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Makey Makey ELA Candid Camera Lesson Plan

By Teacher Librarian Colleen Graves

Appropriate for grade levels ES to HS

Combine Makey Makey with a webcam to create candid stories about your classroom. In this lesson you can also learn how students can write out short tableaus and create GIF cards for visualizing ideas in a text or even vocabulary reinforcement. Tableaus also work for other contents. Social studies teachers can use this lesson for understanding historical events and science teachers could ask students to act out scientific ideas and concepts.

How to make a #DIY switch w #makeymakey for Interactive Room Challenge! #makered #makerspace

A video posted by Mrs. Graves The Librarian (@makerteacherlibrarian) on

Lesson Objectives

  • Learn to build a switch
  • Review or analyze literature concepts, vocab, or sentence structures
  • Use kinesthetics to reinforce sentence structures, vocabulary, or plot of a book/short story
  • Write a GIF as a dramatic tableau (visual still dramatizations of the ideas in a text)
  • Practice script writing from visual clues
  • Story writing and the elements of a plot
  • Discuss privacy issues and digital citizenship

Lesson Materials

  • Makey Makey for each student or partner groups
  • Alligator Clips
  • Computer with webcam
  • Tinfoil
  • How to make a switch

Lesson Steps


Create a switch and review a literature concept, vocabulary, or discuss sentence variety.

  1. Discuss the concept of creating loops to complete circuits and have students create 1-3 switches for the GIF maker computer (s). (If you have enough Makey Makeys and computers, you could have students work in groups of 2 to create multiple GIF Maker stations.)
  2. Have students perform and record dramatic tableaus with the GIF cards you've created that review a literature concept or vocabulary. (You could also create sentence strips, pass out to small groups, and have students create GIFs of the variety of ways you could structure the same sentence.)


Discuss storytelling without words, review plot guidelines, and have students create their own GIF cards for others.

  1. Have students read a wordless picture book in small groups. Here are some great titles: While high school students can enjoy picture books, here are some other books older students might enjoy:
  2. To reinforce the concepts of narratives for younger grades, have the students prepare comic strips of a story without any words. (Ex: How would they act out a story about a student late to class?) Then let students exchange comics and act out and record the GIF at a Makey Makey GIF maker station.
  1. For older students, let them choose to create their own wordless story with drawings, or create the story by writing actions on the GIF cards for the other players.
  2. Exchange cards and create GIFs at a GIF maker station. Save GIFs on class Tumblr, Weebly, or collaborative Google Doc.



Discuss digital citizenship and privacy issues, create a candid camera station with signage.

  1. Digital Citizenship lessons on Teaching In Ctrl
  2. Digital Citizenship and Living in a Digital World
  3. Digital Footprint lesson on oversharing.
  4. Have students create a sign about the classroom Makey Makey Candid Camera to let others know that appropriate behavior is expected when creating a candid camera story. Here is an editable version in Canva that I created.


Position sign, student made GIF cards, and GIF Maker Station in the classroom to collect images for a selected period of time.


After you've collected enough Candid Camera GIFs, have students watch GIFs and create original stories based on the GIF of their choice. Review narrative elements: plot elements, sensory details, word choice, ideas, organization, etc. You could even create a persuasive digital story with the images and overlay text and voice like this video poem by Eric Shabazz Larkin.

GIF Maker Station

Students will need to:

  • Create instructions
  • Create switches with numbers (One connection to earth and one connection to click)
  • Hook up computer and Makey Makey
  • Navigate computer to webcam and hover the arrow over the camera click

GIF Cards

Use these GIF cards as examples for students to act out and create GIFS with GIFpal then upload to class Twitter or class Tumblr account.

Tableau Inventive Story Examples

Create a wordless story by acting out this card in just 3-5 images. The story should have a beginning, middle, and end.

Getting a bad grade in class

Create a wordless story by acting out a story with your body in just 3-5 images. Your story should include a beginning, middle, and end.

Feeling claustrophobic

Create a wordless story by acting out a story with your body in just 3-5 images. Your story should include a beginning, middle, and end.

A surprise party for a friend

Vocabulary Review Examples





Walk on one side of the room

Stop and smell flowers

Walk distractedly to other spot in room

Walk in a circle

(Vocab review for word: meander)

Important Plot Point Example with Romeo and Juliet





Romeo and Juliet meet fall in love, get married

Romeo kills Tybalt and gets banished

Juliet pretends she died, Romeo finds her...

Families make amends over the loss of their children.


Writing your own GIF Cards

Create partners or small groups, and instruct students to write their own GIF as a dramatic tableau that reviews a concept from a literature book, vocabulary, or desired content. Students will then exchange GIF cards and have other groups create their GIF with Makey Makey and computer and upload to class Twitter or class Tumblr account.

Examples for GIFs:

  • Students can be instructed to portray the beginning, middle, and end of the most important plot points in a short story or book.
  • Students might create a tableau of the changing aspects of a character throughout a story.
  • Students could write a visualization of important themes from a book.
  • Students could write out actions for understanding a vocabulary word.
  • Students could write out sentence structure cards to act out a variety of structures for the same sentence.

Click here to download a card template



Library: Keep a computer set up with Makey Makey by your book drop and laminated cards for students to write on. Include a sign and instructions at the desk:

Like your book? Wanna share it on our library tumblr?

Directions: Write a quote from the book that matches the theme, write examples of who you'd recommend the book, then step on the numbers holding each card to make a GIF for our Tumblr.

Make a copy of this Slides Carnival for your book drop. (GIF example below)



"A Moose Boosh Presents A Desk Is Not A Dinner Table by Eric Shabazz Larkin." Vimeo. Creative School of Thought. Web. 6 July 2015.

"Scenes in Tableau: Drama Strategies to Use With Any Day's Times (Part 2)." The Learning Network Scenes for The New York Times. 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 July 2015.

"Slides Carnival - Free Presentation Templates." Slides Carnival.

"Workshop Handouts." Penny Kittle - Teacher, Author, Advocate - Home. Web. 6 July 2015.


Note on Standards

These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list. Many of the CCSS align by grade level, so if you teach 9th grade, you could find the stair-stepped standard for CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 by looking at CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.6.

Common Core

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1.D: Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3: Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


3-PS2-3: Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.

4-PS3-2: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

HS-PS3-3: Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.

Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World.

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