Strassman, B.K., & O'Connell, T. (2007). Authoring with video. The Reading Teacher, 61(4), 330333.

  • Writing includes the ability to author multimedia including audio, video, hypermedia, and hypertext.

  • New technologies are continually being developed to support communication. Students can be encouraged to use media and new technologies flexibly to compose and communicate their ideas.

  • Ideas can be communicated through traditional texts, through the audio portion of videos, as well as through the captions accompanying videos. Both the audio and captions that accompany a video begin as traditional texts. The power of the audio and/or captioned message is enhanced by visual images that fill out or complement the text rather than simply reiterating it.


Kinzer, C.K. (2003). The importance of recognizing the expanding boundaries of literacy. Reading Online, 6(10). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/elec_index.asp?HREF=/electronic/kinzer

  • The electronic world is transforming the ways in which traditional forms of alphabetic literacy (reading and writing) are used to communicate.

  • Project-based activities in an electronic environment can ground concepts contextually in authentic learning tasks while establishing meaningful communication and social interactions.

  • Teachers need to demonstrate awareness of everyday literacy practices that are important to students by including technology in their literacy teaching.

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