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:
Dragon Bat Girl Attacks Creepy Girl
Super Lightening Boy Saves the Day
Awesome! I just learned about Storybird last week but haven’t tried it out with kids yet. Your kindergarteners did some great work!
I’m curious about a couple of things. (Picking your brain for when I try this out with my own kiddos!)
For the adults who were typing, how did they decide what to type? I assume the kids dictated, but with several voices in each group I’d be curious if there was any more structure to it.
Also, is there a reason to have each group sign in under a different account? (Does Storybird not allow multiple sign-ins? Or did it have something to do with the commenting feature…?)
I have been thinking about using Storybird for a Halloween/scary story writing activity with some classes after book fair and would love to hear more about your experience with it. 🙂
Each adult handled things differently. Some had kids each say what they thought should happen, discussed, and then picked what the group seemed most excited about. Others took turns letting students give text for the story. Others let each child say something and then tried to make a combination of the words. There really wasn’t a clear plan on how we were going to get the text. My expectation from all involved was that the students had the most control and not the adult. The adult was only a facilitator to help focus and take the barrier of typing away.
I’m not sure if Storybird lets you do multiple sign on. What I did was setup the educator account and create a media center class. Then I added the 4 adults as students in the class. It was really easy to setup and then the “students” within the class could share their storybirds with one another and collaborate if we needed to have an extra step like that.
This was my first storybird adventure, but I thought it was very user-friendly. I think many grade levels could use this to prompt writing for students without actually giving them a topic. There are lots of images that could potentially be a scary/Halloween story. In fact, now that I’ve done this I may suggest this to 2nd grade next year to make their monster stories that they create every year.
How very cool–thanks for the response! I am definitely excited to try it out. And if it went this well with kindergarten, I’ll bet older kids could be really independent with it and do some great things. So glad you shared this! 🙂
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Thanks for sharing your process – this is super helpful!
Thanks so much for sharing your process – super helpful!
You are very welcome. I’m glad you found it to be helpful.