Why Planning is Important

Our four phase digital storytelling app  manages, captures and shares content mastery.  Every teacher has great lessons or projects and the CrossBraining App  is a tool that helps teachers manage the delivery of those lessons. In addition,  it guides students on how to capture and personalize their learning that takes place in the lesson or project.


Over the next four weeks I will be walking you through the four phases of the CrossBraining App (Plan, Perform, Change, Final Product).  I will also show you videos of students going through each phase.


Let’s jump into Planning.  Every person who has a career must plan.  Lawyers, coaches, teachers and waste management people all have a plan.  Every person performing a task has a plan (even students).   


  1. Edwards Deming created The Deming Cycle back in the 1950’s to give businesses a model on how to continually improve.  It starts with a plan.Image removed.

Hoshin Kanri and Peter Drucker combined the Deming Model with a few questions.  In the planning stage they ask, “What are our objectives and what are we trying to achieve?”  These types of questions guide businesses and students into reflection.

CrossBraining believes that when students plan and think about how they will complete a lesson or project task, they will have a higher rate of success.  Metacognition is a key factor in making CrossBraining so effective. It has often been said that project planning equals project success.  

John Spencer talks about the shift from engaging students to empowering learners.  I know that he is correct when he says that the shift goes from you must learn this to what do you want to learn. I add that in order to make that shift happen, students need to have a process in place and the first step in that process is Planning.  

Movie directors go through a pre-production brainstorming phase, scientists do research in the planning phase.  If we all sit and think for a  moment, every task starts with a plan.  Once every student understands that planning is part of the process for success, they naturally adopt it into their learning.  It gives them a process that makes them successful in school and life.  The CrossBraining Phases make the student Future Ready.

Does the planning phase take place in every lesson or Project?  The answer is YES!  Let’s take a lesson that every teacher has taught.  A math story problem.  Let’s say you tell a group of three students that they will be solving a story problem together.  

When the group comes up with a plan, on paper, of how they will solve that task and come up with a final product, they will most likely be more successful than those without a plan.  Whether students work on a story problem or a month long project, they need a plan.  



Each student in the group has a leadership role.  It is very important to empower students to be actively involved in each phase.  Say goodbye to those group projects where one student does everything.

Leadership Roles in the Planning Phase:

  • Reflection Leader
  • Capture Leader
  • Narration Leader


Image removed.The Planning Reflection Leader guides their group through a series of reflection questions in the planning phase that helps their fellow students handle conflict when it arises, think about coordination of the plan, who is responsible for what jobs, how to control the time it takes to carry out the plan.  

Reflection helps them control their plan so that the plan increases the effectiveness of their final product.  The teacher is now a facilitator. The students begin driving the questions that will allow them to navigate the lesson or project.  The reflection leader steers the group through questioning so that they have a plan that they think will work.


Image removed.The Planning Capture Leader is in charge of capturing the planning and the plan itself:  

  • They will determine the angles and point of view they want to record.  
  • They will think through how they will capture this in 5-8 seconds.  
  • They will think about whether they need two 5-8 second clips or just one.  
  • The previous reflection will guide them on what to capture.  Some students capture the actual plan and others capture the plan with the group discussing it.
  • The leader will grab a GoPro or other device and know exactly what to capture.
  • They will upload the recording to their Chromebook or tablet and decide if it meets the groups expectations.  
  • They will work with the narration leader to see if they have enough footage for the narrator to explain this phase.  


Here is picture of narration next to video.  Notice there are 10 seconds of video.  The narration leader will need to see if they can fluently read the text they wrote out in 10 seconds.  The reflection leader will help the group think about whether they need more footage or less text.

Image removed.

Image removed.The Planning Narration Leader’s responsibility is to look over the key terms from the Standards and make decisions on how to incorporate them into the narration.  During the planning phase, the planning narration leader words the video in a way that explains what the group is trying to accomplish and how they are going to accomplish it.  For example, they might be explaining a drawing or a list of jobs.  Plan come in various forms and this leader must coordinate with their group members so that they are fluently explaining the plan and making sure the footage and narration seamlessly work together to tell their group story.