Monday, January 20, 2014

Our Digital Story Telling Class

20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 14:  Share an idea from class this week.  Will you do it again?

School is dismissed at 3:00 but on Thursday afternoons until 3:45, you can find sixteen fourth graders in my room, working hard on their writing.  Eight of the kids are from my class, and eight are from the other fourth grade.  It is completely voluntary, and it was supposed to be for just six sessions in November and December.  They are so eager and engaged, that I have extended our sessions until the end of January.

The first website I introduced them to was Voki.  I did it by creating this one.

The kids have a ball creating the Avatar.  The writing comes into the picture when they want to make it talk.  If they don't write their message correctly, it won't say what they want it to say.  Our first assignment was to tell about themselves.  The second assignment was to create a character and have it tell its story in first person.  This one was created by Maya.

You can use Voki for free, but there is a small fee for the Voki Classroom.  Learn more about Voki here.

Next we learned how to create a Storybird. allows you to create a digital book.  You begin by selecting a collection of art that you would like to use.  Then you write a story.  These books can be printed into a paper book for a fee, but we are not doing that.

If you are interested in learning more about Storybird, here is a great tutorial by Mike Fisher.

Two of my girls figured out that they could collaborate on a story from separate computers.  One student works on a page.  When they are finished, they send it back to the other student, who writes the next page.  This would be a great way for classrooms to collaborate on a project.  Once again, kids became the teachers, because I had no idea you could even do this.

Here is a Storybird written by Margo.

Now we are telling stories by using Bitstrips.  With Bitstrips you tell your story through cartooning.  There is a fee for Bitstrips for School, but I like the way I can make assignments, and see what the kids are doing.  We just started on these.  So far, Margo is the only one that has one finished.

My plan is to embed our finished projects into a wiki, so the kids and their parents can see each other's work.  I'm not doing real well with that yet and all the Vokis that I embedded previously seem to have disappeared.  I guess we will share them in some other way.

This class has been a joy.  Everyone is there because they want to be, and I just like watching them work.  I will definitely do this again.  Watching that enthusiasm is an inspiration for any teacher.

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