What is Photo Story?

Digital storytelling is a powerful tool to motivate reluctant writers in the classroom. Microsoft Photo Story 3 is a free download that works on Windows XP and Windows Vista and is incredibly easy to use.


Classroom Connections

How do you use this program in your classroom? Try these ideas:
1. Write about a field trip using your digital pics from your destination
2. Act out reader's theater scripts or stories, take pictures, and have children write about the plot, conflict, solution, setting, or theme
3. Visually show your classroom routine using Photo Story
4. Visually emphasize new vocabulary - great for ELL students
5. Narrate the steps to a science project or math investigation
6. Instead of a factual paragraph, import pictures and narrate the facts over the images.
7. Create pictures in Pixie and narrate them in Photo Story


There is a visual tutorial of Photo Story for those who like to see what they are downloading before they commit to it. I recommend it if you are one who doesn't like to "play" around on software in order to figure it out.
Here is a paper tutorial that you can print out for your files.


Use this template as a script for your students. If you open this document in Publisher, you will see a series of photos with a blank box next to each one. The blank box is for students to write their sentences that they will use for the story. To change the pictures in each box for your students, double-click each picture, browse to where your new photo is, and click "ok". The new picture will replace the old one. I suggest the first time you use Photo Story with your class to have them ALL do the same project so that they can learn the basic controls of the program. The second or third time they use the program can be more individualized to the student's needs and wants.

Create a Story

Basically, there are 6 steps to creating a photo story.
1. Open Photo Story and import your pictures using the icon. Select multiple pictures in your folder by using the "shift" or "control" button. Click "upload".
2. You'll see all of your uploaded photos on a filmstrip bar at the bottom of the screen. Click and drag them to change their order in the story. Click "next".
3. Add text to the pictures by clicking on an individual picture and adding text in the caption box. By clicking on the "effect" button under the individual photo, you can add and effect such as "black and white". Click "next".
4. Add narration to your story. Using a microphone, click "record" and speak your narration for each slide. When you are done with each slide, click onto the next one and continue speaking. Photo Story will automatically add timings to your photos based on how long you talk. Clicking the "Customize Motion" button under each photo will allow you to choose transitions between photos.
5. Add background music. Choose your own music from your files or use music provided to you from the software.
6. Save your story.
That's it! By including a group of photos in a file folder on a shared drive in your school, you can have students access photos easily to create digital storytelling projects.
If you would like to learn how to use Photostory, contact your Technology Resource Teacher. If you don't know who that is, ask your Technology coordinator in your building and they can tell you who to contact.

Example Story

Finding Images

Where do you find pictures to use with Photo Story?
I recommend: Discovery Streaming, Pics4learning, and Kitzu.org. All of these sites have photographs that are free to students and teachers to use for the classroom. Also see the page on this wiki on "digital images".