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Snapchat storytelling


Journalists should be meeting their audiences where they live, and for today’s students, that place is Snapchat. For this lesson, students will practice utilizing this social media tool for storytelling purposes and create an archive for their Snap Stories on their online news site.


  • Students will explore journalistic Snap Stories in order to determine the best methods for their own stories.
  • Students will differentiate between video techniques for a broadcast piece and a Snap Story.
  • Students will learn how to script/storyboard for a Snap Story.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.


One 90-minute block or two 45-minute periods


Mobile device with Snapchat

HDMI Dongle for projector to look at current Snap Stories

Handout: Storyboard template

Handout: Journalistic research

Article: High school media on snapchat

Article: College media on snapchat

Article: 10 Snapchat accounts to follow

Slideshow: Types of shots for video

Handout: Snap story assignment

Rubric: Snap story event coverage

Handout: Day-of event strategy

Handout: Snap story analysis

Lesson step-by-step

Warm-Up Discussion (10 minutes)

1. Begin with a discussion about Snapchat in general. The teacher/editor/social media manager/broadcast producer can make a list of all the answers on the board.

  • Why do you use Snapchat?
  • Why do you like Snapchat?
  • How do you use Snap Stories in your daily life?
  • What do you like to see in other people’s Snap Stories?
  • Why would it be beneficial to use Snap Stories for our publication?

Story Analysis (30 minutes) – this step can be completed either in class or as a homework assignment.

 2. Look at sample Snap Stories from professional publications:

  1. Plug your phone into a projector and look at examples of Snap Stories directly from Snapchat
  2. If you don’t have the equipment you need, visit one of the sites listed in “Materials.”
  3. Hand out the “Snap Story Analysis” handout. While viewing samples, students should take notes, then fill out the handout. Students should be ready to discuss their analysis.
  4. Optional: If the teacher would like to have a full-class discussion, the class can fill out the Venn diagram together on the board and/or answer the accompanying questions.
  5. Make sure to discuss vertical vs. horizontal filming with Snapchat. Vertical filming is preferred as it is easier to view on the app. Video can only be viewed horizontally if the audience turns their head or locks their phone screen. You don’t want to make it harder for your audience to view your work. This is different from most standard video recommendations; when using a standard video camera, students should tape in a horizontal direction.

Snap Story Practice (30 minutes)

 3. Discuss the “Snap Story Assignment” requirements:

  • Introduction of speakers
  • Complete captions for images
  • Vertical filming
  • Variety of shots
  • Beginning, middle and end

4. Use the “Types of Shots for Video” slideshow to go over any video shots with which students are unfamiliar.

5. Put students into small groups and give them a news story that was printed in the school paper, either in print or online. It should be a news article about a specific event that could have feasibly been covered on Snapchat.

6. Have students use the information in the news article to plan out what Snap Story of this event could have looked like. Have them be as specific as possible with their shot selection; they can use the storyboard template handout.

7. Share storyboards with the class; class and teacher should give oral feedback.

Snap Story Project (20 minutes planning; teacher can stagger deadlines according to event dates)

8. Put students in groups and assign each group a different upcoming school event. As a group, the students should plan coverage of the event as they would for an news story. If they are not used to doing pre-writing research, they can use the “Journalistic Research” handout.

9. The class period before the students’ assigned event, they should turn in a detailed storyboard and have a conference with the editor and/or adviser for feedback and constructive criticism.

10. Optional: Once all Snap Stories are complete, the teacher can have a whole class viewing of each story to celebrate success and discuss areas of improvement for future stories.


For students that do not have access to a mobile device with Snapchat, they can create an alternative project using PowerPoint.

If the class is mixed level, for the Snap Story assignment, put an experienced staffer as team leads with a group of inexperienced staff members.

For students with special needs, teachers can provide reduced requirements, depending on specific IEP/504 requirements.