Content-Area Literacy

Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Century Skills in Action

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Author: Yumi Matui and Clifford Lee

Summary: This video documents how high school history students created digital stories as part of the American Immigration Project. The semester-long multimodal project incorporated interviews, transcription. discussion, writing voiceover scripts, and digital production. Composing images and audio to create powerful presentations, students shared their stories at a final Exhibition Night screening. Teachers interested in project-based learning will find inspiration as well as practical strategies in the related resources.

Original Date of Publication: January 2009

What does it look like when writing classrooms incorporate digital literacy?

In 2007, two Bay Area Writing Project teacher-consultants, Yumi Matsui and Clifford Lee, collaborated with the Pearson Foundation to document their semester-long, project-based learning unit focused on immigration.

In this project, students created digital stories portraying the immigration experience of a family member or friend.

The Pearson Foundation provided technology and coaching support throughout the project and recorded the process.

Background Materials for the American Immigration Project

Matsui and Lee’s digital storytelling project, the American Immigraton Project, is a cross-curricular project that integrates both English language arts and social studies content; documentary filmmaking shorts; and multimedia fiction and nonfiction works.

Cliff Lee provides more details about the project and supplementary classroom resources on the Pearson Foundation website:

The Pearson Foundation and the NWP

From 2005-2009, the Pearson Foundation worked with NWP sites and instructors across the country to provide digital storytelling workshops for students and professional development sessions for teachers.

On the Profiles in Practice website, you can view the contributions of NWP teachers, discover samples of student work, download resources, and share educators’ challenges, experiences, insights, and tips for optimizing outcomes.

Other NWP teachers profiled include Dave Boardman (Maine Writing Project), Pen Campbell (Third Coast Writing Project), Kevin Hodgson (Western Massachusetts Writing Project), and Judith Rance-Roney (Hudson Valley Writing Project).

Related Resources

Original Source: National Writing Project,

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