Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class has been hard at work collaborating with me in the media center on writing stories from art. This idea was initiated in their classroom, and Mrs. Hocking asked me how I might support their class in doing this exploration using some kind of technology.
To start, I showed the class Storybird very briefly. Storybird offers collections of artwork that inspire stories. You select images from a collection and add your story. Then, you publish your digital book to the web.
We spent the remainder of the first session looking at a wordless picture book under the document camera. We used Andy Runton’s Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter. On each page, we asked ourselves who is in the picture?, where are they?, and what are they doing? We split into 4 groups to look at even more wordless books in a smaller setting. The classroom teacher, paraprofessional, special education teacher, and EIP teacher all supported a group. I rotated between all 4 groups and took over groups if the teacher needed to give a particular student more support.
A couple of weeks went by where the students continued to use wordless books in their classroom to practice telling stories from art. When they returned to the media center, I did a whole group modeling of how to use Storybird. We looked at features like how to add a page, how to drag and drop a picture, and where to type the words. We also talked about putting together a story and how you have to think carefully about which picture makes the most sense to come next in the story. Finally, we talked about how to go back and re-read your story and make changes if needed.
The final lesson was back in small groups in the media center. Each group had the same adult leaders and a laptop logged into storybird. Each group had a different account. The adult facilitated each group in creating their own storybird, but the students were expected to interact with the technology and construct the story. The adult did most of the typing while the students selected pictures, typed limited text, and added pages. Even in small groups, it was a challenge to maintain focus, but each group completed their story in our 45 minute time block.
These students are the only students in the school to have used Storybird, so they are now available to show other students and teachers in the school how it works. I look forward to trying this again with many more classes.
Read their Storybirds here: