Descriptive Video: Using Media Technology to Enhance Writing

This lesson helps students improve their writing abilities and their attention to details while experiencing a new technology called Descriptive Video. Students watch the opening scene of the standard version of the Disney film The Lion King and write a description of it. They then watch the same opening scene with the descriptions and captions available online at the National Center for Accessible Media. They will write another descriptive summary on this scene. Students share their two writing samples aloud and compare their pre- and post-audio descriptions.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive...
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize...
Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific...
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of...
CLE 3001.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
GLE 0401.6.1
Apply skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts.
GLE 0501.7.3
Understand that the choice of medium influences the message in a presentation.
GLE 0501.7.4
Be aware of how message or meaning changes when a written work is translated into a visual presentation.
SPI 0401.2.1
Identify the main idea and supporting points of a speech.
SPI 0401.6.6
Use available text features (e.g., graphics and illustrations) to make meaning from text.
SPI 0401.7.2
Identify the main idea in a visual image.
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it...
Make connections between the print version of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the same text.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Use descriptive language, including content vocabulary, to write a retelling of a segment of a movie scene.
  • Use a technology called Descriptive Video to enhance their writing skills.
  • Employ and practice a variety of writing strategies.
  • Reflect on and analyze their writing by comparing their two writing samples and completing the self-assessment rubric.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Students can view various programs on PBS Kids and create their own descriptions for those portions of the shows that do not have dialogue. For example, students could visit DragonflyTV: African Penguins by Keshia and Ashley to download the film clip and write a description.
  • Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) and commercial broadcasting stations offer described programming that is appropriate for students in grades 3 to 5. Students can watch programs such as Reading Rainbow and Arthur and compare the described and standard versions. A list of described programs can be found at the Media Access Group at WGBH. You can also consult local programming guides to find appropriate described programs.

Helpful Hints


  • The Lion King movie (Walt Disney Feature Animation, 1994)
  • Computer with Internet access and LCD projector
  • Television
  • VCR or DVD player
  • Chart paper or overhead projector (optional)