The Light Bulb Moment


All teachers know it… The light bulb moment. The exact moment when all of your hard work pays off because you can see the light switch on in the eyes of your student. The “I’ve Got It!” look. The “Oooohhhhh…now I understand” expression. I am not sure what causes this to happen for some students or why it takes longer for some to finally get there, but it is one of the best payoffs in the world of a teacher. Better than dare I say…the paycheck.


However, as wonderful as the light bulb moment seems, I have found another moment as equally as satisfying. The smile. The smile that creeps on the faces of my students as they watch their completed digital stories appear on their screens in full viewing mode. The moment they see their creative writing combined with music and real images is unbelievably fulfilling.


That happened to me a couple of weeks ago in the computer lab. As the kids were finally done searching for images on, putting them in order to coincide with their stories, double checking transitions, recording, rerecording, and recording AGAIN to achieve their desired fluencies, the time came to insert their background music. That was when the smiles started to appear around the lab. Since they each wear a set of headphones, I don’t know what music they choose while we are working. I can just see the smile and the heads bobbing. Then more clicking with the mouse. Another smile, head bob and finally a hand shoot in the air indicating the readiness to publish. Once the program runs its course and puts the elements together into a movie-like story, the students can view the finished project on full screen. It is the easily the best part of my job!


I am SO looking forward to doing the digital storytelling workshop in November at ROE #11 in Charleston.  It is one of my all time favorite workshops to conduct.  So many times the exact same light bulb/smiling moment is experienced by the teachers in that session.  It is amazing to see them realize the power of the digital story!  And we love to show our examples for ALL grade levels and subject areas.  This is not an “elementary” thing!


Please be sure to visit and click on student showcase. My students’ first digital stories are “Nothing Ever Happens at North Ward”.


reflections workshops

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