Ms. Hocking is a Kindergarten teacher at our school who is always discovering new tools that she wants to try with her students. She recently showed me the StoryKit app for iPhone. This app uses some of the texts from the International Digital Children’s Library . Readers can read the books as they are, but they can also edit them.
Ms. Hocking’s class has been reading multiple versions of the same folktales and stories this year, so this type of app was a great fit to extend their curiosities and noticings in reading into something that they could create.
In class, she continued to have students read multiple versions of the same type of story such as The Gingerbread Boy and The Three Little Pigs. In the library, students came for a whole hour of tinkering with the app. Students started on the carpet, and I projected an iPad onto the screen. I showed them the app and we started exploring the tools and menus together. Then, students used an iPad to explore on their own.
Through our modeling and tinkering, students discovered:
- how to take a picture and add it to the story
- how to draw on illustrations
- how to delete text
- how to add their own text
- how to resize images inserted into the story
- how to delete pages
- how to find and add images already on the iPad camera roll
This tinkering was very important because it allowed students to figure out the workings of the app before they had to produce something. In class, Ms. Hocking had them select one of the stories from the app and work in a collaborative group to brainstorm changes to the story. These changes were written by Ms. Hocking or Ms. Rockholt, the parapro, onto a notecard. Students also went in and deleted all of the text from the story in their classroom.
In the library, the groups came back for a work session. Each adult worked with 2 groups. Students took turns modifying the images in the story to match their plans for the story. Then, some students wrote out new text for the story while other groups told their text to the adult in the group. We tried to put as much control and creation into the hands of the students.
Back in class, Ms. Hocking is looking over their stories and they will continue to work before finalizing and sharing their work.
I loved seeing what Kindergartners could create. I also loved the tinkering and creativity built into this project.